All Banning Abortion Does Is Make It Unsafe (Rebuttal Part 2)

We move swiftly to Libby Anne’s second claim in her wonderful post denouncing the pro-life movement:

“I learned that all banning abortion does is make abortion illegal – and unsafe. I found that almost 50,000 women worldwide die each year from unsafe abortions, and that many more experience serious injury or infertility. These deaths happen almost entirely in countries where abortion is illegal – and thus clandestine. In fact, when abortion was made legal in South Africa, the number of abortion related deaths fell by over 90%.”

We need some common sense here, though again, I speak as a layman. Back-alley abortions are more dangerous to the health of the mother than abortions performed in medical facilities. To legalize abortion will lead to more women who would otherwise undergo “back-alley abortions” to undergo abortions performed in a medical facility. Thus the legalization of abortion will certainly lead to a decrease in mortality for the specific sub-group of women who would otherwise undergo back-alley abortions.

It certainly did in South Africa, though the “over 90%” Anne cites is an optimistic calculation. It comes from the same Guttmacher factsheet — which I dearly hope was not the only source for her conversion — which cites the study “Dramatic decline in abortion mortality due to the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act” without mentioning that the study indicates a possible range in that decline — between 51.3 – 94.8%. This range exists because the numbers for abortions undergone before the legalization of abortion in South Africa are estimates based on women coming into hospitals for incomplete pregnancy (which is not necessarily a botched, back-alley abortion, but may also be the result of a miscarriage). But let’s roll with the optimism.Whatever your views on abortion, it’s good that less women are dying while getting them, whether that’s a 50% reduction or a 90% reduction. Does this imply — as Anne implies — that when you legalize abortion, there is less abortion-related death, and when you ban abortion, there is more? Are we, the young, pro-life majority, damning women to death by seeking to ban abortion? Is our fight against abortion only making it clandestine and unsafe?

Nope. The recent study “Women’s Education Level, Maternal Health Facilities, Abortion Legislation and Maternal Deaths: A Natural Experiment in Chile” shows the opposite:

“During the 50-year study period, the MMR [maternal mortality rate] decreased from 293.7 to 18.2/100,000 live births, a decrease of 93.8%. Women’s education level modulated the effects of TFR, birth order, delivery by skilled attendants, clean water, and sanitary sewer access…After abortion was prohibited, the MMR decreased from 41.3 to 12.7 per 100,000 live births (−69.2%). The slope of the MMR did not appear to be altered by the change in abortion law.”

Abortion was made illegal in Chile in 1989. Here’s the graph of Chilean abortion-related deaths over time that I’ve helpfully annotated:

Banning abortion did not increase abortion-related death.

From an interview of the study’s author:

“We observed that reduction of maternal mortality in Chile was paralleled by the number of hospitalizations attributable to complications of clandestine abortions. While over 50% of all abortion-related hospitalizations were attributable to complications of clandestine abortions during the 1960s, this proportion decreased rapidly in the following decades. Indeed, only 12-19% of all hospitalization from abortion can be attributable to clandestine abortions between 2001 and 2008. These data suggest that over time, restrictive laws may have a restraining effect on the practice of abortion and promote its decrease. In fact, Chile exhibits today one of the lowest abortion-related maternal deaths in the world, with a 92.3% decrease since 1989 and a 99.1% accumulated decrease over 50 years.”

Of course, the Guttmacher Institute freaked out over this, tried to criticize the study, and got shut down by it’s author, Dr. Koch. (Read their discourse if you like the closest thing the sociological research world has to rap battles.)

But it’s not as if Chile is the only example of banned abortion being associated with less maternal death, not more. According to the World Health Organization’s Trends in Maternal Mortality, the Central American nations of Nicaragua and El Salvador, in which abortion is completely illegal (laws passed in 2006 and 1998 respectively), have both seen a 44% drop in their maternal mortality ratios (which include abortion-related death) since 1990. Ireland and Poland both have bans on abortion, and boast of some of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world (Poland’s maternal mortality rate has decreased 67 percent since 1990, having severely restricted abortion in 1997).

So right away, Anne’s claim is revealed as false. She says “all banning abortion does is make abortion illegal – and unsafe.” But we see as counter-evidence to this claim countries in which the banning of abortion is associated with a decrease in abortion-related deaths and in general maternal mortality. We are in need of an answer, but first, the question: Why is the legalization of abortion associated with a decrease in abortion-related deaths in South Africa, while the banning of abortion is associated with the same decrease in Chile? Well, to be frank, because abortion laws are not the issue.

The issue is the attention, care, and respect that goes into treating and aiding pregnant women. Anne’s boast that South Africa has seen a decrease in abortion-related deaths rings hollow when we read the report that last year,

“South Africa’s commitment to reduce maternal deaths under the United Nations millennium development goals is headed for a crashing failure, amid reports that the number of women dying in childbirth in Africa’s most industrialised country has quadrupled in 20 years.”

The legalization of abortion in South Africa did not represent a movement of care towards women. In represented a focus on abortion at the exclusion of good healthcare.  The maternal mortality rate in South Africa is 625 deaths per 100,000 live births. South Africa’s abortion-related death rate has been reduced, yes, but it is still high, accounting for 5% of all maternal death. Doing the math, this means that approximately 31.25 deaths per 100,000 live births are abortion-related in South Africa, despite their legalization of abortion. Chile’s abortion-related death rate is 0.83 per 100,000 live births, despite banning abortions. Choose now who you will imitate.

What should be absolutely primary for the health and protection of pregnant women is not the legalization of abortion but the education of women, increased attention and funding to medical facilities, clean procedures, professional midwifery and gynecology. The lessons of Chile and South Africa have made it clear that while legalizing abortion may reduce abortion-related deaths to a point, a far more effective way to achieve the same goal is to give women better than abortion — to give them care. The legalization of abortion is unnecessary, and worse than that, it draws attention away from the actual problem.

Throughout her entire denouncement of the pro-life movement, Anne has never denied that the unborn child is a unique human life, worthy of being treated equally under the law. Granted, I’m no Guttmacher researcher, but it seems that if women are being hurt by the unsafe destruction of their children, the solution should not be to legalize and thus institutionalize this destruction, but to work to eliminate a woman’s motivation to do such a thing. To promote opportunities for education, to lift women out of poverty, to create a hospital environment in which birth is not a massive health risk, to teach the reality of fetal development, to create a culture of adoption, love for the child, and respect for women: This is what it means to be pro-life, not to see a problem and provide an institution in which that problem can “safely” continue, but to fix the damn problem.

Abortion always hurts two. It kills the child, and the 2012 study “Reproductive history patterns and long-term mortality rates” has found that abortion increases the mother’s likelihood of death: The “increased risks of death were 45%, 114% and 191% for 1, 2 and 3 abortions, respectively, compared with no abortions after controlling for other reproductive outcomes and last pregnancy age.”

If the pro-choice movement wishes to wave the pro-woman banner, they should stop pushing abortion on demand around the world and start giving alms to the poor, helping the sick, influencing the culture, establishing life-giving medical centres and working to destroy those motivations towards abortion that make women feel as if they have no other choice but to harm another and themselves. The pro-choice movement are right about the problem, but dead wrong about the solution. Truth requires a deeper look.

  • Ebere

    Nice picture Marc. The expression on the little guy’s face is the one most Africans should develop towards increased love from foreign agencies offering us nothing but more contraceptives and safe abortions in the guise of improved maternal health and reproductive rights. Great post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/whyreyouscopingoutmyprofile Maria McCann

    sorry, I tried to give you a star and accidentally gave a -2 star…not sure how that happened. Great article!

  • Nes

    “The legalizing abortion is unnecessary, and worse than that, it draws attention away from the actual problem.”

    ^ This sums it up, folks. Thanks for taking the time to do the research Marc.

    • sigh

      That doesn’t sum it up at all. Doesn’t THIS article draw attention away from the point completely? It fails to address
      at all the point that taking birth control would decrease the number of
      abortions and the number of lost zygotes. I find that logic quite
      compelling… Also, hes questions Libby’s sources a lot and I honestly
      expect to find his sources to be ridiculously biased. You must
      understand, his argument is completely counter-intuitive and his
      graph of Chile’s maternal deaths is very strange, in that the deaths
      from abortion seems to be decreasing rapidly before it was made illegal,
      and that he has left out a lot of other factors like people not
      reporting ‘back-alley’ abortions or increased development and healthcare
      that led to more lives saved which was maybe the reason for the
      decrease before it was made illegal.

      On a fundamental level though, pro-birth, as some commenter suggested
      we call it, is just a needless stance anyways. No one is forcing you to
      have abortions. You can abstain from sex and unplanned pregnancies and
      abortions even if abortion is legal, but if you make abortion illegal,
      you’re restricting other peoples’ abilities to have abortions. And if
      it’s just a matter of ‘murdering babies’, then you should instead be
      campaigning for more birth control and those other things Libby’s
      article mentioned that you guys aren’t campaigning for even though
      technically you should be.

      yay.

      • Ronk

        The logic you find “compelling” has been proven false in every country where it has been examined. Widespread use of contraception leads to increased abortion rates, not decreased as you simply assume with no evidence.

        • Geoff_Fides

          Sigh,

          Hormonal birth control is not completely effective at preventing ovulation and thus conception. What it excels at is preventing implantation. So it does cause abortion, just at the earliest possible stage. The only contraceptive method that could be said not to destroy life is a condom, but that’s another issue for another day…

          • Anon

            Ah yes, trotting out a rebutted talking point!

          • Geoff_Fides

            Rebutted? When/where? The reported efficacy of HBC is 99.8% (IIRC) with an effective efficacy of anywhere from 88-92% (depending on which study you read, probably somewhere in the middle). This compares to condoms with a reported efficacy of 99.9% and an effective efficacy of around 82%.

