Is “it” a baby?

Is “it” a baby? August 25, 2013


Is it a “fetus,” or is “it” a Person?


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95 responses to “Is “it” a baby?”

  1. Late term abortion is barbaric and extremely messy. So, the government shouldn’t allow it. That is the pro-life argument. The choice as to whether to go through with a pregnancy and birth should not be taken away from the woman. That is the pro-choice argument.

    Women can decide for themselves if, despite its barbarism and messiness, they want to go through with an abortion. It is their choice all the way.

  2. IMO, there is no reason to wait so long that an abortion is “late term”. Women should decide in the first 12 weeks—-no chance of viability. There are rare cases where a fetus or the mother’s health is in danger and requires delivery. Deliver and save the fetus if possible. I understand that a 12 week limit seems to be restrictive to some. The women I knew who chose to terminate did it well within 12 weeks. Women have a choice—-whether to get pregnant or not (unless rape/incest occurs) so also have a choice whether to continue a pregnancy or not—even in the cases of rape or incest.

  3. Yes it is. Where I fault the Pro_life movement is that too often it only addresses the abortion question from the supply side. We need to be more comprehensive and address the demand side as well. Free or low cost contraception, comprehensive sex education are two policy side things we can do to decrease the demand for abortions. We also need to address cultural attitudes towards sex and morals, but that is a much more complex issue.

  4. I think there is a real question about the notion of ‘choice’. When I get into a car I understand and take on all the risks and responsibilities of that activity. When a man and woman choose to have sex shouldn’t they understand that no matter how many precautions are taken pregnancy is always a possibility?

    I’m glad we agree on late term abortion, I pray there is a growing understanding.

  5. “Insanity is doing again what you have done before in the expectation of having a different result.” Free or low cost contraception?? What, in God’s name, do you think has been available to all women in the last sixty-five years? NO WOMAN in the developed world is so poor as not to be able to afford a course of Pills. But the point is that to encourage people to think of fertility as a disposable good has encouraged them to think of babies as a disposable good. That is human nature, it has not changed in sixty-five years and it will not change in the future either.

  6. Well, yes. I can also decide whether to rip your head off your neck or to shove a kitchen knife twenty inches into your guts or to drive a car at you with my foot flat on the accellerator all the way. It is my choice. It was the choice of those three champions of choice a few days back to murder Christopher Lane to relieve their boredom. Murder is always your choice.

  7. To the Catholic Church, it is never “permissible” to kill an innocent human being. If you are asking when I find it to be permissible, in addition to abortion, I would include cases of euthanasia where a person wants to die or is in a state of severe mental incapacity and is being kept alive against the wishes of next of kin. I know that’s what you were looking for and I am happy to accommodate you.

  8. Are you kididng me? Contraception is all over the place and it’s either free or cheaper than breakfest. All schools have comprehensive sex ed as early as junior high now. The more contraception we hand out, the more abortions there seems to be. The more sex we teach the more it seems splattered all over our TVs and movies. Give me a break. Who doesn’t know about sex today?

  9. What does viability have anything to do with abortions? Either you support killing an unborn or not but viability is a meanless. A born full term child cannot viably live on its own either. Someone has to nourish it.

  10. Oddly enough I agree. If we did that in the rare cases where health was in danger, very soon medical technology would advance to the point of the 12 week pregnancy being viable.

  11. The biggest thing we could do to reduce the demand for abortions, would be to actively teach chastity. Not abstinence, but chastity.

    It is time to stop lying about sex- babies are caused by sex. Contraception doesn’t work.

  12. Most contraception is already free or low cost. The methods most affected, for example, by the HHS mandate are the expensive surgical procedures like IUDs and sterilizations. Condoms and most versions of “the pill” are readily available at a cost comparable to beer or cigarettes.

    “Comprehensive sex education” often seems to be a code phrase for a campaign to support children’s sexual activity. By normalizing sexual activity at a young age and outside the context of marriage, and by doing so without the direct involvement of the children’s parents, such a campaign takes sides in a cultural debate – whether it means to or not.

    That said, I’ve never met a Catholic who wasn’t in favor of teaching the latest science about the biology of human sexual organs and activity. Most are even in favor of teaching the science of how contraceptive methods work: barrier, hormone, spermicide, and other methods. But we really do want it to be based in science, rather than ideology; and we want it to be truly comprehensive, including the full reproductive activity of these parts of our bodies, and the full process of pregnancy and birth. And teaching how things work, teaching science, does not mean teaching how to do it yourself: how to put on a condom or how to get birth control pills. These go beyond education into advertising.

