Unraveling Bad Pro-Life Thinking

Unraveling Bad Pro-Life Thinking April 25, 2016

Illegal abortion pro-life pro-choiceGreg Koukl and Alan Shlemon of the Stand to Reason podcast recently responded to an issue raised in the U.S. Republican campaign, “Does Pro-life Logic Mean Women Who Get Abortions Should Be Punished?

Here’s how they outline the dilemma for pro-life Christians. Christians declare that abortion is murder, but you can’t have a crime without the appropriate punishment. Both the abortion provider and the woman herself should be severely punished—this is murder, after all.

On the other hand, that paints Christians as callous and unfeeling, so maybe we shouldn’t impose a harsh penalty on the woman. Or maybe any penalty at all. But in that case, what happened to the “abortion = murder” claim? Was that just hyperbole? Does the Christian carrying the sign know that abortion isn’t really murder? If it’s just a little harmless exaggeration to make a point, how compelling is the pro-life case?

Though the boys tried mightily to extricate the average Christian from the punish-her-or-not dilemma, none of their attempts eliminated the problem.

Attempt 1: suicide analogy

If only the labeling of the crime (which the pro-lifers want) could be detached from the associated punishment (which they don’t want). They point to a recent article that gives an analogy they’d like to follow. From that article:

Until the late 1960s, suicide was illegal in the United States. Of course the successful suicide cannot be prosecuted. Still, given that the great majority of suicide attempts are unsuccessful, we could in principle prosecute large numbers of people for unjustified attempts on their own innocent lives. Why don’t we do this?

We don’t now because attempted suicide has been decriminalized. But in the 1960s, in some states it was a misdemeanor or even a felony. That is, it was a crime with a punishment. (Is there any other kind?)

Public opinion has since softened. The article continues:

In general, it doesn’t seem either prudent or constructive [to punish suicide attempts]. Suicidal people typically aren’t a public safety risk. Anyone who wants to end his own life probably needs support and care.

The parallel is that women who have abortions are also not public safety risks, which allows Christians to sidestep punishing those women.

What actually happened was that the hypocrisy of toothless laws against suicide led to it being decriminalized. Does the pro-life movement want to simply repeat that blunder and criminalize abortion with no threat of punishment? Is this just hyperbole, or is abortion actually murder? If so, demand the appropriate punishment.

This parallels the problem with many Christian anti-gay arguments. They point to the Bible to argue that homosexuality is wrong (it doesn’t say that—see here and here), but then they refuse to bring along the Old Testament’s punishment. With both abortion and homosexuality, there can be no crime without a punishment.

Attempt 2: drug use analogy

Drug use is another parallel. The drug user is the pregnant woman, and the drug dealer is the abortion provider. Punish only the latter, Koukl says.

The analogy argues that drug users only hurt themselves, like the person attempting suicide. Drug users do hurt society if their habit drives them to crime—robbery or burglary, for example—but of course when they commit those crimes, they get the regular punishment. When a woman asks for and then consumes a chemical abortifacient (the preferred approach up to about two months of gestation), she should logically receive the punishment due any crime she committed.

As with suicide, the trends aren’t going where Koukl wants them to. Attempted suicide was criminalized; now it’s not. Drug use was criminalized, but that’s being reduced. Crimes are punished consistently; it’s just that some things are no longer crimes. Koukl wants the unbalanced situation where abortion is a crime … without punishment for the central participant.

Attempt 3: fetal homicide laws

Koukl notes that 38 U.S. states have fetal homicide laws in place. These laws apply to “fetuses killed by violent acts against pregnant women.” There you go—killing a fetus is homicide.

There’s just one point that must be emphasized. It’s a small point. Indeed, it’s so trivial that I hesitate to muddy the water by mentioning it, but it must be made clear: sometimes the pregnant woman very much wants to keep the pregnancy and sometimes she very much doesn’t! These are two completely different situations, and fetal homicide laws are meant to protect the woman and fetus in the first situation only. For our discussion, this is a red herring.

Read the other posts in this series:

If men struggle and strike a woman with child
so that she has a miscarriage,
yet there is no further injury,
he shall be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him,
and he shall pay as the judges decide.
— Exodus 21:22–3

Image credit: Anna Levinzon, flickr, CC

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  • Who am I

    From a policy perspective the situation is difficult. What should be done isn’t easily answered. I don’t think that takes away from the moral argument itself.

    • Philmonomer

      I don’t think that takes away from the moral argument itself.

      I think it does. If you don’t believe murderers should be punished, then we can ask at a fundamental level, Is it murder?

      • Who am I

        The fundamental moral question is indeed fundamental to the policy question that follows on its heels. If it’s not the moral crime of murder, is it a moral crime of some other kind? If there is no moral crime of any kind then don’t change the policy.

        • Philmonomer

          The fundamental moral question is indeed fundamental to the policy question that follows on its heels.

          Ok.

          If it’s not the moral crime of murder, is it a moral crime of some other kind?

          I’ve never heard a pro-lifer argue that it is some kind of crime, just not murder. Do you know of that argument anywhere?

          If there is no moral crime of any kind then don’t change the policy.

          Even more complicated, we can think it a “moral” crime, but think that it should still be legal.

        • Who am I

          I think the reason pro-life people argue that it is murder is because we’ve been exposed to murder for a long time and have a pretty good grasp of it.

          Additionally, some of the reasons given to exclude abortion from being murder lead to another kind of policy dilemma. Some of those reasons, when applied to other criminal situations, mean we are now punishing people without just cause. Should we let these people go and/or change the policy? There are dilemmas on both sides of the abortion debate, not just on the pro-life side.

        • Philmonomer

          I think the reason pro-life people argue that it is murder is because
          we’ve been exposed to murder for a long time and have a pretty good
          grasp of it.

          Is that the only reason?
          Do you think it actually isn’t murder?
          If so, what is it?

          Additionally, some of the reasons given to exclude abortion from being murder lead to another kind of policy dilemma.

          Such as?

          Some of those reasons, when applied to other criminal situations, mean we are now punishing people without just cause. Should we let these people go and/or change the policy?

          I’m not sure what this is referring to.

          There are dilemmas on both sides of the abortion debate, not just on the pro-life side.

          Possibly, but unless you spell this out, I’m not sure what you are talking about. In this regard, it doesn’t make any sense to say “both sides have dilemmas”–therefore, what?

        • Who am I

          I do think it’s murder by the definition of killing an innocent human being.