            I think that with a 90% efficacy it is a fair conclusion to assume that birth control does not completely block ovulation, even when taken correctly according to package instructions. The data supports this as well, and if I were less lazy right now I would list citations… Sadly, I am very lazy at the moment…

            Perhaps you could give me a good explanation for why it is not true?

          • Arbe

            The condom still destroys human life. Those poor sperm cells. Living. Human Cells. And they could each become a human too, so everyone of those you prevent from fulfilling its purpose is another life lost too.

          • Geoff_Fides

            Monty Python fan?

            But no, those are not individual members of the species, they are simply haploid versions of the man and therefore have no more inherent rights than do skin cells or liver cells.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            But a potency is not an actuality. It’s like shooting unicorns. You haven’t killed anything. “Could become” is not the same as “is.”

          • sigh

            Geoff,

            I’m a complete novice at the topic of hormonal birth control so I may be a little misguided, but in Libby’s article she laid out a study that claimed that less zygotes are aborted on birth control then NOT on birth control. This, the study claimed, was due to the female body naturally aborting zygotes. This ‘rebuttal’, however, does nothing to mention that, which is confusing since I found that study to be the most convincing thing in LIbby’s article and so would assume that it’d be smart for a critic to at least mention it in some way.

          • Geoff_Fides

            I think the best way I can explain it is this:

            People have heart attacks every day, but were I to go around giving people injections that caused them, even were I to administer this injection at 1/1millionth the rate of heart attacks, that would be wrong. All of the “evidence” regarding naturally aborted embryos/zygotes are based on (reasonably strong) statistical guesses. Assuming that these statistical guesses are accurate (and I have no reason to believe otherwise) this is still a natural process. Natural death is always preferred over unnatural ending of life. Would you rather die old, fat and happy surrounded by your children or young from a gunshot? Life is a beautiful thing in all its myriad colors and iterations and should not be forcibly denied to anyone.

            Geoff

          • sigh

            I might be a complete novice at hormonal birth control, but I’m not that stupid. The essential question here is the typical ‘a train is about to run over 10 men unless you switch the tracks which would instead run the train into 2 men.’ At face value, without going into the topic of who is more deserving to live/lives a better life, I would choose (and I would think that you would too) to switch the tracks in order to not let so many people die. Have you killed people? Kind of, but you haven’t killed as many people as you would have if you had just let the train run its ‘natural’ course. Of course we look at the numbers at face value because there’s no way that we can know what kind of life a tiny zygote can grow up to become, but the main point is that we’ve ‘killed’ less people. And dying naturally to a zygote compared to dying by birth control is nothing like dying old, fat and happy compared to dying young from a gunshot. Both pregnancies are terminated (I would think) at the same time. There’s nothing gained by letting them be aborted naturally. Life is a beautiful thing and I agree with that 100%, but I’m still convinced that birth control is somehow more ‘moral’.

          • Geoff_Fides

            Ah, the old “people on the tracks” ethical dilemma. Do you realize that the point of that question is to determine when it is ethically permissible to do what is considered an evil act? Quite funny that you should bring it up. But, sadly, it does not apply as you presume. In the train dilemma either outcome chosen is an absolute certainty while in the case of conception/abortion with regards to contraception, neither outcome is certain. In fact, the more “certain” outcome of aborting the developing fetus (since the child only remains a zygote for a few days, zygotes are almost never aborted, naturally or otherwise) comes with birth control since the body perceives itself as already pregnant and hardens the uterine walls to prevent later implantation of another blastocyst.

            If you choose to refuse the analogy of natural death versus unnatural death as I presented it then perhaps you could provide one of your own? My intent was that “old fat and happy” described natural death while young was unnatural death.

            But reading your other comments you don’t seem to want a discussion as much as you want to make the people who don’t feel like you feel stupid while you receive your sense of liberal smug superiority. As such, I just wanted to give you the opportunity to prove me wrong.

            Also, hormonal birth control is something that I tend to avoid on principle because it has become so intrinsic to today’s society that people actually think sex is a necessary part of life. That without sex people will get sick or something. Anything that has become that disordered and been stripped of all the reference points for when and where it is a good thing is FAR too charged for me to discuss.

          • sigh

            The question is definitely applicable. Statistically, the natural abortion is more ‘certain’, especially as it is more likely to happen, while ‘abortion’ by pill will happen a lot less frequently. Again, no one’s tried at all to prove that wrong. No statistics or studies or anything.

            I choose to refuse the analogy because you twist it so that natural death is ‘better’, even though ‘unnatural’ abortion occurs less often and at the same time, which makes there literally no benefit to ‘natural’ death.

            Actually, I think my first post was very ‘discussion-like’. I only decided to reply to you like that because you tried to convince me of your clearly biased opinion (which didn’t really make sense). To me, killing less zygotes ‘intentionally’ is better than ‘unintentionally’ killing zygotes. You have the same outcome.

            Proof that sex is a necessary part of life: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs

            I could also find one of the countless studies that show that people with healthy sex lives lead happier lives.

            *Knowledge bomb deployed*

        • sigh

          Actually, I do not assume without evidence. The logic was presented in Libby’s article with sources and evidence to back it up. However, this ‘rebuttal’ does nothing to mention it. Therefore, YOU’RE making a claim that is assumed without evidence because, as previously stated, my evidence comes from Libby’s article and your evidence is kinda… just not here. Although I’m totally open to you showing a study if you want to link one! :)

        • sigh

          Also, doesn’t it just make sense that the more birth control used, the less abortions there would be??? I mean… they’re there FOR that specific reason -.-

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Risk Analysis studies reveal that people adjust their behavior to their own risk comfort level. It’s sometimes called a “risk thermostat.” Thus, seatbelts make drivers feel safer, so they drive faster and more recklessly. Condoms or other birth controls make rogues and slatterns feel safer and so they engage in pleasuring more often. Since no mechanism+human user is 100% reliable, it is possible that the number of undesired events may increase even if the probability of failure is reduced. k=pN, after all, and if N increases due to an increased sense of safety it can overwhelm a reduced unit risk of p.

          • endless.spring

            I think we’re all still missing an important point here. This entire article shows that abortions are not NECESSARY. Were we to give the adequate attention, care, and education to women around the world, it wouldn’t be necessary to have abortions or birth control pills. Why do we live in a world where we think that sex and pregnancy are two unrelated things that should have completely separate stories?

            And about the previous discussion, the fact of the matter is that a naturally lost zygote is still NATURAL, not induced by our own desire of losing it. By taking birth control pills we’re taking something into our hands that we previously had no control over, for a reason. We’re choosing ourselves to kill something that would become a child. Since when was it our right to choose life or death for someone? As a christian, it is my belief that only God has the power over these things. Even if you’re not religious, it is still reasonable to say that we as humans should not be able to control people’s life and death. If we were, then who’s to say that a murderer or serial killer is not justified in taking other people’s lives? The basic point of this idea is that a natural death is caused by no one, but an unnatural death is due to people, due to our own choice and in that effect it is as if we are consciously choosing to kill. A natural death and an unnatural death have the same outcome, but they don’t have the same cause, and this fundamental difference changes everything.

            And on another note, why is pro-life a needless stance? If we don’t believe in having abortions, we shouldn’t have them, yes. But in that same way, I guess you could say, if you don’t believe we should kill people, don’t kill people yourself. If you don’t believe in being corrupt, don’t be corrupt yourself. Yet still, society is standing up to these matters, trying to stop others from doing this as well. If we follow the opinion that you stated then our society becomes a selfish, “every man for himself” society. It’s human nature to wish the best for others, to try and lift up the people around us to become the best they can be. We’re not all focused on just ourselves, we care just as much about the people around us.

            On a last note, my stance for pro-life does not focus on banning abortion. It is the choice of following nature’s (or God’s, if you’re religious) course for us or choosing to take on the role of a God ourselves and decide the fate of others for them. If it was not meant to be that your zygote should turn into a child, even if you want it to, then my heart goes out for you. If it was meant to be that your zygote turns into a child, then revel in this amazing creation of life, or let someone else discover the joys of a child. Birth control, abortions, they’re both ways of interfering with things that aren’t supposed to be in our control. They’re letting us skew things in our society for our own pleasure. If we stop focusing on these things, we’d be able to create a society where they’re not necessary, because people are knowledgeable on how to create a safe pregnancy and how to take care of a child, and even know that there are people out there who would adopt and love that child.

            (sorry for the giant post…)

      • TheodoreSeeber

        ” It fails to address at all the point that taking birth control would decrease the number of
        abortions and the number of lost zygotes. ”

        And you fail to address the fact that birth control can, statistically, greatly INCREASE the number of abortions and lost zygotes.

        How so?

        By making more women available for date rape.

        • sigh

          …what?

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Statistics. A woman who has no acess to contraception will only have consensual sex after marriage. With contraception, which has between a 40%-97% effective rate, she will have sex much more often, and when the contraception fails, she will have an unwanted/unplanned pregnancy on her hands. Thus, conntraception reduces non-consensual sex but increases abortion.

          • Monimonika

            Wait, you just equated “making more women available for date rape” to “reduce(d) non-consensual sex”. Date RAPE is now CONSENSUAL sex???? wtf…

          • tedseeber

            Date rape is always consensual until suddenly it isn’t, usually after the fact. The only safe way for a man to act is to get the consent in writing with a marriage license.

          • Joan

            there is rape inside of marriage as well. in the place you want to bring our society, aka 1895, where there is no contraception allowed, a woman has a general idea of when might be a bad time to engage with her husband and says no. how does that go over when literally half a month is potentially fertile and you don’t want more kids? or does the catholic church allow for mutual … ahem … now? they didn’t use to, if i recall my catechism correctly. procreative only! no other orifices/fun stuff allowed.

            who is going to police all of this activity in our society? prosecutors? cops? they can’t even keep up with weed … and are some of the most vocal leading the charge to get it decriminalized are people in law enforcement who see plainly that they can’t get to real crimes because they’re busy clogging the system for stupid stuff like pot!