    Finally, yes, cultural attitudes toward sex are very complex. That’s why we’re having a culture-wide debate over it. It’s a debate well worth having, and I hope we’re all open to following reason and science as well as emotion and ideology.

  13. The examples you are giving are criminal acts. As well they should be. Abortion within the allowed gestation period is not a crime. It is a sin for a practicing Catholic, but that does not make it a crime, as much as you would like all sins to be crimes as well.

  14. I’m glad we agree on late term also. Yes, when a couple has sex, there is always the possibility of pregnancy, even with contraception, unless one or the other has opted for surgery to prevent such. Life is full of choices—and that is one of many. 🙂 .

  15. Viability has a lot to do with it. Mother Nature usually ends a pregnancy early on—and it happens often. No chance of viability, even She knows that. True, a full term child requires care to live, goes without saying—.but at 12 weeks or less?. Not happening even WITH some sort of care. Not enough development has taken place. Women have a choice—in this country anyhow—to be mothers or not. However, as I have already stated—make up one’s mind within 12 weeks. Easier now since the test can be done much sooner that the “old days” when one had to wait for a missed period. I don’t consider 12 weeks or less killing.

  16. It has been a crime for most of western history. You mistake one of the more disgusting modern innovations with the tradition of criminal justice since more or less ever. (And not only of criminal justice. The Hippocratic Oath forbids four things – abortion, euthanasia, breaches of patent confidentiality, and patient-doctor relationships. No wonder it is no longer in use, but it was for most of the history of medicine, and well before Christianity.)

  17. Sex Ed is nowhere near as comprehensive as you assume,mand there are direct correlations to teen pregnancy rate and education. Many kids for instance assume that two condoms work better than one, which actually increases the chance of breakage.

  18. Excellent response that I can find little or no fault. However availability and education are not as cheap and universal as you think. Countries that have free or low cost contraception have significantly lower abortion rates. As far as normalizing early sexual activity I think the education system is responding to the culture, not driving it. We teach sex Ed at earlier ages not to encourage it, but to deal with it. I have no problem teaching sexual facts,mi am less likely to want to teach morals to children, that is a parent’s job. I am a teacher and I respect education, but teaching my daughter about when to have sex is my job.

  19. Statistics are statistics, and everyone I can find points to the fact that countries that have free or low cost birth control have a much lower abortion rate. France has roily half to one fourth of the US.

  20. Assuming that these stats are correct, this argument is a logical and statistical fallacy. You are claiming a relationship — an going one step further to say that you know what the relationship is, based on a correlation.

    I’m too busy to talk about this now. But there are plenty of readers here who can take it up and explain it to you further.

  21. This whole fight about abstinence education is really about money and not effectiveness. It is primarily Planned Parenthood, going after anybody who gets $ for what they do — sex education. I deal with people who are competing for government money and their “studies” all the time. If they told me it was raining outside, I would get and go look for myself. If there are problems with abstinence education (I’m not saying there aren’t, I’m saying this is such a fight over money that you can’t know by what the various advocates say) there are also problems with sex education as Planned Parenthood has been doing it in our schools since Heck was a pup. What has that gotten us?

  22. The educational system is not responding to the culture with sex education. The lobby on this is well-paid, professional and after the $. They are also of one cultural outlook. Sex ed is a big money machine for Planned Parenthood. I’ve been lobbied endlessly about this for 18 years.

  23. FW Ken, No one to my knowledge has ever said “choice” is easy for anyone. I most certainly know there are circumstances where the male involved/family or someone else attempts to influence a young or old pregnant woman to keep or not keep a pregnancy. I would be the first to admit that. As hard as it is, ultimately it is the woman who has to either end it or not. She has to live with that decision, and that is part of life. I have no idea how many women have abortions because of fear or how many have outcomes they didn’t choose. But for whatever reason they either do terminate or choose not to terminate—as I said, they have to live with their decision just like everyone else, male or female in this life who has to make hard choices.

  24. That’s it? That’s what you want to teach them? Don’t use two condoms at the same time? Isn’t that on the instuctions? That’s hardly significant. So tell me something significant that is lacking that teens don’t know? Or do you want to actually demostrate for the kids in class how to do it?

  25. Respectfully I disagree. There is ample evidence to suggest a direct link between abstinence only education and teen pregnancy. I think that sex is for marriage, but I want teenagers to make informed decisions about their bodies. While I am disturbed at the disconnect between parenthood and marriage I can’t back bad policy.

  26. Mam, I am aware that correlation is not causality. However I also cannot in good conscious use that as an excuse to continue policies that we know don’t work. Thank you for your responses though, I do enjoy your blog, even when we don’t agree.