          Some of the reasons for it not being murder include what Greg G said above as well as other reasons. If the reasoning justifies the killing then it puts society in a situation where other crimes, now illegal, are justified on the basis of the same reasoning. That is the dilemma the pro-choice side has to deal with when its arguments succeed.

        • Greg G.

          If an unwelcome intruder enters your house to steal your TV, many states allow you to kill them. You can kill someone if you say your thought you were threatened. (At least one of those states might imprison you if you fire a warning shot to scare them, though.)

        • Who am I

          I’m specifically talking about pregnancies that are wanted, then later not wanted.

        • Greg G.

          Who am I’s replay:

          I’m specifically talking about pregnancies that are wanted, then later not wanted.

          A person may become smarter and decide the invitation was a bad idea. Perhaps it is a case of finding out the intended father has a history of leaving the baby mama a little too late. What you think is fine for you but you should not try to impose it on someone else in the situation, especially since it is nothing but a hypothetical for you.

        • Greg G.

          If a person was to follow another person everywhere including into their home and even into the shower uninvited, the follower would be wrong. If the follower was stealing nutrients from the blood of the person and replacing them with toxic waste against the will of the person, the person would have every right to prevent that from happening. If this sequence of events presented a threat to the person’s life, the person would have every right to end the relationship, even if it resulted in the death of the other.

          The person should have every right to end that arrangement, whether or not the follower is a person, but if it doesn’t have a brain capable of self-awareness, it cannot be considered a person nor does murder belong in the conversation.

        • Who am I

          Many abortions involve invited followers that later become uninvited. They are unable to leave.

          Suppose I invite you into my house and provide no means for you to leave once inside. I later kill you because I decide you are uninvited and are stealing my nutrients and air conditioning and leaving your toxic waste in the bathroom. Do I have the right to end the relationship this way?

        • Herald Newman

          How exactly did the fetus get invited into the mother?

          If you want to remedy the problem with “not being able to leave”, go invent a technology to transfer pregnancies to other people. I would hope you, and every other conservative fuckwit, would take on one of the pregnancies every chance you get. Of course, you wouldn’t though.

        • Who am I

          I was specifically talking about pregnancies that were wanted. It got invited by the normal methods.

          One remedy would be to give the fetus the time needed to get out rather than insist that you have to kill it right now. Yes, that involves a level of personal sacrifice, but considering the mother invited it in knowing there was no way out, I think she should take responsibility for her decision.

        • Greg G.

          You would have the right to evict me when you decided you could no longer support me. If I happened to be so brain dead that I could not live independently, it would not be your responsibility. If society could not support me, then I would die.

          Do you think you should be obligated to care for me for six months while I release hormones into you to force you to love me, then hope society will take me off your hands if you survive the extraction?

        • Who am I

          I do think I am obligated to care for you since I invited you in knowing that you cannot leave without dying.

        • Greg G.

          Remember that you might develop long-term problems and even die from it. What level of risk would you be willing to take?

        • Who am I

          I’m obligated to accept the risk I think. I knew there was no turning back when I invited you in. The alternative, it seems, is to opt out of my obligation for whatever personal reason I have for opting out. There might be a circumstance that would justify me doing that but I’m not seeing any.

  • RichardSRussell

    Stop and consider everything that’s entailed for a woman to give birth to a baby.

    It starts off with having to pee all the time, occasionally involuntarily. Then her breasts get swollen and achy. Morning sickness kicks in next, as she pukes her guts out every day for a couple of months. That’s at one end. At the other, she gets to deal with uncomfortable constipation and painful hemorrhoids. Her libido nosedives. She waddles as she walks, and the backaches which will soon become a constant presence kick in. Leg cramps? Yup, those too. Tired all the time because she can’t sleep comfortably and she has to carry a heavy load wherever she goes. Ankles and feet swell up. Varicose veins. Random gut punches from within. Everything hurts.

    This all concludes with the grand finale, a multi-hour process in which the most sensitive part of her body is slowly ripped asunder by a bowling ball being shoved relentlessly thru a tiny opening in her flesh, and it doesn’t stop no matter how loud or how long she screams. This part is invariably excruciating, sometimes crippling, and occasionally fatal.

    Yes, many a woman signs up to do this voluntarily, as is her perfect right, since it’s her own body. But suppose a woman would (understandably) rather not have to endure such prolonged pain and misery. The anti-abortion religiots want to force her to do it anyway.

    Let’s pull no punches here. If this 9-month program of heartless torture were being committed by a cruel military dictatorship on a helpless captive, we’d have them up on war-crimes charges in The Hague as soon as we were able to bring them to justice. Anti-abortionists are no better than medieval torturers, and arguably worse, because they’re so arrogantly smug and self-righteous about the horrors they gleefully impose on their unwilling victims.

    • RoverSerton

      Wow, you paint an incredible verbal picture, well done!

      • Leloi

        And it’s accurate. And that’s an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery. Now just imagine a complicated delivery that nearly kills you or they have to cut you open. Uncontrollable bleeding, vagina fistula, preeclampsia, breech…

        • RoverSerton

          Actually, I believe abortion should be available UNTIL mandatory living donation is there for anyone that needs your organ to keep living. You match a person that needs a kidney or liver (partial donation works) and you don’t have a choice. You MUST give to save a life. If you are willing to save a life at some risk of your own, I’ll agree to limit abortion. My life, my choice.

        • Leloi

          The weirdest argument I have ever seen for pro-life is that childbirth is “natural” and as easy as taking a dump. Yeah… They were completely oblivious that childbirth actually used to kill a lot of women when it was done without medical intervention. As recently as 100 years ago many women died. They tried to portray this potentially deadly process as something harmless and easy. You shouldn’t force people to put their life in danger… And portraying it as something easy and harmless is really messed up. I’m pretty sure the person who argued with me never experienced childbirth first hand and had no clue.

          As an aside… Even with pain killers it is the most intense pain imaginable. I curse our bipedal ancestors and our big heads for making it so difficult to endure.

        • RoverSerton

          current rate: 14/100,000. Agreed!!!! I was with my wife for both our sons births, painful and long. Risk your life for another, fine. but not forced.

          My son was hit by a car while riding his bike (wearing a helmet) and had a sub dermal hematoma (sp). We had already decided for organ donation if needed.

          Life is short, be nice to people, do what is best. Don’t be a dick. Easy life rules. Life truly begins when you mind your own business.

        • TheNuszAbides

          had a sub dermal hematoma (sp)

          assuming the helmet was contextually crucial: *subdural. subdermal is literally ‘below skin’ and generally just an ‘upgrade’ of a bruise.