          • sigh

            You have no idea what you’re saying. There’s no consent in being drugged and raped. And, no. There are other ways of achieving consent, as shown by the millions of couples that have safe, healthy sexual relationships.

          • Joan

            this doesn’t make any sense at all. do you really think that women did not have sex before marriage before the pill was invented? as libby said in her original article, all this fuss about what women and men choose to do in their private lives, is really about controlling women’s sexuality.

          • tedseeber

            It is more about controlling men’s sexuality and forcing them to have a sense of responsibility.

            All the pill does is remove pregnancy from the equation- which turns women from actual people with the most powerful vocation any human being can attain, into objectified playthings for men.

            And thus it is the contraceptive side that is really about feeding the sexual appatites of men. Women are just powerless pawns in the game once they start taking the pill- which does nott even provide protection against STDs.

            Marriage is about PROTECTING women. Any other type of sex is just about giving away milk without making the farmer feed and house the cow.

          • sigh

            Don’t you have it backwards? The pill was one of most empowering things invented for women. It encouraged the women’s movement in the US because they were no longer tied down once they got pregnant. Typically they would need to rely on a man to take care of them financially since they wouldn’t be able to get a job, especially while pregnant. However, with the introduction of the pill, women could choose if and when to get pregnant and could break free of the social norm.

            What marriage is ‘about’, is highly debatable. Marriage as an idea and a practise has changed constantly for thousands of years. It used to be between a man and lots of women, who were nothing more than concubines. That was one of the more ‘original’ ideas about marriage. Nowadays, marriage is more about publicly showing commitment and love which is why denying gay marriage is such an issue. You’re denying them the chance to actually be validated by a common practise that they’re worthy of love and shtuff.

            So, yeah… besides, sex isn’t even necessary to men that you make it seem… I mean, we all have hands, don’t we?

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Good grief! Doesn’t anyone study history any more? Or do they only get their history from “X studies” programs? Marriage was never defined as a union between a man and many women. That doesn’t mean that alpha males did not consummate multiple marriages, of course. That’s how they made sure of a cadre of young, horny betas to staff the armies of the city states. Among other primates, this was called “the bachelor herd.”

            Marriage is a contract between a potentially reproductive couple on the one part and the State on the other that the couple would assume the expense of raising any offspring that might arise from their coupling. (Otherwise, the kids would become an expense on the king’s purse.) That’s why laws regarding marriage had to do with the inheritance and the funding of the children, and why barrenness was a cause for divorce. See the Code of Khammurapi for details. See also Plato, The Laws.

            Also, in the US, the %Women in the Labor Force was increasing exponentially (or perhaps logistically) since at least the 1880s, long before the Pill. And for farm labor – which meant most people prior to the Industrial Revolution – women and men worked in equal measure. But that was before it became the pravda that in order to be held worthy a woman had to behave as a kind of man.

          • sigh

            Yeah. This guy has no idea what he’s talking about.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            There is a name for this in Risk Analysis, but the name escapes me at the moment.

          • NoDiggity

            ” A woman who has no acess to contraception will only have consensual sex after marriage.”

            False.

  • http://twitter.com/largebill68 William Keane

    Even if they weren’t lying about the increased health risk of making abortion illegal, does that even matter? Not to be uncaring, but what other crimes do we legalize because “they’ll do it anyways so we should make it legal so it is safer?” Back alley muggings would be safer if we legalized mugging.

    • Geoff Scholl

      See my mini-debate with vision on the first article. That was precisely my argument as well.

    • JoyceArthur

      From my article The Fetus Focus Fallacy (http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/fetus-focus-fallacy.shtml)

      “Some anti-choicers argue that even though women will have abortions
      regardless, that doesn’t mean we should make abortion legal, since
      we don’t legalize murder just because some people will commit murder
      anyway. This analogy fails because everyone in society agrees that
      murder is wrong and must be punished, but there is no such consensus
      on abortion. Second, very few people commit murder, but a majority
      of women will either have an abortion, or would have one if they
      experienced an unwanted pregnancy. As we learned from Prohibition
      (of alcohol), criminalizing behavior that large numbers of people
      engage in has disastrous consequences for public health and law
      and order.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/beverly.harlton Beverly Harlton

        Majority? Really? And Planned Parenthood only says 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in their lifetimes…

      • http://twitter.com/TerribleTrioJon Jon Z

        I’m sorry but I can’t access your article through that link.

        But do you realize why this argument doesn’t work? Has there ever been a consensus on abortion? If so, the odds lie heavily for the pro-life side from a historical point of view. Your denials of the historical evidence (laws, Hippocratic oaths, cultural stances) are only one-upped by your generalities/falsehoods, particularly the heinous assertion that “a majority of women will either have an abortion, or have one if they experienced an unwanted pregnancy”. Do you care to back that up?

        As we learn from history, laws can have negative consequences, but laws illegalizing abortion have none. They don’t cause or result in unwanted pregnancy, they merely protect those pregnancies of human organisms in one of the most vulnerable stages of human life. Nor do unintended consequences determine the fundamental issues that such laws address. If the large numbers of people argument happened to be true, factually, it still would fail as a fallacious argument. Large numbers of people make mistakes, break rules and harm others, because we have fallen or imperfect natures as human beings having the ability to make choices and bear responsibility, hence the necessity of such laws to maintain order, peace, and protection of fundamental rights.

        • Joan

          this is absolutely untrue. wikipedia abortion and scroll down to the history section. i did research for a paper on early irish catholicism (think 600s – 800s) – by looking at small books priests used to calculate the punishment for whatever crime the person confessing did. the penance required for obtaining an abortion was less than it would be if you ate meat or had sex on an off day. interestingly, the church regulated when people could have sex. fridays and sundays were out as well as any “holy day” that limited sex to half a year. a pope in the 1500s said abortion was wrong, but not until the victorian age did church groups get together to ban abortion. margaret sanger took up the cause after witnessing her mother go through 18 births in 22 years and die at the age of 50. THIS is what birth control and abortion do for us humans. we don’t need kids to slave on our farms anymore. kids cost a lot of money. if you can’t afford them, don’t have them!

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            The Church has always considered that one should be master of one’s appetites rather than vice versa. Hence, days of fasting and abstinence from food or from sex to exercise the strength of prudence, much as a Late Modern might prescribe certain days to exercise, jogging, etc. There were also designated days when lords and knights were to abstain from war (the Truce of God) and designated groups (“civilians”) who were not to be attacked. The Men With Swords did not like such anti-choice measures, either.

            But we live today in the Triumph of the Will, when no whim of appetite ought go unslaked. Hence, obesity and bulimia, contraception and abortion. Not to mention financial sins.

            But it is instructive that you regard children only as economic assets or liabilities.

            Sanger was at least open about her desire to curb inferior races.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        Because, of course, your unwritten assumption is that all unwanted human beings are evil criminals deserving of the death penalty.

      • Melissa

        LISTEN UP FOLKS:

        Joyce Arthur and her association, the Pro Choice Action Network, are currently being sued for defamation by a British Columbia Crisis Pregnancy Centre over a hit piece she authored about them. ( http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/10/29/51748.htm )

        Until she apologizes for the libellous piece she wrote, she really has no business talking to prolifers. Geoffrey Trotter, a lawyer with Gundmundseth Mickelson in Vancouver is prosecuting attorney. I will be forwarding this conversation to him. Pass this informantion along.

    • Arbe

      It’s kind of a new idea, you know, like legalizing alcohol sales to try and minimize questionable production methods and regulate things like the composition of the product.

      You may have heard about the problem in India with a bunch of illegal stills, the product had high amounts of methanol and a lot of people died.

      People are trying to take a similar and more thought out approach (like they did with alcohol) with other things that might harm people, like marijauna, as well.

      Though it was pretty easy to prove your point with an example like mugging. Well done.

      You missed the part where things we legalize are no longer crimes.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        So let’s just legalize murder and be done with it, right?

  • Mrs. Milburn

    Marc, as an educator and perpetual student, I must say your work is so good- thoughtful, well researched, argued & well written, that I just want to give you an honorary degree already! You give an old heart great hope for the future.

    • Anon

      So, as an educator, would you say that mortality is the only relevant factor in assessing safety?

      • Geoff Scholl

        As a research/diagnostic scientist (As much as I hate the generic “scientist” tag, I will use it for clarity here) I can say definitely no.

        It is however, the easiest to categorize and the most blatant difference: alive vs. dead. Morbidity AND mortality would honestly be a better metric but the data are currently almost impossible to quantify since the morbidity is not documented well and is incredibly varied. How would you recommend tracking increased cancer risk (breast, ovarian, cervical), mental health issues (depression primarily), relationship problems (which DO play into the consequences since they affect mental state) and sexual/fertility problems that arise?

        The stigma of abortion still exists and often leads women (and men) not to discuss these things publicly.

        • Anon

          There are ways of including morbidity which do not include psychological morbidity. It’s a false dichotomy to go “all or none” in attempting to include morbidity, and strictly speaking, since I’m not working in medical science or policy planning, I don’t have to have a tracking methodology in place.

          • Geoff_Fides

            I agree. I was merely pointing out the inherent difficulty of tracking morbidity and mortality vs morbidity alone.

  • Rebecca

    Thanks Marc for yet another great post! Your critical thinking and your passion are much appreciated. As a young woman entering the International Development field, I stand behind your perspective and thank you for defining the issues so well.

    • ForsythiaTheMariner

      so good to know there will be people with this perspective in the International Development field. It’s very rare to find someone in this field who holds these values.

  • Obliged_Cornball

    Great post, Marc. However, I have a question about the claim you make at the end of the article:

    “Abortion always hurts two. It kills the child, and the 2012 study ‘Reproductive history patterns and long-term mortality rates’
    has found that abortion increases the mother’s likelihood of death: The ‘increased risks of death were 45%, 114% and 191% for 1, 2 and 3
    abortions, respectively, compared with no abortions after controlling
    for other reproductive outcomes and last pregnancy age.’”