  27. I apologize if I sounded snippy. It had nothing to do with you. I’ve got an elderly mother who needs a lot of care and I sometimes feel stretched. That was what was going on with me.

    As for the question of supporting policies that don’t work, that’s ok. I don’t know for sure if “abstinence only” education as it was constructed worked or not. I’ve seen studies that go both ways. I am, however, definitely sure, based on — what is it now? — let’s just say decades of very expensive experience that sex education as it is currently done not only does not work, it is actually destructive.

  28. I don’t think so. I’ve seen studies on both sides of the fence about abstinence only education, and frankly, those that gave bad results came from people who have a strong financial interest in getting the $ going to abstinence only for themselves. As for “ample evidence showing a direct link between abstinence only education and teen pregnancy,” I have never seen anything reputable that says that, and, believe me I see a lot of this stuff.

    I sit on the appropriations sub committee that funds some of these things, so I see a lot of these studies.

    As for Planned Parenthood, money and the their lobbying, disagree or don’t. I am speaking from quite a bit of first-hand experience about this.

    Believe me — or don’t believe me — this is all about money. The objections to abstinence only are about money. There is a lot of money at stake here, you know. And Planned Parenthood is, next to the corporations, the most rapacious lobby I deal with.

    They do love their money.

  29. “Policies that we know don’t work”? Dear God in heaven. And what we are supposed to use is SEX ED – that has failed to work for longer than most of us have been alive. You only register failure to work when you want to.

    Let me tell you about the United Kingdom, where I live. The UK has one of the highest birth rates in Europe. It also has one of the highest abortion rates. Why? I’ll tell you why. Because girls who are sexeducated from an early age go into the abortion clinic with the same gay abandon with which they have their fatherless babies. Both the high birth rate and the high abortion rate are a product of the same heedless attitude. (Don’t blame the Muslim immigrants for the high birth rate as some people do; you can’t walk the streets of London without seeing white or coffee-coloured babies with their most often teen-aged mothers and their aggressively sexy clothes and elaborate hair and make-up.) The failure of sexeducation is paraded in the streets every day of the week.

    Conversely, Italy has a low abortion rate (due in part to huge rates of conscientious objection among doctors) and a very low birth rate. Why? Because in a country with a strong and enduring family system (curiously, in the age of divorce, families may absorb individuals who had no physical connection with them, because of some divorce-related upheaval – but they are NOT collapsing as entities), and in a time of dire economic crisis, the family weighs enough on the young to make sure that they don’t have expensive babies when they can’t afford it. And this happens with a low abortion rate; it has nothing to do with abortion, but plenty with the sense of obligation that goes with being a member of that formidable combined bank, secret police and insurance corporation that is an Italian family.

    Sexed is useless where it is not actively damaging. it disregards human nature and gives the young an utterly false road map. And in the end it has NOTHING to do with the variations between countries except to increase them on the side of looseness and bad control.

  30. That there are certain days in a woman’s cycle when she is most fertile, but that those days can change. Breakage rates on condoms and the proper way to use them. That hormones involved mean there is never meaningless sex or sex without attachment. Stats on teen pregnancy and how they correlate to graduating and lifetime earnings.

    An example is just that, one example. I work in a high school that has a good sex Ed program and the kids are still carrying many misconceptions(no pun intended). I can’t imagine how much worse they get with little or no education.

  31. Which I think is a great thing. I would love for abortion laws to be unnecessary, but they are.

  32. No apology needed mam, comment boxes are perhaps the most imperfect of all communication mediums. I can also say that my opinions are strongly shaped by ten years of teaching in high schools. I weep inside everytime I hear about a young man or woman that has made poor decisions.

  33. I’m not sure that sex education is making this problem worse, I honestly feel like there have been cultural shifts since the sexual revolution that have been good and bad. When it comes to sexual responsibility it is almost always bad. However, having talked to a depressingly large number of young men and women I can point to only a tiny percentage that talk about abortion as if it was no big deal. Most wrestle and wrangle mightily with the decision.

  34. Regardless of the history of laws or any oaths, the simple fact remains. Women cannot be forced to carry and bear children against their will. Yes. It is an innovation. Life is all about innovations. We would not be who we are today without innovations.

  35. You are not a woman with an unwanted pregnancy. The choice is hers, not yours. The whole concept of choice requires that there be more than one option.

  36. OK. I’m not against good education. However the implied message of sexual ed is “here’s what you’re supposed to do, now go try.” May I ask, what do you mean by “That hormones involved mean there is never meaningless sex or sex without attachment.” If those are pushes toward restraint then I can certainly support it. Peace.