        • I’m pretty sure the person who argued with me never experienced childbirth first hand and had no clue.

          This guy is on board:
          http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/crossexamined/files/2014/01/Atheists-and-Christians-blog.jpg

          I heard a Carol Burnett suggestion for how men can appreciate the pain of childbirth. Grab your lower lip … and pull it over your head.

        • David B. Appleton

          That was from a Bill Cosby routine.

        • Yes, it was. I thought the Carol Burnett source was more palatable than the Bill Cosby messenger.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’ve heard that migraines and trigeminal neuralgia can reach a higher ‘pain rating’, but eventually realized that this is an utterly trivial distinction in light of the lack of emergent infant life-forms (and the wide variety of other physical manifestations that entails) during the vast majority of migraines. furthermore, neither migraines nor neuralgia are nearly as ‘optional’ as pregnancy, but neither is labor in the case of a [hopefully-]planned pregnancy.

        • RoverSerton

          an upvote from wtfwjtd! I wonder if that is from wwjtd guy. I really appreciate his blog! If you don’t know it, check it out.

        • Greg G.

          They are not the same person but they have met, IIRC.

    • Even Stay

      Does this thinking apply after birth? Raising a child is torturous and cruel for the woman who is unwilling to care for it.

  • Robert, not Bob

    Aren’t the arguments against punishing the women who seek abortions just PR, a sort of rhetorical tactical retreat? Whenever they have the power to, they do punish the women.

  • KarlUdy

    The concept of offering mercy and forgiveness to those who break the law is central to Christianity.

    In light of this, I find your characterization of the desire of pro-life Christians to criminalize abortion but not punish mothers as a dilemma or inconsistent.

    As far as I can understand, pro-life Christians would see a mother who has an abortion as being in the wrong, but also understand that many mothers are in an extremely difficult situation and have few, if any, good options.

    Most law systems also recognize that those who profit from these situations are guilty of a greater wrong than those who use their services. Hence drug dealers do a greater wrong than drug users, and human traffickers a greater wrong than illegal immigrants. In many of these cases, a good case can be made as well for amnesty for those using the services. In the same way, the idea of mercy or amnesty for women who have abortions is not that different to other situations where people break the law because their situations have caused them to become desperate.

    • So then a woman who gets an abortion committed no crime?

      • KarlUdy

        Well, that entirely depends on the law at the time and place.

        What I am saying is that it can make sense in light of a wider context of mercy towards those in invidious situations that in times and places where abortion is illegal, women who have abortions may not be punished for it.

        • I don’t care about the law; I asked you for your opinion.

        • KarlUdy

          My opinion on whether it *should* be a crime? Because whether it *is* a crime or not is not a matter of my opinion.

        • Are you coy for some reason?

          A woman gets an abortion. Should that be a crime?

        • KarlUdy

          I would be in favour of criminalizing those who provide abortions but in most cases, not the women who have them.

        • T-Paine

          Really? Not even as “accessories to murder”?

        • T-Paine beat me to it. The woman seems analogous to at least the wife who pays for her husband to be murdered … at least by pro-life logic.

          Sounds like a crime worthy of punishment to me.

        • KarlUdy

          In my understanding, most abortions are reluctant, and the pregnancy would be welcome if circumstances were different.

        • Michael Neville

          In my understanding, most abortions are reluctant

          Reality does not agree with your understanding.

          According to a new study that tracked hundreds of women who had abortions, more than 95 percent of participants reported that ending a pregnancy was the right decision for them. Feelings of relief outweighed any negative emotions, even three years after the procedure.

        • KarlUdy

          What you are showing is reported feelings after an abortion, not motivation leading up to an abortion. You also take no account of contingencies which may cause a women to think differently, ie If x then I would not have an abortion.

          I don’t know any data about such contingencies, but I think it would be interesting, and I suspect that many women would choose to carry the pregnancy to term if their situation was different.

        • Michael Neville

          So you didn’t read the website I linked to. Why am I not surprised? Unlike what you forced-birthers pretend, the vast majority of women who get abortions decide that’s what they want and afterwards do not regret having one.

          As for “if their situation were different” the obvious response is “if your aunt had balls she’d be your uncle.” If I were a Brazilian multimillionaire or a poor Somali farmer then I would be living a completely different life than I do as a middle-class American. Your “different situation” is a non sequitur.

        • KarlUdy

          So you didn’t read the website I linked to.

          Where did you get this baseless accusation from?

          I’d be interested in any research on the number of abortions that were had by women who prior to becoming pregnant had the attitude of “If I get pregnant, I’ll just get an abortion”

          When I say I think most abortions are reluctant, I mean that I don’t think this is the most common attitude.

        • Michael Neville

          I got that accusation from your comment:

          What you are showing is reported feelings after an abortion, not motivation leading up to an abortion.

          Since the post I linked to talked about decisions to have an abortion.

        • Greg G.

          I put my life savings into a business venture in Rio de Janeiro and now I have a hundred Brazilian dollars.

        • Rudy R

          I suspect that many women would choose to carry the pregnancy to term if their situation was different.

          You don’t have data about such contingencies, but suspect it’s the case? Sounds like the definition of faith.

        • But Christians are doing their best to make women regret their decision with their shaming signs.

          I read a recent article that argued that the signs in front of abortion clinics forced some women to illegal abortion facilities like those of Kermit Gosnell. (I’m not sure if that’s exactly what the pro-lifers were going for.)

        • KarlUdy

          What do mean when you describe Kermit Gosnell’s practices as “illegal abortion clinics”?

          They were legally licensed for abortions. However their practices were disgusting and they had no regard for the law, good medical practice or for care of the women or infants.

        • I mean that they were performing illegal procedures there.

          You’re right that the clinics were licensed.

        • Gosnell is not the result of legal abortion laws. If you want to make more Gosnells, you make abortion illegal. Making abortions illegal doesn’t stop abortions, it only stops SAFE abortions.
          The things that lower the number of abortions are free or inexpensive contraceptives, comprehensive sexual education from a young enough age, and empowering and providing women with opportunity and financial security pre- and post-pregnancy.
          “Pro-life” activists generally disagree with free or inexpensive contraceptives and comprehensive sexual education of school students, and they generally also disagree with the ways that civil society can assist young or expectant mothers.

        • Pro-life activists are more properly sex-control activists.

        • Well, more appropriately female and LGBT sex control activists. They don’t care about men having sex, but as soon as a woman has some kind of sexual interest or an LGBT person does, they go all nuts.