    I skimmed the article and couldn’t find any indication that the researchers controlled for socioeconomic status of the people receiving abortions. We know that poverty is associated both with higher rates of abortion and higher mortality rates. Do you have any material that addresses this confound?

    • JoyceArthur

      From my article “Why Abortion Care Must Be Fully Funded” (check link for citations http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/action/abortion-funding.html)

      “One of the most ubiquitous flaws committed by anti-choice ‘researchers’ is to confuse correlation with causation. When they find that women who had abortions suffer ill health [or death] more than women who carried to term, they tend to conclude that abortion was responsible. But correlation does not equal causation, which means that some other factor could be causing the negative effect, not abortion. In fact, women with planned pregnancies tend to be in better physical or mental health compared to women who have abortions, and tend to have more stable lives. For example, married women are generally healthier than unmarried women, but most abortions are obtained by unmarried women. Also, women leading dysfunctional or unhealthy lives are much more likely to experience unintended pregnancy in the first place, and more likely to seek abortions. Such disparities can lead to significant differences in outcome that should not be attributed to the birth or abortion itself. The American Psychological Association has concluded that mental health problems are not a direct result of choosing to have an abortion, and a recent study confirms this.

      • Ronk

        Why don’t you actually read the article instead of simply trotting out your standard unthinking litany of pro-abortion slogans? Then you would duiscover that the author is certaibnly not confusing correlation with causation. In fact that is the very error by the the pro-abortionists which he is pointing out by drawing attention to the statistics. He actually points out that the abortion rate and the maternal death rate are independent of each other (NOT dependent as the pro-abortion propagandists claim) but the maternal death rate depends (surprise to nobody but the pro-abortionists in denial) upon the quality of health care provided to mothers and babies.

    • JethroElfman

      I skimmed the article as well and saw in the fine print that the increased risk of death was 600% for women who never became pregnant at all. The increased risk of death for 1, 2, or 3 miscarries was similar to that for abortions. They are talking about 25-year mortality rates. Sounds to me like the debunked “abortion causes cancer” argument. The risk of death during childbirth is 1,400% higher than the risk of death during abortion. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/womens-health/articles/2012/01/23/abortion-safer-for-women-than-childbirth-study-claims

  • Anon

    Mortality isn’t the only measure of safety. And it’s worth considering rates per general population aren’t exactly the best measure of safety either — if the overall abortion rate greatly drops following a policy change, then of course the rate of deaths due to abortion in the general population will drop as well. Medical complications per abortions might be the best measure of safety.

    Not to mention that shifts in infrastructure and improvements in medical technology play a much larger factor in determining mortality rates. So this post seems like a lot of hot air, and not a lot of substance since it’s pretty confused, and makes absolutely no effort to control potential other factors.

    • Anon

      Ugh, not to mention that you do that god-awful shift to percentage increase in risks, without telling us what the initial likelihood is. It’s a hell of a lot easier to get an increase of 100% or greater when the initial likelihood is extremely low.

      • Geoff Scholl

        Well, considering we all have a 100% risk of death, it is mighty hard to double that…

        Just a pet peeve of mine…

        But, to actually address the issue: a 100% increased risk is incredibly significant regardless of the initial value assuming a large enough sample size. If the initial sample size was 15 people and the “100%” increase sample pool was 15,000 I would argue that is not a valid comparison. Not reading the article I cannot critique that.

        It is very difficult to track the medical complications per abortion due to “sample bias” among other things. The abortion community (those who advocate for and/or provide abortions) have become apologists for abortion and like some religious apologists ignore or obfuscate anything that could hurt their pet issue, thus making it more difficult to track.

        • Anon

          “Well, considering we all have a 100% risk of death, it is mighty hard to double that…”

          I don’t see how this is relevant to anything I’ve said. I didn’t mention doubling the risk of death — I mentioned providing a 100% increase in the likelihood of an extremely unlikely event. Often this is fairly easy, talking about an extremely likely event misses the point entirely.

          “But, to actually address the issue: a 100% increased risk is incredibly significant regardless of the initial value assuming a large enough sample size. If the initial sample size was 15 people and the “100%” increase sample pool was 15,000 I would argue that is not a valid comparison. Not reading the article I cannot critique that.”

          This doesn’t address the issue at all — we’re not talking about a comparison of rates in a population. Consider two probabilities, p and r. Let p = 0.5 and let r = 0.000005. A 100% increase in the likelihood of p would make it certain. A 100% increase in the likelihood of r would only amount to a change of 0.000005 in probability.

          As someone who claims to be a research scientist, you should surely know enough statistics to realize that talking about percent increases in probability without mentioning the background probabilities obscures a lot of important information.

          If you’re going to be calling people out for obfuscation, you might want to begin with Marc. Since he conflates mortality with safety, shows carelessness in the choice of rates he bases his argument on and he has more than demonstrated a willingness to use statistics without providing relevant background information (between here, and articles he has surely contributed to 1flesh).

          • Geoff_Fides

            My comment wasnt really addressed to you per se, it was more of a comment on the absurdity of a general “increased risk of death”.

            ” Consider two probabilities, p and r. Let p = 0.5 and let r = 0.000005. A 100% increase in the likelihood of p would make it certain. A 100% increase in the likelihood of r would only amount to a change of 0.000005 in probability.”

            A 100% increase in probability is statistically significant, regardless of the initial probability. But your concern is definitely valid since this discussion is more related to the point where we should be concerned regarding whatever the issue is and a .000005 or a .00001 probability are still too small to be a point of concern.

            I dont think that the obfuscation is Marc’s, since he wrote what is essentially a summary of the easily available data. His conclusions and stats come almost directly from his linked articles and papers and I feel the fault lies with their authors.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          Actually, mathematics sometimes doesn’t model the world very well.

          x=number of procedures
          y=fetal deaths
          z=maternal deaths

          The actual percentage incidence of abortions causing death is obviously (z+y)/x * 100.

          I’m pretty damn sure that the percentage of abortions causing death is > 100%. Possibly in the range of 104%, but certainly more than 100%.

  • Deacon Tom

    If you doubt Libby Anne’s agenda in her “objective” review of the data from the “objective” Guttmacher Institute, here are her views on abortion:

    “While I was raised solidly in the anti-abortion movement, I am today
    solidly pro-choice. My transformation took place for three main reasons:

    First,
    I think women should be able to choose when and if to have children,
    and that means supporting their right to birth control and abortion. And
    indeed, the more we encourage contraceptive use and comprehensive sex
    education, the fewer abortions will be needed. Even then, of course,
    contraception sometimes fails, fetuses sometimes have
    severe abnormalities, and women sometimes find their lives threatened
    even by wanted pregnancies.

    Second, I do not believe that thezygote is a fetus or “person” with moral or legal rights. Determining what is and is not a “person” is obviously complicated, and I’ll admit that late-term abortions can seem morally troubling. However, I don’t
    believe in the existence of a divine “soul” implanted at conception or
    any other stage, and I most definitely don’t think a first or second
    trimester fetus has even a breath of claim to personhood or rights.

    Third,
    I see birth as a firm dividing line because until then the fetus
    inhabits a woman’s body. A woman’s body is private property – it’s hers. She shouldn’t be forced to let another creature live in it. Once that other creature
    is out of her body, that’s when it gets rights. Until then, any rights
    it gets would be taking away from the woman’s rights over her own body.
    And to me, that matters”

    Enough said.

    • Maria K

      Good to know we’re human as soon as we pass a few inches down the birth canal. I wonder what species we are when we’re fetuses.

      Btw-Fetus is Latin for little one.

      • http://twitter.com/LaFilleCendrier Raluca Citizen!

        I’m sorry, but it’s a huge difference between “human” as species and “human” as person with moral or legal rights. You should be able to realise this. ;)

        • Geoff_Fides

          No there is not. All members of the human species have the same moral and legal rights.

          To say otherwise is to, again, allow some arbitrary judgement about when a human becomes a person. And arbitrary lines are often moved. At what point in gestation would the become a person? At what point in old age would they cease to be a person? At what point in illness would they cease to be a person? Is a person in a coma a “‘human’ as a species” or are they a person with rights?

          The distinction you are trying to make brings up so many difficult questions that have no legitimate logical answer that it simply falls apart. The only logical conclusion, to prevent any semblance of arbitrary judgement, is to say that Human life begins at conception and that every human life has moral and legal rights until natural death.

          (I apologize for the incoherence above, its early and I am working to keep religious comments out…)

          • Arbe

            If you keep completely blind emotion out of it for a second, if the zygote (human or otherwise) is incapable of any real thought or awareness- regardless of wether you consider it human yet or not- it makes no difference to it wether it survives or not.
            This is like some strange extreme of prolife that says our liver cells are human so we shouldn’t be allowed to kill them. Or saying bacteria are living creatures so we shouldn’t hinder their lives.
            Speaking of arbitrary lines…

          • Geoff_Fides

            lol, although I have heard this in passing, I havent ever dealt with it personally so you are giving me yet another reason to enjoy this thread.

            I think that you would agree there is a difference in type of destroying liver cells during my incredibly excessive drinking during college and if I were to commit suicide. The first destroys a small part of me (even if I were to lose an arm, a leg, both arms, etc. I would still be me) while the second destroys me in my entirety.

            If thought is the only determining factor in the worth of an individual then I know some people who are currently walking and talking who would…. Never mind. But following your explanation, would a man in a coma be considered worthy of life? WHat about the cases of people who wake up from a coma after weeks, months and years? (I know they may be relatively few but a similar argument is used in the abortion debate for rape/incest/health of the mother which combined yield less than 1% of abortions annually. I ask that you let the analogy stand.)