  37. Which is why I said no to abstinence education, and yes to chastity education. And it should be throughout the culture. The fact that it isn’t is just more hippie love in crap that has already caused divorce and infidelity. I’ll be glad when the baby boomers have finally gone to their reward and we can start to repair the damage they did to our culture and philosophy.

  38. There is. Keep the child or have it adopted. Continue the pregnancy or give birth by c-section.

    There’s plenty of choice in life. But death isn’t choice, it is constraint.

  39. There are situations in life where that is not the preferred option. It might be to you. But it might not be for the woman. The woman’s preferred option supersedes yours.

  40. What is the difference between abstinence and chastity education? Both say don’t have sexual intercourse until you are married. Then the abstinence can be used to not have sex if using the NFP method as a Catholic (or I suppose some other faith that disapproves of ABC).

  41. Good for France! I’m glad they have that as the 12 week limit I find time enough for a decision on the part of the woman.

  42. Taught with a woman from Italy (who was married to an American professor) and if I remember correctly she had mentioned during a conversation on sex ed (which was taught in the Catholic school I taught in) many Italian women have no problem with ABC. Could that help explain the lower abortion rate? No pregnancy, no need to contemplate an abortion. She only had 2 kids herself.

  43. That choice is not always black and white, Theodore, the carry to term and have it adopted or carry to term. BTW, what does the delivery method have to do with this? Would that have to do with a late term attempt at an abortion?

  44. You mentioned you had taught in high schools (Bless you!) over 10 years. The Catholic school ( pre K to 8th grade) I taught in taught the older kids (middle school) sex ed, of course, with the Catholic teachings of no sex before marriage etc. During my 10 years there, a few of the former 8th grade girls came back to show off the child they had had and they were still in high school—no marriage involved. So, even with religion backing up the idea that sex should be saved for the sacrament of marriage, babies happen unplanned.

  45. Fine. This government is illegitimate because it allows abortion. So, you should move to a country whose government does not allow it. I’m sure you would be very happy there.

  46. This is why the pro choice supporters refuse to give any ground. If they propose to not allow abortions after a certain time, the pro lifers will demand that they not be allowed at all. They don’t know how to reach a compromise so instead they are ignored.

  47. When mother Nature ends a life either from conception to 132 year old person, it’s called natural death. When a person actively ends a life from conception to a 132 year old person, it’s called murder. The difference is actively end versus naturally end. Viability has nothing to do with it. That is jumbled reasoning, or grasping at a reason when you don’t want to hear reality.

  48. Theodore, You can never literally “walk in some pregnant woman’s shoes” . a woman who is pregnant, however it happened—as in rape, incest, or even just unplanned but with consent is the only one who can. Circumstances that some of us probably can’t even contemplate enter into those decisions. A woman who has HAD to make that decision (and I’m not saying it should ever, ever be an easy one) and has chosen an abortion is not a murderer, but in many cases desperate for whatever reason to chose that option. (won’t go into perhaps someone has coerced or forced, that is another topic). Should there be laws regarding the time this can legally be done? Yes, but it shouldn’t become illegal again. Abortions have been done legally AND illegally for hundreds of years….as there is always a way to stop a pregnancy if necessary—horrible ways, yes, but ways. At least if it is legal, (say in 12 weeks) the woman wouldn’t have to try one of those horrible ways to stop it. (metal coat hanger?)

  49. Excuse me? but contraception doesn’t work Theodore? It worked fine for me and it works for thousands of women and men. There would be a heck of a lot more children if it didn’t work, some wanted and some not wanted.

  50. Why should the woman want to stop it at all? There is no “HAD to be made” in murder, not really (unless of course you think Jeffery Dahmer had to have neighborhood children for lunch, in which case, you’ve got a much different definition of a legitimate choice than I do).

    And the coat hangers were always more myth than truth- lies based on a lie.

  51. In this day and age- past 20 weeks there is no *technological* reason for a woman to remain pregnant. It is hard, but possible to put the child on a machine that does the same job as heart and lungs until those develop.

    Thus there is no need for late term abortion. It is obsolete.

    Only somebody who believes in euthanasia would argue for it, and only on euthanasia grounds (because all fetuses that could survive finishing up in an artificial womb, would end up with a lower quality of life, therefore, because quality of life is paramount over quantity of life, we should kill the child).

  52. Think that is what I said—if it wasn’t for birth control, there would be MORE unplanned children—-As a solution for many it has NOT failed. Me being one of those people.