        • Helpful clarification. Luckily, that approach is consistent with the Old Testament. Men could screw pretty much whoever they wanted (except another man’s woman).

        • TheNuszAbides

          and King David got off easy. (*ahem*)

        • KarlUdy

          Gosnell occurred in a context where abortion was legal but not adequately monitored by the authorities. What his clinics were doing was abhorrent regardless of abortion laws.

          If abortion was illegal it does not mean that there would be no more Gosnells. Maybe they would operate in a blackmarket environment.

          However, making abortion legal evidently did not mean that women now no longer had dangerous abortions. Gosnell shows us that legalising abortion did not make it safe for women who wanted an abortion.

        • EllenPain

          Is he saying that a recluctant abortion is not planned?

        • Michael Neville

          I never try to guess what the forced-birthers are saying since it changes depending on how the argument is going.

        • T-Paine

          Is it also in your understanding, that many accessories to murder are reluctant, and that their non-involvement in the crime would be welcome if circumstances were different?

        • KarlUdy

          I have no idea about that. But I do know that in cases such as battered woman syndrome, courts will sometimes take account of stresses and pressures that limit a person’s ability to see other possible options.

          As an aside, it is interesting that some atheists here almost seem to want pro-life Christians to approve punishment of women who have abortions. Why?

        • it is interesting that some atheists here almost seem to want pro-life Christians to approve punishment of women who have abortions. Why?

          Because it is such a crazy destination that it might help wake up some Christians about their nonsensical stance. Is abortion murder? Seriously? Then you have no option but to charge those complicit in the abortion with murder!

          What’s that? You say that you don’t want the punishment that goes along with murder? Then maybe you should reconsider your “abortion = murder” stance.

        • KarlUdy

          Oh, so it’s about combating bad rhetoric with worse rhetoric

        • Otto

          I would say it is about combating bad reasoning.

        • Let me know if you want to respond to what I actually said.

        • Rudy R

          Many Christians believe that aborting a fetus is equivalent to murdering a fetus. This is not rhetoric, but a statement of fact. Do you hold that position? If not, then why not?

        • KarlUdy

          I think there are two possible avenues for arguing that abortion is not murder even while holding on to the personhood of a fetus (at least from the woman’s point of view).

          One would be to draw on the contested view of the personhood of the fetus in current society. It may be possible to argue that the women honestly believed the fetus to not be a person and therefore did not deliberately act in a way that they knew would likely cause the death of a person. The biggest problem with this is that an analogy could be drawn to race-based killings where the killer denies the personhood of the victim because of a racist denial of personhood to other races. We would not accept such an argument from a neo-Nazi or a white supremacist. Would it be acceptable in the case of abortion? I don’t know. It would probably require someone with much more legal knowledge than me to decide, but I wonder if something like the “obviousness” of personhood for a born human vs a fetus may constitute a defence. I don’t know.

          The other avenue would be to argue diminished responsibility on the part of the woman. I’m not completely familiar with the situation in US law, but in my country a woman must have a medical reason to be referred for an abortion, and the most common reason given is something along the lines of psychological harm. If there is a genuine concern for psychological harm for the woman if the pregnancy goes ahead, then I think there is a good case for diminished responsibility in her actions in seeking an abortion.

        • Rudy R

          If the woman honestly believed the fetus was a person and/or had no diminished responsibility or psychological harms, would the abortion be considered murder?

        • KarlUdy

          What do you say? If a person acts to ensure the death of someone they believe to be a person (and who the law recognizes as a person) and they are in possession of undiminished moral and volitional capacity, would you consider their actions murder?

        • Rudy R

          That’s my question to you.

        • TheNuszAbides

          he’s probably ready to call it ‘sin’ when among allies, but he seems a mite uncomfortable with the secular dance.

        • Susan

          it is interesting that some atheists here almost seem to want pro-life Christians to approve punishment of women who have abortions.

          Depriving women of medically safe abortions is punishment and there is no good reason for it.

          “Abortion is murder.” is the claim but punishing doctors and not women who seek out those doctors is inconsistent with the claim of “murder”.

        • T-Paine

          As an aside, it is interesting that some atheists here almost seem to
          want pro-life Christians to approve punishment of women who have
          abortions. Why?

          If pro-Life Christians assert that abortion is murder, why not? Do you agree or disagree that abortion is murder?

        • Anat

          Because we want them to confront the meaning of what they are saying and implying.

        • (1) That surprises me. The abortions due to finding some abnormality in the fetus or having some catastrophic change in life circumstances (boyfriend/husband leaves) would be in this category. Far larger IMO would be those that on day 1 are unwanted.

          (2) I don’t see how that changes the issue. But if you’d prefer, just respond for those women who don’t want to be pregnant–maybe they didn’t use contraception or it didn’t work. Why should they be let off the hook for being an accessory to murder?

        • KarlUdy

          1) What I’m talking about is circumstances ie If I didn’t have to give up my studies, if my family would support me, if my boyfriend/husband wasn’t abusive/alcoholic/ a drug addict, etc.

          2) For the same reason that I support the Swedish approach to prostitution. When there is a social ill, the best approach is to punish those in a position of power, not the powerless. My observation is that in prostitution pimps and johns are in positions of power whereas prostitutes very rarely are, and that in abortion the power generally lies with abortion providers, not the women having abortions.

        • (1) yes, I get it. Why you think that exceeds women who simply don’t want a baby right now, I can’t imagine. But if you have stats, show them to me. Your position sounds very unlikely.

          (2) When I go to a prostitute, was someone murdered? No? Then I guess it doesn’t compare. Sex work is (ideally) a victimless crime. No one is hurt; it’s just that some people get in a twist about moral concerns (no sex outside of marriage and all that).

          But you say that with abortion, someone does get hurt. Killed, in fact. And this isn’t a mouse or a dog; it’s a baby with every right to live as Karl or Bob or any adult.

          See the problem with that analogy?

        • KarlUdy

          1) From the Guttmacher Institute https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-united-states

          The reasons women give for having an abortion underscore their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life. Three-fourths of women cite concern for or responsibility to other individuals; three-fourths say they cannot afford a child; three-fourths say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents; and half say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.

          2) I would classify prostitutes as victims in regard to prostitution. You can start with the extremely clear-cut cases who are victims of sex trafficking. You can then move on to those who are kept in a dependent relationship by pimps through drugs, threats, coercion, etc. And then you can move on to those who see that they have no other choice and would find another way to make money if they could. These are all clearly victims. Take these categories out and you are left with a small minority.