          • Arbe

            To me coma is an entirely different thing. It’s like the difference between being born blind and going blind when you are middle aged. To the first it makes little difference to them. To the second, it has a drastic effect on you.

            And many of the more naive among us might sympathize with the former as we would the latter, but in fact, we know nothing about how they feel. And personally, if you are born blind, I’m not sure you’d be capable of understanding sight- I know I wouldn’t. Try imagining a sense you don’t have.
            You like to blur the lines of “life” but place an artificial importance on human beings. There is a difference between valuing and caring for humans and recognizing how important they truly are.
            I don’t see why the man in coma isn’t worthy of life, and I don’t see how it directly applies in the way you are trying to make it to the zygote argument. The zygote is an entirely different idea. And it really isn’t that different from your liver cells. A zygote is just another diploid cell. Another piece of you and someone else.
            It may be human, but it’s not a person by any sense of the word. No more person than a starfish (i used this example because they develop similarly to us, so the zygote is about as close as you can be, or I could have used a tunicate, in which case you probably couldn’t differentiate the young embryo from a human’s)
            Though again, I see where you are using potential=reality again.

          • Geoff_Fides

            But is that not an arbitrary judgment to say that at one stage being blind is acceptable (Not exactly what you said, I know) but at another it is drastic? Perhaps that person born blind feels that they are at a significant disadvantage, in exactly the same way and degree as the person who became blind?

            There have been some preliminary trials on people born blind but who still have an optic nerve that have been given rudimentary sight (not sure of the references right now, just from memory) and they did have a hard time adjusting. But they did adjust and when the device was turned off or removed it was perceived as if a person born with sight had been blindfolded.

            I do not blur the lines of life. This is a debate (weak as it may be on my part) regarding the point at which life/humanity begins. I have stated that the only logical place to affirm that line is at conception. You would assert that it is at a later point.

            “There is a difference between valuing and caring for humans and recognizing how important they truly are.” I am confused what you mean by this. Are you saying some lives have more importance than others? Or are you saying that at some point it is not a human life? I am not trying to be aggressive, I just want to better understand the point you are attempting to make.

            Apologies for not being clear, sometimes the thoughts dont come across the way I want. I was attempting to compare your comment “if the zygote (human or otherwise) is incapable of any real though” with a man in a coma who is equally incapable of thought.

            A zygote is fundamentally different from my liver cells. My liver cells share the same DNA with each and every other cell in my body and are therefore not unique. A zygote is completely and absolutely unique. It shares its DNA with no other cell on earth. To destroy a zygote is to destroy all that is that individual. There can be no other Zygote “A” once Zygote “A” is destroyed.

            I suppose that instead of me attempting to explain my point on what is a human person, perhaps you could humor me and explain what, in your opinion, defines a human person, at what point in development is personhood and/or humanity achieved, are severely mentally disabled people persons and at what point it is lost? (as a complete aside, are there non-human person? You say that it is human, but not a person so I am intrigued about the difference…). And it is relatively simple now to differentiate a tunicate from a human. DNA makes that surprisingly easy. Visually they may look similar but they are very different. Just as some insects may look like other species, they are very different.

            Potential is real, but it is not the entirety of reality. The potential energy in chemical bonds is real. The potential kinetic energy of a crane dangling from a skyscraper is real. Potential is real and it exists. Whether it comes to fruition or not is the variable. We may choose not to burn something and thus the potential chemical energy is not released. Or we may gently lower a crane to the ground and the potential kinetic energy is gradually released. But it does exist. Stare down the barrel of a .45 pointed at your forehead and then tell me that potential is not real. (Actually, don’t. I cant recommend it. It’s not particularly fun).

          • Arbe

            Interesting.

            I mean without really going into the details of DNA, and how much of it is irrelevant in terms of what you are, and how much of it is so similar among species of such distant relations, let alone close ones, (and I mean in terms of gene families, not all the differentiating mutations) I would stand by the idea that a tunicate zygote is essentially the same as a human one, leaving out potential and a few regulatory genes (to really oversimplify it). Essentially being a key word.

            But I guess, the whole point of the abortion debate, is that humans tend to seperate biological definitions from spiritual ones.

            I count myself more logical than spiritual personally, but I can still recognize, however callous the origins of my stance may be, that there is more to a person than there is to a human.

            And personally I see no need to decide when a life is “over”, I’d keep it simple and say that’s when you are dead. If you had the foresight to say somewhere “if I become a vegetable, please keep me alive” or conversely “If I become a vegetable, please unplug me” then those wishes should be adhered to. If you didn’t have this foresight, which is probably most of us, and you go into a coma that cannot be sustained by those around you (like in extreme cases of straining an overburdened health care system, taking up room and doctor’s attention in some epidemic situation) then again, as cruel as it may sound, perhaps it’s for the better of everyone- including you- if you are unplugged.

            Again, I think this is a different debate though. It’s not my concern when life ends, it’s when it begins, and I think they are sufficiently different to seperate them.

            You can’t argue potential and then say the gametes have none.

            You can’t do that without drawing an arbitrary line you’d rather not, or so you say.

            Sorry, that bit may have sounded short- no intentions of attacking here friend.

            And I’ll tell you what, if I could go back to when I was a zygote, a single cell, I’d look down the barrel just for you, and you know? I probably wouldn’t see potential. Sure I can now. That’s my point.

            Even a fetus would have some way of feeling danger, or perhaps even discomfort (depending on the stage I imagine), but not the zygote. As far as it’s concerned it doesn’t exist.

            And to clear up the bit about the importance of humans, I think humans are all equally important, and that importance is equal to everything else. And that importance doesn’t really exist.

            I value humans on varying scales, mainly on a scale involving Love, to again oversimplify. I like to seperate the two (perhaps arbitrarily, it would seem to most) because it’s a clear division that people blur.

            And zygote A may have been unique, I’ll give you that.

            But that’s not a property that inherently makes you a person. And it’s not like all your other cells are exactly identical since you wanted to go on the level of DNA… that’s part of why we die.

            I’m placing my argument on principal, and in principal, there is nothing that makes a human zygote more of a ‘miracle of life’ than any protist alive.

            You are placing a value (skewed by a view of human superiority) that the that human cell is more important, is something more than it is.

            And potential energy exists, but in terms of people, and abstract ideas of the like, We are simply not our potential. And we never could be most of it.

            I’m not a gymnast, I won’t become a gymnast, but maybe I really had the potential. It doesn’t mean I am worth something more as a gymnast. I don’t get credit for potential the way your beam on a crane does.

            Enjoying this talk,

            Sincerely, Arbe

          • Geoff_Fides

            I cannot deny that human and tunicate zygotes are essentially the same in substance, but I do deny that they are very different in kind. Just like a cucumber seed and an tomato seed are essentially the same in substance, they are different in kind. And I tend to see the world through both biological and spiritual eyes, with distinctions made accordingly.

            The “vegetable” topic, as you discussed it above, is an apt comparison for this. I would consider the second half of your statement correct: if a person becomes an unsustainable burden upon their family or society than extraordinary care may be removed (food, water and air are not extraordinary as far as I can tell). The first half that refers to a sort of living will I am opposed to on a moral level, but that is inappropriate to bring in here.

            I suppose that in some way the line between gamete and zygote is arbitrary, but again I have to use the “same in substance, different in kind” argument. The first is one of many exact (for all intents) duplicates that may bring something completely unique into being. The second is something completely unique that has already been brought into being. The potential for talent, etc. is a secondary issue since it is just as likely that the child could be a deadbeat. I suppose that it is the destruction of something perfectly unique that I oppose (religious issues aside) since that individual can never be recreated.

            I dont think that the way you value humans is all that different from how the rest of us do it. Everyone assigns different value to different people and hopefully not on a utilitarian basis. I choose, however, not to make that distinction between human and person: all persons are human and all humans are persons as far as I am concerned. Perhaps you could briefly give some of the distinguishing characteristics that would make a person vs. simply a member of the human species?

            I suppose that a better way to put it is that all of my cells are fundamentally the same but that all the cells with my DNA are perfectly unique. And you are correct, there is absolutely nothing that makes human zygotes more a “miracle of life” than any other zygote. Our differences (along with the value arising from my skewed view of human superiority), however, get into philosophy which isnt really suited for this thread.

            Again, you are correct. We are not our potential. We are what we make of that potential. If we choose to make use of that potential. But I will continue to assert that the potential is real and exists in the same manner (not the same kind) as chemical energy.

            The worth of a person is incredibly difficult to discuss outside of a philosophical point. Even utilitarianism is a philosophical way to assign value to a thing, and I am sure you can extrapolate my views with reasonable accuracy anyway.

            Hopefully I managed to get through that whole thing without being dismissive. It is late for me, so I am half asleep right now. I actually laughed above when you brought up arbitrary lines since it was pretty much spot on from where you stand, so no offense taken.

            Thanks for the discussion! I am enjoying it as well.

            Geoff

          • Arbe

            I just want to say I in no way meant the “skewed view of human superiority” thing as an assumption of you, just in case that wasn’t clear. I don’t often make assumptions of people.

            And now you are starting to speak my language- about things of kind and things of manner type thing.

            I also would like to clarify, i do believe all humans from a point are a person (I choose to exclude zygotes, and I myself am not fully clear on a point past that where I would consider one becomes a person). I am not suggesting I have any right to consider any human as anything different from myself.

            I think what makes a human a person is, at the risk of simply sounding cheeky, a personality. Not the potential to maybe one day have one. It’s a bit too romantic of a notion for me to say a single celled embryo is a person- and you know, I’m not nearly so against spiritual outlooks as I’m making myself sound heh :)

            And I can see the differentiation you are making between gametes and zygotes, but I still don’t see how you can seperate their potentials. Again, it’s like saying I may have been the next Mozart, but because I never united with that other piece of me (my instrument if you will) then somehow that potential never existed?