        • (1) Yeah, I get it. Women who get abortions have reasons for getting abortions. This doesn’t address your claim.

          Someone who regrettably aborts because of a found abnormality is very different from someone who knows on day 1 that she is not mother material–she’s in school, she can’t afford a baby (or another baby), etc.

          (2) Why are prostitutes victims? Remove the crime element, and they’re workers just like any other kind of workers. Sometimes they like their work, sometimes they don’t, etc.

          Sex trafficking? Now you’re changing the subject. You said, ” I support the Swedish approach to prostitution,” remember?

        • KarlUdy

          1) Bear in mind the actual reasons given eg can’t afford a child, trouble with partner. These indicate that if they were not already in difficult circumstances they would welcome a pregnancy, which was my point.

          2) Because most prostitutes don’t want to have sex for money – they are either forced to, or feel they have no other option.

          Have a read of this. There are statistics here to back up this point: http://www.soroptimist.org/trafficking/prostitution_faq.html

        • It sounds like you’re eager to talk about lots of things except whatever you initially brought up.

          (1) And this is the point where we just go round and round continuously. You said, “In my understanding, most abortions are reluctant, and the pregnancy would be welcome if circumstances were different.” And yet it sounds like we agree that for most women who opt for an abortion, they knew they wanted to not be pregnant the instant they learned they were pregnant.

          It sounds like you’ll say that that’s exactly what you were saying all along. Uh huh.

          (2) Then explain the Swedish approach to prostitution. And get back on topic: your analogy that prostitutes in a society where prostitution is legal would be like women who get abortions.

        • KarlUdy

          It sounds like you’re eager to talk about lots of things except whatever you initially brought up.

          I have been sticking to what I brought up – that I believe the best approach to women who have abortions is one of mercy given the context that they are often acting out of a (real or perceived) lack of power.

          1)

          And yet it sounds like we agree that for most women who opt for an abortion, they knew they wanted to not be pregnant the instant they learned they were pregnant.

          Not necessarily. A partner may pressure a woman into an abortion. Their partner may have left them since they became pregnant. There are many scenarios where a woman may feel that abortion is a last resort.
          2) Prosecute pimps and johns. Offer welfare services to prostitutes. Exactly the same principle. Prosecute those in power, show mercy to the powerless.

        • T-Paine

          Forget your red herring about prostitution. We’re talking about abortion equating to murder.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i hear that human trafficking extends to migrant labor in some necks of the globe. clearly we should at least lightly criminalize labor …

        • Venavis

          —-Take these categories out and you are left with a small minority.—-

          As a former sex worker I can tell you with some certainty – no, you really aren’t.

          —And then you can move on to those who see that they have no other choice and would find another way to make money if they could.—

          Do the same with all other professions as well, and you’ll see similar if not worse results. Think anyone really wants to scrub toilets for a living?

        • I don’t know much about the lives and work of sex workers. You’re saying that most stay in it voluntarily? Is that true only in the West?

        • Venavis

          I was a sex worker voluntarily, so were the vast majority of the sex workers I interacted with. A lot of folks say things like ‘well, you needed money so it wasn’t voluntary’, but isn’t that true of all jobs? Frankly, I found being in the military far more dehumanizing than being a sex worker.

          The majority of trafficking is in things like the hospitality, food, and garment industries. Sex trafficking is a small percentage of human trafficking. And frankly, the absolute best weapon against sex trafficking would be to legalize sex work, because if sex workers could come forward with what they know without fear, abusive pimps and Johns would be reported all over the place.

        • Yes, legalizing and regulating sex work sounds like a good move to me.

          Perhaps Europe will be a model. I know it’s legal in the Netherlands.

        • BTW, do you read Greta Christina? She’s written about sex workers’ rights as well as atheism.

          https://the-orbit.net/greta/2011/10/19/sex-work-and-the-power-of-choice/

        • Venavis

          Yes, I do, and I interact with a lot of other sex workers via twitter. We are actively campaigning to get sex work legalized and ensure the civil and human rights of sex workers are recognized.

        • I’ve been surprised at how quickly things are changing with pot legalization. Perhaps we’ll have similar surprises in the area of sex work.

        • MNb

          The best approach is prevention. In the case of abortion that means preventing undesired pregnancies. Do you advocate measures that work in that respect? Like good sex ed? Easily available contraceptives?

        • KarlUdy

          I agree. The best approach is prevention. I agree with the provision of good sex ed. We may differ exactly what good sex ed is (although I agree that abstinence is the best way to avoid pregnancy, STDs etc the reality than many young people will have sex regardless means that abstinence only is a misguided approach in dealing with unwanted pregnancies), but I think we can agree that unfortunately too many young people get their sex ed from Hollywood, porn on the internet, and half-truths and bragging from their peers. I also agree with easily available contraceptives.

        • TheNuszAbides

          but I think we can agree that unfortunately too many young people get their sex ed from Hollywood, porn on the internet, and half-truths and bragging from their peers.

          but can we agree on how this relates to the availability and quality of sex ed in public/mandatory schooling?

        • lady_black

          Bullshit.

        • Anat

          That doesn’t make it ‘reluctant’. If I had ever become pregnant at a time other than when I was actively trying to conceive I would have had an abortion with no reluctance whatsoever. Yet when I wanted to I did go on and have a child. The reason for me to not want a child at other times had little if anything to do with social ills.

        • KarlUdy

          Have you ever considered that your experience might not be that of most women having abortions?

        • Anat

          Have you considered that your definition of ‘reluctant’ is useless? Any person chooses to do something because that’s what they want would have chosen to do something else if that other thing had been what they wanted. That doesn’t make them ‘reluctant’.

          A woman who chooses to have an abortion because she is at school (or at a critical time in her career path, or about to move to a new place) might not choose an abortion if her life were at a different place – regardless of social support systems. She just might think that having a baby is not her top priority at the moment.

          A woman might think she is not mature enough or not stable enough or not prepared enough to have a child may have an abortion with no reluctance, knowing that when she decides she is ready she will go ahead and have a child.

        • lady_black

          No, as a matter of fact, most abortions are NOT “reluctant.” Most abortions are because for whatever reason, the woman doesn’t want to be pregnant. Either right at that moment, or ever.
          That being said, I’m sure any given woman who has an abortion would sooner be doing anything else with her time or money that day, but that isn’t quite the same thing as saying under different circumstances she would “welcome” a pregnancy. I had my tubes tied at age 26 after three pregnancies, because I didn’t want four pregnancies, and regardless of circumstances, had it failed, I would be at an abortion clinic faster than you could say “regret.”
          So someone has given you bad information, sir.

        • Susan

          I would be in favour of criminalizing those who provide abortions but in most cases, not the women who have them.

          So, women have many good reasons to get abortions but don’t have a right to safe abortions.

          So, you criminalize medical providers of abortion and condemn women to back alleys and coat hangers.

        • KarlUdy

          Should we criminalize human traffickers? Many of those who seek illegal entry into countries do so out of desperation, and are often at no fault for their circumstances.

          I see the situations as analogous. Abortion providers and human traffickers both profit from people in desperate situations.

        • Susan

          Abortion providers and human traffickers both profit from people in desperate situations.

          Back-alley abortionists and human traffickers both profit from people in desperate situations.

          So, doctors who perform medically safe abortions are in it for the money? You’re serious? It wouldn’t occur to you that they see the need for medically trained personnel to take responsibility for performing safe abortions? That their lives can be difficult? That their own safety is in peril? That they could make much better money if they chose to go into plastic surgery, for instance?

          Henry Morgentaler is one example. I consider him a hero who saved many lives, placing his own in peril and willing to go to jail because of his moral position.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Morgentaler

          It’s worth a read but if you don’t bother to read the article, here’s an excerpt:

          For a time he was able to refer the women to two other doctors who did abortions, but they became unavailable. There was no one to whom he could send them, and some of them were ending up in the emergency department after amateur abortions. He has said that he felt like a coward for sending them away and that he was shirking his responsibility. Eventually, in spite of the risks to himself—loss of career, prison for years or for life—he decided to perform abortions and, at the same time, challenge the law. He knew from other doctors and from newspaper reports that women in Montreal had died from incompetent abortion. He knew that the women were determined to get abortions in spite of the danger to their health and lives. He knew that he could prevent those unnecessary deaths. And so he determined to use civil disobedience to change the law.

          Medically trained abortion providers are not human traffickers.

        • KarlUdy

          I’m sure someone could write a story painting the captains of the boats ferrying refugees from Turkey to Greek islands as a sympathetic hero as well.

        • Susan

          If you’d like to compare Henry Morgentaler to a person who doesn’t care about human life, you’ll have to show your work.

          Otherwise, it’s just a cheap attempt at a classless and (so far) inaccurate analogy.

          I expect better from you somehow, Karl. I’m starting to wonder why.

          Read the article. If you won’t address moral arguments that differ from your own, then I give up.

          You would like to accuse medical providers of safe abortions of nefarious motives without justification.

          Not exactly an honest move.

        • KarlUdy

          Are the motives of vigilantes nefarious? Maybe. Or maybe just a wrongheaded response to a strong sense of justice.

          Do the ship captains ferrying refugees from Turkey to Greece care nothing for the refugees? Maybe. Maybe they just want them out of their country. Maybe they live only for filthy lucre. Maybe they think they’re really helping these people get a chance at a better life.

          Doesn’t make it right in any case. And in the case of doctors providing abortions, I’m confident they can be held to account for their actions.

        • Susan

          Your analogy is not working. Please get back to the subject.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “”I’m confident they can be held to account for their actions.”

          Their actions are exactly what the women came to them for. Can a pregnant woman choose to discontinue her pregnancy and do so without anyone adding threats to her health or does someone get to be her slave master and tell her no? There is no human right to other people’s bodies at any stage in life.

        • TheNuszAbides

          that’s an amusing insinuation, coming from a man trying to build a case on the hypothetical thought processes of an unknown number of unknown women.

        • Rudy R

          To be consistent, you would be in favor of punishing women who self-abort their fetus. You would punish the abortionist, whether it is the doctor or mother.

        • TheNuszAbides

          neither is whether it’s a sin.
          (if my predictions are accurate, this is about to get so meta it hurts.)

        • lady_black

          The law (in the United States) currently says that abortion is legal, and even when it wasn’t legal, it was never “murder.”

    • adam

      “The concept of offering mercy and forgiveness to those who break the law is central to Christianity.”

    • LinCA

      In a discussion about wrongs it is crucial to establish what is, and what isn’t wrong.

      From a standpoint of bodily autonomy, abortion isn’t wrong. A fetus is using the body of the woman. That use, any use, must be conditional on consent from the woman. Aborting an unwanted pregnancy is really no different from stopping rape.

      Since abortion clearly isn’t wrong, criminalizing it must be.

      • KarlUdy

        How dare a fetus do such a thing! Surely it could have chosen to be conceived in the body of a woman who wanted to give birth to them.

        • LinCA

          Doesn’t matter if it had a choice. It’s a parasite. It has no right to use the host body.

        • Hans-Richard Grümm

          But bringing a zygote into existence by conception is an *improvement* of its situation, isn’t it ? It is difficult to see how it could create rights to occupy the body of an actual person.
          Besides, self-defense is also allowed against attacks without intention, like those by sleepwalkers.

        • adam

          ” Surely it could have chosen to be conceived in the body of a woman who wanted to give birth to them.”

          With ‘god’s’ Free Will that would be the case.

      • TheNuszAbides

        really no different from stopping rape.

        well, apart from the fact that rape is committed by actual persons.

        • LinCA

          Of course, there are limitations to any analogy.

        • TheNuszAbides

          of course … i only made note because (a) “really no different” is a much stronger suggestion than a mere analogy and (b) repeatedly distinguishing personhood keeps the anti-choicers’ feet to the fire.

        • LinCA

          i only made note because (a) “really no different” is a much stronger suggestion than a mere analogy

          If “really no different” is read in isolation from the paragraph it’s in, you would have a point, but I don’t think that’s reasonable to read it ion isolation, nor was that my intention.

          When taken as a whole, “From a standpoint of bodily autonomy, abortion isn’t wrong. A fetus is using the body of the woman. That use, any use, must be conditional on consent from the woman. Aborting an unwanted pregnancy is really no different from stopping rape.”, I think it’s clear that the analogy is with respect to the bodily autonomy, and not the perpetrator of the offense.

          (b) repeatedly distinguishing personhood keeps the anti-choicers’ feet to the fire.