            I think in a sense, abortion IS actually comparable to the coma thing you brought up; to paraphrase, you did agree if the person was going to be a burden (simplifying that description, I think we both know what i mean by ‘burden’), then it was alright for someone to make the call to ‘abort’.
            This is a similar idea, and in the grand scheme, it makes no difference to anyone. Besides, the world could really do with a few less zygotes anyways if you want to really go full-swing biological argument too. Ecology demands we doom ourselves soon.

            I’m not sure what else to say without strictly reiterating.

            Arbe

          • Geoff_Fides

            Oh, I do have a skewed view of human superiority so that is appropriate I suppose. I can admit that I cannot see that there is any other species on our level, but again, that is more of a philosophical discussion so probably not really appropriate.

            To say that a personality makes a person again adds that arbitrary line that I think we both try to shy away from: what personality? Is a person with an evil personality a person? Is an infant with specific likes and dislikes a person? A child in the womb will often react to the food the mother eats or the noises in the environment, so does that count as a person? My point is that a personality s something inherent in human beings and seems to arise even before birth so to attempt to distinguish even that would seem to be a lost cause.

            Ah, but that potential was inherent in you, contained within you and entirely specific to you regardless of external items. Mozart was not Mozart because of a piano, he was Mozart because of who and what he was. Now gametes in and of themselves are not complete and the human potential only arises when a human is formed at fertilization.

            I said an excessive burden and that only extraordinary treatments were acceptable to remove, not that it was acceptable to remove food, water and air. On the surface they look the same but like a saltwater pond and a freshwater pond they are very different despite appearances.

            I take a different view on the overpopulation issue, but again that falls into different philosophical approaches so if you would really like to delve into that we should find a different venue.

            And I am not sure there is anything more we can say without kicking the proverbial horse unless this morphs into philosophy…

            Sincerely,

            Geoff

          • Reuben Kellen

            “No there is not. All members of the human species have the same moral and legal rights.”
            This is obviously not true. Children are members of the human species, and they are denied rights to vote, own real property, incorporate a corporation, commence legal proceedings, self-represent in legal proceedings, etc.

          • Geoff_Fides

            Touche, they are denied certain privileges which are granted by the state. Perhaps next time I should leave out the word “legal” and not make an ass of myself?

            They are not, however, denied basic and fundamental human rights: food, water, shelter, clothing, etc. If they were then almost the entire world would stand up in their defense.

          • NoDiggity

            As said before. A potential human is no more an actual human than a potential corpse (a live 90-year old human) is an actual corpse.

  • JoyceArthur

    Anti-abortion laws kill, maim, and criminalize women, making them irredeemably immoral.

    Your rebuttal arguments regarding Chile, Poland, Ireland, Nicaragua, and El Salvador are all false. Re Chile, I have comprehensively rebutted Dr. Elard Koch and his colleagues in several articles: http://choice-joyce.blogspot.ca/2012/08/a-disgraceful-example-of-bad-science.html

    A 2010 article by me refutes the claims made for the rest of those countries (with evidence and numerous citations): http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/action/legalizing-abortion-saves-lives.html

    • Geoff Scholl

      Having skimmed your two linked articles (articles, not papers as there is little date) you seem to have two key points:

      1) Dr. Koch is “anti-choice”

      2) Abortion is a good thing (in that it saves lives)

      My response to your first point is limited in that I have read little from Dr. Koch since this entire issue has been on my periphery for several years and I tend to skim journals and only read what I feel is currently relevant to my day-to-day. But from the paper discussed here by Marc Dr. Koch’s sole conclusion regarding abortion is that restrictive abortion laws have no relationship to maternal mortality rates. Not that they decrease the MMR, simply that abortion laws have no primary effect. He may or may not be anti-abortion (and please Joyce, have the integrity to use the correct terminology, nobody is not opposed to the nebulous idea of choice but many people are opposed to abortion. Call a thing by its name and avoid euphemisms) but your bias is very clear pro-abortion. This immediately calls into question any assertions you have re: abortion research just as my assertions re: politics would be questionable if you were aware of my political leanings.

      My response to your second point would be that in any abortion there are a minimum of two lives affected: the mother and the child. There may be other lives affected but those are direct. If a mother decides to abort then the life of the child is ended so from a strictly utilitarian view abortion is a “wash” in the life-saving department. It is strictly a one for one trade.

      Also, in one link you gave you say “Women with unwanted pregnancies are not in a healthy place, and the argument that “pregnancy is not a disease” is invalid.” You also state “If anti-choicers think pregnancy is not a disease, then they should be consistent and oppose funded reproductive healthcare for all pregnant women, including any medical assistance in childbirth.” Is this an honest opinion you hold, that pregnancy can be both a disease and a good thing? In one situation it can be a blessing and in another it can be a cancer? There is a fundamental principle of logic called “the principle of non-contradiction” which states that a thing cannot both be and not be. Put simply, if I point to something and that thing is a rock (I am not playing a prank or something) it must be a rock. A rock cannot cease to be a rock (unless it is destroyed first, as it would be if ground into powder for instance). So either pregnancy is a disease or it is not.

      Perhaps a better way for you to characterize this would be to say that the mothers mental state could be a disease and THAT needs to be corrected. But you cannot assert that one thing can be two things.

      Anyway, I think it is rather comical that you would point the finger at someone for being biased. At least have the conviction to OWN your bias. Admit it and be proud. I will not hold it against you and neither will any clear minded person. Opinions are as varied as people and each person has a right to their own opinion.

      Lastly, I beg you to stop using the ridiculous euphemism “anti-choice”. Literally no single person in the entire world is opposed to choice. Any oppositions people hold are against individual ideas/principles/points/etc. If a person is anti-abortion, state that. If a person, such as you, is pro-abortion, state that.

      Very sincerely and without intent to offend,

      Geoff

      • JoyceArthur

        There are 4 linked articles, including these 2:

        http://rabble.ca/columnists/2012/06/anti-choice-researchers-chile-try-hide-illegal-abortion-and-women-who-die-it

        http://mypage.direct.ca/w/writer/Koch-rebuttal.html

        I use anti-choice because that is the most correct term. Anti-choice people want to prohibit women from making their own choices about their lives and bodies. It’s ok to be personally anti-abortion as long as you don’t impose your views on everyone else.

        You don’t even seem to understand the difference between commentary/opinion and scientific research, the latter of which requires certain obligations including ensuring that bias does not infect your results. Dr. Koch’s ‘research’ conclusions are invalid because his methodology and even hypotheses are infected and poisoned by his undeclared bias. Guttmacher is much more meticulous and objective in its research, and its stance and mission are clearly stated on its website. Just because most (all?) anti-choice researchers are hopelessly biased to the point of being unable to produce valid studies or conclusions, does not mean that pro-choice people are unable to. (Don’t project!)

        Your response about pregnancy and disease is asinine (and a misunderstanding of what I said). Obviously, like lots of things, a pregnancy can be either bad or good depending on the circumstances. The value of a pregnancy is entirely subjective and entirely up to the individual woman. It has to be.

        • Geoff Scholl

          Anti-choice is the wrong word. It does not describe the attitude of people who are opposed to abortion any more than saying someone is anti-lead when they are opposed to gun ownership. If you must use the word “choice” use anti-abortion-choice since that would be accurate.

          Do not assume that because I may disagree with your conclusions that I do not understand the difference between commentary and research. It is a logical flaw that does not necessarily equate to reality. Because someone disagrees with your analysis that “Guttmacher is much more meticulous and objective” does not mean they do not understand the difference. Having read much of the science on this in the past I can tell you that there are many biased articles on both sides and all of those can be discarded. The two worst offending groups are the fundamentalist christians and Guttmacher. Both push the data where they want it to go: The former by misinterpreting or overemphasizing data, the latter by “estimating” to excess and by cherry-picking data. I wish I could say that I didn’t understand where your extreme position on this arises but, sadly, I have seen it too many times from extremists on both sides to not have a basic understanding.

          What about my response was asinine? The part that was a direct quote from the site you linked? Pregnancy = a child. Unless you are willing to stand on a child sometimes being a disease in and of itself then you should soften that stance somewhat. Here, more direct quotes:

          “The anti-choice position that “pregnancy is not a disease” implies that healthcare is about treating illness, but of course health is much more than simply the absence of sickness or injury, it’s about achieving a state that benefits a person and helps them get the most value out of their life. [snipped] But women are not baby-making machines; they are far more than that. Besides, a woman with an unwanted pregnancy is not in a healthy place, either physically or mentally. Her body is out of her control, and she’s in a distressed state.

          If anti-choicers think pregnancy is not a disease, then they should be consistent and oppose funded reproductive healthcare for all pregnant women, including any medical assistance in childbirth. Of course, this is absurd, but it effectively shows how the “choice” rhetoric is being inappropriately exploited in this context by anti-choicers to marginalize the medical necessity of abortion. Bearing children should not be constructed as a voluntary choice, as if it’s a frivolous activity like a hobby, because in order to survive and prosper, societies need most women to reproduce. This makes it essential for societies to protect women’s rights and ensure they have the supports they need to bear children when they are ready. That means providing access and funding for a wide range of reproductive health services, including abortion, in order to avoid the negative health and social consequences of forced motherhood and unwanted children. The opposite tactic of oppressing women and trying to force them into reproductive slavery simply does not work. It is also profoundly immoral and a serious violation of human rights.”

          You state that “in order to survive and prosper societies need most women to reproduce” and yet advocate that it is ok to stop that after it has already begun. This is a confusing stance: it is necessary that we bear children as a society but you can kill the child if you choose.

          And to inject my own opinion, I find your assertion that “the value of a pregnancy is entirely subjective and entirely up to the individual woman” to be utterly appalling. A child is a complete innocent and deserving of nothing but love and care. To say that it is permissible for ANYBODY to kill a child that they find “bad” or poorly timed is horrible in my opinion. The value of a pregnancy (and therefore the value of a child) must absolutely NOT be subjective because down that path lies the subjectivity of the value of ANY human life, which is the abhorrent path that has been taken by various regimes in the past (see Godwins law) and always ends in disaster. Perhaps 50 million children killed in the womb is enough to sate the never ending thirst for material goods that infects society today?