          How do you figure? It seems to me that it doesn’t make much of a difference. There are already plenty of efforts to grant a fetus personhood status. I don’t think pointing out that they aren’t isn’t likely to change their minds. They’ll likely see it as a justification for getting it that status.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i wasn’t suggesting that the violators (parasite and rapist) were the analogs (one of the reasons i separated my (a) and (b)), just that only one of them can realistically (or relevantly) be said to have a choice and ‘know better’ (or at least have a societal obligation to know better). that was a separate observation from questioning the “really no” phrasing–i just thought of them both at roughly the same time.

          how do you figure?

          it gives the lie to “innocent human being”. “innocent parasite” is trivially accurate, but isn’t terribly coherent (and of course the anthropocentrists among them resist even a shadow of a thought experiment in that direction).
          and of course the vast majority of any movement is not reading or hearing words like mine and having their minds changed! perhaps you and i have different concepts of the implications of “feet to the fire” …

    • Dannorth

      How do you apply this concept to crimes like theft and assault?

      Conservatives, who are the majority of the pro-life mouvement, usually don’t go for the merciful approach.

      • KarlUdy

        I know the US has a huge problem with incarceration. My view is that when crimes have been committed, where possible reparation should be made, and prison is a solution that works best for those who are a danger to others. Beyond that, the best solution is to help those who commit crimes to achieve a fully functional role in society without resorting to crime.

    • lady_black

      Then what is the point of criminalizing abortion? There is nothing about our legal system that mandates that everything one can do that’s “wrong” must be classified as a crime. There are LOTS of things people can legally do that people think are “wrong.”
      But when you classify something as a CRIME, what you are saying is that the person who does this action is not only “wrong” but has committed a wrong against the entire state, and is deserving of punishment. You don’t get to *have* your cake, and eat it too.

      • KarlUdy

        I did state earlier that I think those who perform abortions should be criminalised but women who have them should not. I do think those women are in the wrong (but I can sympathise with the situations that lead them to make such decisions), but I don’t agree with criminalizing them.

        • lady_black

          Nice dodge. Now answer the question.

        • KarlUdy

          You mean this question:

          Then what is the point of criminalizing abortion?

          Abortion kills innocent people

        • lady_black

          People. You guys keep using that word. It doesn’t mean what you think it means.
          Person is a legal construct that requires a legal identity, separate from that of any other person. In other words, personhood attaches at birth. And even then, personhood comes with zero rights to use someone else’s body without consent. We have a word for those who do that.

        • KarlUdy

          On a philosophical level your comment is nonsense. Although “person” is a legal term, it is not only a legal term, and has a valid meaning outside of the law.

          On a legal level, your argument still does not hold as according to the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, a fetus can be a victim (and thus a person?)

        • lady_black

          Person is unfortunately for you, not a “philosophical term” as used in the law. We ARE talking about the law, right? So what it means outside the law is a red herring.
          The thing about the Unborn Victims of Violence Act is that it provides an *aggravating circumstance* to a murder charge. You can look into that on your own time. It NEVER applies to an abortion. And what you said is the reason I oppose such laws. It gets people all confused.

        • KarlUdy

          At a legal level you may well be right. Although the Unborn Victims of Violence Act does make it not clear cut. A fetus can be a victim? But not a person? How?

          However, as you no doubt know, just because the law defines something in a certain way, does not mean it is right and true. Were slaves transported across the Atlantic persons? Legally they were not, but I’m sure we agree that in this case, the law was an ass.

        • Hans-Richard Grümm

          Many cruelty to animals laws regard mammals as victims, too. And an “Unborn Victims of Violence” act can be regarded as punishing a violation of the reproductive rights of the pregnant woman.

        • Susan

          On a philosophical level, your comment is nonsense.

          OK. You’d like to talk philosophy but make a statement like this?

          Abortion kills innocent people

          Good luck with winning over the philosophical community with that one.

          it is not only a legal term, and has a valid meaning outside the law

          Do you mean “valid” as in technically valid in philosophical terms? Or just street talk “valid”?

          “Person” has many meanings in philosophy and is a terribly difficult subject. Declaring something without a brain “an innocent person” without showing your work does not go over very well in philosophy class.

        • KarlUdy

          Susan, you would benefit from discovering my position. I actually hold abortion in the first few weeks to be a grey area morally. The fact that identical twins are separate people means that I do not subscribe to “personhood at fertilization”. However, once the central nervous system has begun to form, there is a very good case to consider the fetus a person. (This is where I would be most inclined to draw the line.) Certainly in my mind, once the fetus becomes viable, it must be considered a person.

        • Susan

          Susan, you would benefit from discovering my position.

          Absolutely. As you’ve only referred to “abortion” as far as I’m aware, and that doctors who perform medically safe procedures as criminally culpable while the women who seek them out are innocent victims, then I could only respond to those statements.

          I actually hold abortion in the first few weeks to be a grey area morally.

          How so?

          once the central nervous system has begun to form, there is a very good case to consider the fetus a person.

          Then, you’ll have to make it. Terms like “innocent people” and (sigh, capitalizing it doesn’t make your case stronger) “Unborn Victims” give me the impression that you think you can claim a case without having to make one.

          So much easier to speak that language and pretend that doctors who provide health care to women are only in it for the money.

          You have to make the case for each of those positions.

        • KarlUdy

          Susan,

          You need to learn to read in context. Unborn victims is capitalized because it is part of the title of a legal act – The Unborn Victims of Violence Act. If it were not part of a title I would not capitalize it (*sigh, capitalizing titles gets interpreted as a rhetorical device here now*)

          My reference to abortion killing innocent people was a direct response to a demand that I “answer the question”, “What is the point of criminalizing abortion?”

          A strange demand when I have been arguing the case for not criminalizing women who have abortions. I’m sorry if I disappointed you by not saying “abortion is murder”. I know it must be very difficult when you’ve all come prepared to argue against people who say that.

        • Susan

          Unborn victims is capitalized because it is part of the title of a legal act – The Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

          I apologize. You are correct. That is the only context in which you capitalized it.

          You need to read for context.

          We all do. Now, if you’d address the rest of the comment, not just the parenthetical error, I’d feel confident that we are both making efforts to read for context.

          My reference to abortion killing innocent people was a direct response to a demand that I “answer the question”, “What is the point of criminalizing abortion?”

          But it’s only a good response if you can make the case. I understand that if one could make the case that abortion kills innocent people, then one could make the case to criminalize abortion. But it’s an if so far.

          A strange demand when I have been arguing the case for not criminalizing women who have abortions

          Not very well. The reality is that if an abortion means one is killing an “innocent person”, then women are culpable for hiring a professional hit man.

          A woman who seeks an abortion would then be criminally culpable.
          Nice of you to argue against their incarceration. You don’t seem to be worried about the long-term health consequences of unregulated abortionists. Lots of women die. Lots and lots of women used to die. If they were lucky, they only suffered long-term health consequences.

          The same goes for pregnancy and childbirth.

        • KarlUdy

          You don’t seem to be worried about the long-term health consequences of unregulated abortionists.

          I want people like that punished.

          Just as a query though – you say lots of women will die – how many do you think would die if abortion were made illegal in the US?

          As to making the case. Do you agree to abortion post-viability?

  • Rudy R

    Another argument to extricate the average Christian from the punish-her-or-not dilemma, is that women are victims to the abortionists. The reason being, is that they’re not more aware of what’s going on than the doctor, that they would not know what the law says about the particular practice or the service that they’re receiving and that they don’t know all the medical details about the unborn that they’re killing. If anyone should be punished, it should be doctors who perform abortions, because they are more culpable. The problem with this argument is that women can self-abort their fetus’, without outside interference and assistance and can be just as educated and knowledgeable as the doctors performing the procedure.

    • And ignorance of the law is no excuse.

      I agree that your example of self-aborting (by simply taking Plan B) puts the decision totally on the woman’s shoulders. And then back to the pro-lifer squirming under the weight of the uncomfortable question, “Is abortion murder or not?”

      • lady_black

        Plan B doesn’t cause an abortion, and a pregnant woman who takes one will be just as pregnant as she was before she took it. That’s a myth.
        Plan B is a synthetic progesterone, which would have the actual effect of helping to maintain a pregnancy where natural progesterone levels were too low.
        You must be thinking of RU486.

    • lady_black

      Of course. Wimmens are stupid and lack agency. I think that’s even MORE offensive than saying women should be punished if abortion were a crime. And the crime wouldn’t necessarily be “murder” as it never has been.

  • What happened with suicide is our understanding of it changed. Now we think of suicide as something tragic and preventable, caused often by mental illness. In the past it was seen as self-murder, pure and simple. That’s why it was punished. Not only attempts, either. So how do you punish a corpse? Symbolically. Suicides were denied Christian burial, dragged through the streets then hanged or whatever the usual punishment for murder was, and the person’s property was seized (giving relatives an incentive to cover up a suicide so they could keep it, along with also avoiding the shame). This analogy is a huge failure.

    • lady_black

      You can’t really punish a corpse, no matter what you do with it. It was an excuse for taking what didn’t belong to them.

      • True, they thought God did the punishing. It’s really punishing the next of kin and trying to deter others through public stigma. For some perhaps it was just an excuse to take property. In any case they did punish attempted suicide, even with death once upon a time (how ironic).

  • James Chapman

    It may be worth mentioning here that the folks who buy into the “abortion = murder” formula almost always believe that zygotes (fertilized ova) are persons. So knowingly destroying a zygote would also be murder under their beliefs. Thus fertility doctors and women who use their services are also murderers. Further, under the (mistaken) belief that some contraceptives act as abortifacients, women who use such means of birth control are potentially murderers, along with the doctors that prescribe them.

    • lady_black

      A pox on all their houses. What they really mean is “women’s bodies are by default, abortive” due to the fact that most zygotes never develop into babies.
      That’s an inconvenient fact that means more zygotes and blastocysts die inside women who DON’T use hormonal contraceptives than in those who do. The primary mode of effectiveness is the suppression of ovulation and thickening of cervical mucus so no zygote is created.

  • Korou

    Looking forward to parts 2 and 3! 🙂

    • Turns out that it’s a 5-parter now. Part 2 comes out right now, and Part 3 on Friday should be especially interesting–it was very interesting for me to research, anyway.

  • 90Lew90

    To me, this leads into some of the more interesting areas of legal and political philosophy, particularly on the subject of self-ownership. I wonder if pro-lifers who want abortion to be designated as murder, but with little or no punishment, ever consider that such a situation would under the rule of law lead to appeals by actual murderers to precedents set in cases against doctors, and/or women who carry out abortions. It would be a boon for lawyers and an absolute disaster for justice. “Yes, Your Honour, I cut him open and sucked his guts out with an industrial vacuum, but I refer you to the case of Dr So-and-So who got away with a fine for doing just that…”. Abortion is premeditated. Precedent must be either followed or appealed all the way to the top. Do these people ever consider that? Daft!

  • lady_black

    You would be surprised at the number of people I’ve had to correct when they insist that suicide IS still a crime (usually in the context of an abortion discussion). They actually believe that suicide is still a crime, but we don’t punish people who attempt suicide (and you CAN’T punish those who are successful).
    That type of wrong thinking (or outright ignorance of the law) allows them to mentally class abortion as a crime equal to murder, but there’s no punishment for women who get one.
    Actually, even when abortion was criminalized, it was never part of the statutes on homicide. It was still just abortion. When you ask them to take a guess as to why that’s true, most of them clam up immediately. I think it’s because at some level, they know it’s a really indefensible argument.

    • A murder-like crime with no punishment? That’s a weird situation that they never consider.

      we don’t punish people who attempt suicide (and you CAN’T punish those who are successful).

      Actually they could and did. Successful suicides had their bodies abused in public, their estates seized, and so on. Relatives and doctors who knew the truth would have to cover it up.

      • lady_black

        What I think about “having my body abused” after death: Yawwwwwn. It’s going straight to cremation after any needed organs or tissues are removed. Perhaps even total body donation to a medical school. I haven’t yet made my mind up, but cremation is a definite.
        There will be no viewing, no embalming, no funeral and no gravesite. Throw a party in my honor if you want, and talk about how I made you laugh. Donate money to a no-kill animal shelter in my honor. Give a donation to Planned Parenthood in my memory. Do ANYTHING but waste money tarting up my body so you can pretend I’m not dead.

        • Michael Neville

          After my body is stripped for spare parts (give my knees to the needy*) I want whatever’s left to be cremated and the ashes scattered at sea.

          *A line shamelessly stolen from John Prine.

        • lady_black

          That’s EXACTLY what I want. I just haven’t decided whether “parts” or “entire body.”

        • Greg G.

          I left my body to science but science is contesting the will.
          –Rodney Dangerfield

        • Agreed, but centuries ago people saw it as a genuine punishment.

  • Dannorth

    IIRC fetal homocide laws were opposed by some because of the fear their challenge in court would be used to promote fetus personhood.

  • TheNuszAbides

    Crimes are punished consistently;

    wow, did you really need to smuggle that whopper in? 😉 (sorry–i know it’s tangential and essentially irrelevant to the usual religious matter.)