          Perhaps I should just say that how you view the anti-abortion advocates is precisely how I view the pro-abortion advocates, with the added horror of the murder of a child thrown in for good measure. I am not going to ask you to revisit your stance on this but I will ask you to stop for a moment and look at how you view us, and try to realize the fact that we view you in almost the same way.

          I see Dr. Koch’s research as being of higher quality than the Guttmacher institute because it is primarily statistics, analysis and moderate conclusions (I think saying “it does not seem to affect” XYZ is pretty moderate) while the Guttmacher institute includes FAR too many “estimates”, propaganda and assumptions. When your assumed conclusion is based on estimated numbers then that conclusion lacks weight.

          • Reluctant Liberal

            I would like to suggest the term “pro-birth.” Large swaths of the pro-life movement are unconcerned about war, drone strikes, or the death penalty, so pro-life is not acceptable to many on the other side. But “anti-choice” allows one side to frame the debate. “Pro-birth” seems to me to be accurate while refraining from being derogatory.

            Any thoughts about this?

          • Geoff_Fides

            I think that “pro-birth” would be a very good compromise.

            I also share your concern at the apparent disregard for unjust war, drones and torture that is present in so many pro-life advocates. All of these are issues directly related to life, yet they often pass by the wayside…

          • Kristen in DAllas

            You are commenting on a primarily Catholic website, not a republican-propaganda one. Those of us who follow church teaching are quite opposed to unjust war, drone strikes, and the death penalty as well as killing the innocent in the womb. So pro-life is entirely appropriate. If you notice a r-winger who has expressed pro-death views related to any of the other topics you mentioned calling himself pro-life, my all means point out the hypocracy. But I don’t think it’s fair to assume all pro-lifers using the term hypocritically before asking their oppinions on those other life issues.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            I’m fine with anti-choice. I’m not fine with pro-birth.

            Why? because I’m against the choice to murder for other reasons. I’m against euthanasia. I’m against suicide. I’m against murder. I’m against the death penalty. I’m against the choice to go to war, I’m against the choice of the President to meet with shadowy people every Tuesday to decide who they will kill that week with drone strikes.

            Perfectly fine with anti-choice though. I’m very much against the choice to sin.

          • NoDiggity

            If God gave us the choice to sin, who the hell are you to want to take it away?

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Given that sin is the abuse of free will, what makes you think that the purpose of free will is murdering people?

          • NoDiggity

            Like I said before – you are not the judge. You are not the designated one to restrict anyone’s free will so fuck off :)

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Jacob Tyler Roberts must be a hero to you, after all, he used his free will to kill people just like every pro-choicer does

          • NoDiggity

            As opposed to the pro “life” people who don’t give a damn if the mother lives or not, as long as they save a fetus? Hahahaha… Thanks for that laugh.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            I care, but why would you? One less mother on “overpopulated earth” is a good thing to those who hate human beings like you do. Unlimited freedom, hedonism, means you cannot object to me using my freedom to make you a slave..

          • NoDiggity

            Good luck on that one buddy :)

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Just pointing out the primary implication of free will hedonism- no opposition to sin is just might makes right. There is no difference between Stalin and Planned Parenthood; if a woman is free to kill her fetus then I should be equally free to murder you. No judgement is complete freedom to hurt others.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          I would argue that the person who gets fat and dies early is much healthier by your standards, then, than the person who spends several hours a week in the gym and starves themselves. After all, the fat person got a lot more “value” out of their life.

      • Arbe

        I don’t mean to sidetrack the argument here, but that whole fundamental principal of logic is strange to me. I mean it’s a fairly easy point to prove with a basic concept like a rock, but in a larger thing their are far more lights to see things in.

        Actually, here’s one. Stick with the rock. Now imagine that rock glows under UV light (work with me here). Someone might say “this is a glowing rock” Someone who isn’t seeing it under UV light would say “No. it is just a rock”

        Neither is wrong. It both is, and isn’t a glowing rock, depending on how you look at it.

        This is arguably an easier (and by extension more common) phenomenon encountered in a large abstract issue, such as saaay abortion arguments.
        So not that I necessarily agree that pregnancy is a disease and isn’t a disease, I won’t be so naive as to think it’s not possible.

        Also sincerely, with the same intent,

        Arbe

        • Geoff_Fides

          That is the first cogent argument I have ever encountered re: the principle of non-contradiction.

          To address it, however, is simple for people more intelligent than I am, but I will still give it a go.

          The fundamental “stuff” of the above example is “rock” (what philosophers would call the “substance”) while glowing or not is a property of the rock (what philosophy refers to as “accidents”). The substance exists per se, but without the substance the accidents do not exist. In a similar and slightly better known example, take snow. The substance would be called “snow” while the accidents would be “white”. There are lots and lots of layers in even simple philosophical/logical discussions that can rabbit-trail almost to infinity and I lack the expertise to give it anything approaching a fair explanation.

          In reference to the child (the cause and result of a pregnancy) it is easy to show that it is a human being (regardless of starfish zygote since they are a different species) and almost everybody agrees that human beings have a certain intrinsic value. Also children are the most vulnerable and innocent members of the species and almost everybody would agree that we have a duty to protect the vulnerable and innocent. Which is the briefest possible explanation of this I can muster.

    • Geoff Scholl

      Also, Guttmacher is a horrible organization to cite. The organization founded by Planned Parenthood, that grew fat on their funding in its youth and only legally separated when their was a general derision of their papers due to blatant bias. It is the same as me citing Lila Rose. Both have incredible biases in what they report and in what they research. Go with major journals if you want scientific studies in the future.

      • Anon

        Ah yes, the genetic fallacy.

  • JethroElfman

    Great article. Since you and Libby agree on so much, it’s a shame that you are on opposite sides. You both talk of how the focus should not be on the law, but on caring for women, reduction of poverty, improvement of health care. In that regard, I looked up healthcare in Chile, and found that they have fully socialized medicine. No wonder the death rate from back-alley abortions is so low.

    You seem to care a lot about women when they are pregnant. How about some words about the attention, care, and respect that goes into treating and aiding women while raising their children? You are arguing with her statistics, then agreeing with her conclusions. Why does the pro-life movement fight so strongly against encouragement of birth control? I look forward to your future articles, particularly the one explaining how the un-implanted zygote is the equivalent of a baby when the woman’s body is 18% likely to let it be flushed away.

    • Kristen inDallas

      “particularly the one explaining how the un-implanted zygote is the equivalent of a baby when the woman’s body is 18% likely to let it be flushed away.”
      I imagine it’ll be about as easy as explaining how an 80 year old man on life support is still a human even though over 18% of all 80 year old men on life support die of natural causes… A human is a human, regarless of how dependent or precarious it’s possibility of survival.

      • Arbe

        If being a human zygote makes you a human then why isn’t a starfish zygote a human? I think there is a point where you can draw a line. Potential does not necessarily=reality.

        • ColdFusion

          A starfish zygote is a starfish. It is a complete organism with all the DNA it needs to be a unique living starfish. It does not have the “potential” to be a grown-up human, just as a human zygote does not have the “potential” to be a grown-up starfish. It simply is what it is.

          • NoDiggity

            A potential human is not a human, as much as an 80 year old is not treated as a corpse simply because he, potentially, will be one.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      “. How about some words about the attention, care, and respect that goes into treating and aiding women while raising their children? ”

      Isn’t that what marriage is for? And why sex, done right, takes between 18-25 years?

      • Monimonika

        Marriage is not a cure-all. Marriage does not automatically grant a couple the financial means to care for a child (much less for multiple children). Marriage between some man with some woman does not automatically guarantee that they will treat each other right, or even that they would treat children right. Some marriages fail to last or are too abusive to continue.
        Are you going to advocate that poor single mothers should be left with no assistance other than to be told to hunt down and marry some man for that man’s money? Are you willing to help out by marrying some random woman and caring for her children?

        • TheodoreSeeber

          I have. I am married. You are correct that the modern marriage is no guarantee, but the only guarantee with abortion is genocide.

          Divorce is the reason; marriage should be a acionable contract according to the vows. But of course, post feminist men ar whimps. Unable to do what is right instead of whatever they want.

          • Joan

            this is bs. sometimes you just don’t make enough money to have more kids.

          • tedseeber

            In the richest country in the world- that is just greed. I knew a man who raised 14 kids on less than $30,000/year. My sister-in-law and her husband are raising 3 on under $17,000/year.

            All you need for that is good money management.

            But that takes actual love of children instead of bigotry and hatred of the next generation. Which is apparently all the pro-abortion side has.

          • Joan

            i have great money management skills and raised a child at age 18 and put myself thru college. knowing how hard that is, i don’t want to do it again. unless there are government programs in place to help fund people’s breeding habits, like Section 8 housing, SNAP food stamps, bus passes, etc., you can’t make people have kids they can’t afford. i know how expensive it is, because i’ve done it. it’s not greed when i can now afford to pay for my kid’s hockey, or buy a roast once in a while so we have protein in our diets. trust me, scavenging through the various charities and thrift shops is a ton of work and very hard to do when you don’t have a car and the bus costs $1.50 per trip. plus if you have a job or 2 or have school and other obligations, you don’t have time to sift through crap in thrift stores. you are at work bagging people’s groceries. would you re-distribute rich people’s money they throw away on dumb junk like Audis and Hummers and private schools and use that money to save every child in america to give them a great life, so these poor and unwanted kids are able to afford baseball cleats and piano lessons too? in the absence of a policy where a family gets a paid year off and other socially funded benefits like food, housing, spending money, etc., and their husbands have access to free prostitutes to avoid their wives getting pregnant (see the 1700s or anytime prior in all cultures), it is totally unfair to not use the technology we have to make life better for all of us, not just women, but our men and already out in the world kids as well.

  • Micaela

    Great work, Marc. I just love how Koch’s (a supposed pro-lifer) conclusions, based on actual data are suspect, while Guttmacher’s (an ACTUAL pro-choice institution) conclusions based on estimates and projections are much more reliable to pro-choicers. It literally boggles the mind how people can be so blind.

  • Sarah

    Thank you.

  • Patrick

    It’s amazing that you can dismiss the Guttmacher Institute out of hand for having an affiliation to Planned Parenthood, while failing to mention that Dr. Kloch is a professor at a Catholic university. Of course, I’m sure he’s not biased in any way. After all, the Catholic Church has always had a very objective stance when it comes to abortion.

    • Patrick

      Correction: Dr. Koch.

    • Tom

      First of all, one doesn’t have to be Catholic or even agree with Catholic teaching to teach at a Catholic university.

      Secondly, just because someone is Catholic doesn’t mean they can’t be objective when performing scientific research about abortion, contraception, or anything.

      Third, the funding for Dr. Koch’s research study was funded by a research grant from the University of North Carolina Center for Women’s Health Research, a secular institution.

      Fourth, the mission of the Guttmacher Institute, from their own website is as follows: “The Guttmacher Institute advances sexual and reproductive health and rights…The Institute’s overarching goal is to ensure the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health for all people worldwide.” Seems completely objective, don’t you think? Marc doesn’t so much dismiss them because of an affiliation with PP, which has been terminated, but moreso because the whole goal of Guttmacher is to promote “reproductive health and rights”, or, in other words, abortion and contraception. How can an organization who’s own self-declared mission it is to advance abortion and contraception be completely objective when researching those things?

      • NoDiggity

        “Reproductive Health and Rights”
        includes but is not limited to:
        Natal Care (pre, post)
        Well Patient visits (pap smears, cancer screening, disease testing, medication management)
        Contraception
        Abortion
        Assisted reproduction technology
        Pregnancy risk management
        Birth options and consequences
        Fertility testing

        You belittle Guttmacher with a claim to ‘know’ that “Reproductive Health” includes only the two things you consider evil. This makes you appear ignorant as a whole.

  • Oubli

    Maternal Mortality Falls In Bangladesh Largely As A Result Of Safer Abortion And Better Emergency Care
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/85329.php

    Review of a Study by Koch et al. on the Impact of Abortion Restrictions on Maternal Mortality in Chile

    The authors rely on a far too narrow, unreliable evidence base: The authors state that they are using “empirical evidence” as a basis for their claims regarding the
    incidence of abortion and abortion-related mortality in Chile. However, their exclusive reliance on Chile’s vital registration system to assess the incidence and
    consequences of abortion in a setting where the procedure is highly restricted—and therefore largely clandestine—is a critical methodological weakness.

    To properly understand the impact of a clandestine practice, it is necessary to probe much further. A body of research using data sources such as surveys of
    women and surveys of health professionals has been developed, peer reviewed and published in scientific journals in recent decades specifically to address the
    severe limitations of registration systems in measuring the incidence and consequences of unsafe abortion.

    Abortion as a cause of death is often misreported or underreported in countries where the procedure is illegal under all or most circumstances. In Chile, women
    who suffer complications after undergoing unsafe abortions are highly unlikely to admit to these actions given possible criminal sanctions (including prison
    sentences for having obtained abortions). For the same reason, many women may not seek medical help for abortion-related complications. Likewise, physicians
    treating women for postabortion complications may misreport (or not report at all) deaths and injuries from unsafe abortion to protect their patients from criminal
    sanctions.
    http://www.guttmacher.org/media/evidencecheck/2012/05/23/Guttmacher-Advisory.2012.05.23.pdf

  • beriggs

    I see no need to push for contraception, at least in the US. Contraception is available in many places for reasonable cost right now. If such ever present contraception is already within reach of the majority of people, why on earth are there still over a million abortions performed in our country every year. How is more contraception supposed to reduce this? I have asked women who are pregnant out of wedlock, women planning abortions and women who have given birth in all sorts of bad circumstances why they didn’t use contraception. Most of them simply did not have an answer.
    This problem is not the availability of contraception or abortion. It is the problem of the sinfulness of the human heart, and the need for profound conversion of all of us. If our Church concentrated on making true heartfelt disciples of Jesus of all its members, who in turn were real enough to attract others to the faith, we would see reduction of these problems. A woman in our city constantly publishes “trust women” letters in our newspaper. I will trust women when they no longer have a propensity for sin.

    • Joan

      bingo. our country was founded on the separation of church and state so you can put lots of energy into converting us sexy sinful ladies into nuns or whatever. but it is not ok to force us with government power to convert to anything or change our behavior in any way. you can pray for us to stop having sex (but then what would you think about?) or stand on the street corner yelling, but it is not ok to impose your views about how to control women to other women who have different beliefs than you do!

      as i stated before, the anti-abortion stance is a relatively new one in human history. it was only the victorians who thought there was something wrong with it and sought to end the practice and giving us all something to debate about in 2012! go join a monastery, dude – no lady bits around to distract you into sin.

  • http://www.namelessministries.com/ Starbuck

    “Read their discourse if you like the closest thing the sociological research world has to rap battles.” Haha, you kill me. Keep up the good work, Marc!

  • Zombie

    No, if the pro-birth advocates want to waive its banner criminalizing abortion, they should stop fighting taxes and push the same governments to create programs and programs to assist mothers and the children that would be born. Otherwise, they’re damnable hypocrites and a failed Church: of course, they won’t and so they are. For a prosecutor’s view of what criminalizing abortion would mean, see http://thedeadauthorsclub.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/fetal-personhood-and-criminalizing-abortion-a-prosecutors-perspective/

  • Arbe

    Someone may have already pointed out the obivous problem with the above argument. The abortion related death rate had been steadily falling for a good 20 years before an abortion law influenced it.
    And on that note, I am sure people were rushing to report their illegal abortions once the ban went into effect. This is a good example of misinterpreting statistics for one’s own ends.
    People always try to make this argument more complex than it needs to be by smoke and mirroring with studies and statistics like these as if they were actual directly correlating data. As if you could actually use those sweeping types of data to really correlate anything specifically.

  • Thatdbesweet

    Marc, do you want to write my paper on abortion for me? Cause i think you’d do a much better job then me

  • Dave

    Marc,

    Great work! I honestly don’t know how you do what you do and have the time to do it! Always impressed and moved! Keep up the good work!

    Could you do a response to the zygote/miscarriage part of Libby Anne’s article?

  • Joe

    No duh it decreased from the 50s to the 2000′s. It’s called technological advancement. Marc seems left out that 12% of maternal deaths in Chile are from unsafe abortions. Sometimes these deaths are not even counted as the cause of unsafe abortions due to infections that may affect the mother.

    I don’t like abortion either but omitting the FACTS is not the way to stop abortion.

    • Geoff_Fides

      Man, if it isn’t reported as an abortion related death where do you get the 12% stat? That sounds like a guess and will be treated as such until you can prove it.

  • NoDiggity

    You almost have it correct. Let me edit for you.

    “If the anti-choice movement wishes to wave the pro-woman banner, they
    should stop banning abortion on demand around the world and start giving
    alms to the poor, helping the sick, influencing the culture, establishing life-giving medical centers and working to destroy those motivations towards controlling others that shame and judge women. The anti-choice movement are right about absolutely nothing, and really ought just mind their own business. Truth requires a deeper look.”

    And the truth? You don’t get to decide what women can and cannot do with their own bodies. Bodily autonomy is the first and foremost fundamental human right. :) Bye now.

  • IgtheistMorgan

    Hogwash!

  • Monica Williams

    Does anybody else out there think Libby Anne’s story is fishy?

  • Gresu

    It is difficult to get the correct numbers on the mothers who die as a result of the butchers in abortion clinics. LifeDynamics.org provides the shocking proof of the numbers and many names. Also see this mother aged 18 who never got to see her 19th birthday. See the pictures of what a botched abortion does.
    http://safeandlegal.com/
    These killing clinics are not regulared by health authorities nor are they inspected. LifeDynamics.org reports on the horrific conditions mothers are exposed to in this surgery and the inexperienced workers who are allowed to perform the dastardly deeds.

  • Alison Christine Smith

    Wiki Dr. Priscilla Coleman (the denmark study gal) She’s largely considered a hack publishing occurrences which no one else can reproduce. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priscilla_K._Coleman

    Also, that Chilean article has been widely criticized for methodology.

  • JamesSquared

    To be perfectly honest, Anne has quotes that could certainly seem biased. Marc points them out and uses different quotes that could also seem equally biased. I don’t know. It just seems like two people using the wrong type of knowledge to win a battle. I think the real issue is that pregnancy is a risky thing, no matter what. (No, I’m not going to use quotes, because they seem only to cause more trouble than help) Abortions can be regrettable:yes. Having a child despite poor living situations can be regrettable: yes. Having a child no matter what your living arrangements are can be regrettable: YES! What I’m trying to say is, that if you find yourself with a decision of having a child, or not having a child, no matter how that child came into this world, there are risks involved in the after affects of the decision. In my opinion, and you are welcome to disagree, it just seems fairer to the “potential” child without a voice, that s/he be allowed to judge that risk. In a sense, pro-life people are pro-choice, but pro the baby’s choice, that’s all. Sure, there are countless stories where sons and daughters of rape victims wonder why their moms didn’t abort them. But there are also stories of sons and daughters of rape victims who thank their moms for not having abortions. This is all despite how wealthy the parents were. The beauty of life is in the eye of the beholder, and money does not make for beauty. Can you tell the difference between the next homeless man and the next Bill Gates from the age of a fetus? Even if you could, could you tell who was happier? And even if you could, is it your decision to make, whether they should live the life that is given to them? Just some thoughts…


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