  53. Yes, there is a HAD to be made—we’re going around in circles, so I think it is time for me to stop comment on things I have actually had experienced in my family group. As to why she should want to? TOOO many reasons for here. You and I will not agree on this, no surprise. As to the coat hangers? It has happened. Being male, I don’t think you can actually put yourself into that situation, as I mentioned above.

  54. Where did I say there was a need for a late term abortion? I do not agree with them, except in rare medical cases and I said that somewhere else, but if that is the situation, the attempt should be made to save the fetus.

  55. Read your referenced email. I’m sure there are”bad” PP clinics and “good” ones. Those that I knew who terminated their pregnancies had them performed by a doctor, not in a PP clinic situation.

  56. FW Ken,

    I don’t understand your comment. Whose “drooling fanaticism”? Pro choice, pro life or both? And what is the “assault on the democratic process”? What “control” do I want? I just want woman to have control over their own bodies. Does that kind of control threaten democracy?

  57. There cannot be a more legitimate government than one that has been elected by the people being governed. If you can’t accept that, then you should move to a country with a government that you consider to be legitimate. Maybe a good Catholic country like Ireland or Vatican City.

  58. Between 1950-1960, the height of the so-called coat hanger era, there were under 200 deaths in America due to sepsis and perforated female organs.

    Comparing that with the millions of deaths since then, no, statistically, coat hanger abortions weren’t a big deal.

  59. Just explaining why I mentioned C-section as an attempt to save the fetus. If *all* abortions past 12 weeks were attempts to save the fetus, we might end up with a different line for viability.

  60. I could accept that if I believed that elections were legitimate to begin with. But in a country where Hudge and Grudge just put clones on the ballot, it is hard for me to believe that.

  61. I did, but stopped with the planned 2 we had—thus ABC worked for us.. And yes, I not only loved my now grown children from birth, but like them too. They are good people in every way. 🙂

  62. Undoubtedly some women will die. Unfortunately women also die in childbirth (though less now with so called modern medicine, at least in this country—poorer countries might have higher rates).

  63. Statistically, the coat hanger method might be no big deal to you, but it was for those that have attempted to end their pregnancies that way.

  64. No, I do not. You justify an inherently tyrannous procedure – baby-murder – with necessity. Necessity, the tyrant’s plea.

  65. The grossest mistake anyone can make about Italy is to try and explain the place in simple terms. Italian Catholicism is so native as to be natural, rooted in the landscape like the trees; but Italy also has the oldest Protestant church in existence (the Waldensians) and the oldest Jewish community on Earth (Rome’s, which is different both from the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi traditions – both of which are also represented in Italy, however – and has its own name, the Bene Romi or Jews of the Italian Rite.). These communities are small, but punch far above their weight. For instance, Italian laws allows taxpayers to make 0.8% of their income tax to a religion or good cause of their choosing, and the Waldensians get about four times as one would expect from their size. The Jews are also over-represented in various ways, to my own great pleasure (I am as philo-Semitic as any Catholic can be). They are part of Italian history and identity, and we would not want to be without them. Also, Italian Catholicism, in spite of the historical importance of bishops and popes, is profoundly movement-driven and has a strong anti-institutional soul. It is not a coincidence that most religious movements within the Church, from the monasticism of Benedict to the focolarini and Comunione e Liberazione, were either born or reached their peak of influence in Italy. The patron saints of the country are St.Francis of Assisi and St.Catherine of Siena, the humblest of all friars and the bossiest of all nuns, just to show the importance of the movement, non-establishment area of the nation’s Church. An Italian Catholic is as apt to be a rebel, even against his own Bishop, as a loyalist.

    More importantly, the Italian nation was made in open warfare against the Pope. Italy fought the Pope to be born like America fought the King of Britain. Each of the Wars of Independence of 1848-9, 1859, and 1860 found the Pope on the wrong side, and the last stage of Italian unification was the storming of the city of Rome and the end of the Pope’s thirteen-century rule as king of Rome on September 20, 1870. There is, in Italy, a strong and abiding anti-clerical tradition, which has much to do with the war against the Pope, but pre-dates it, and may be traced as far back as the stoicism and neo-paganism of the Renaissance or even earlier. Italian Communism, curiously enough, is deeply rooted in these traditions, and often when you speak with an Italian Communist, you have the curious impression of debating a Roman Stoic.

    So, when the media of the whole Western world assaulted Pope Paul VI over HUmanae Vitae, the Italian media were right there with them, and the usual crop of “progressives” gave them fifth-column support within the Church. (In Italy, they are often called “adult Catholics”, because of a ridiculously self-regarding statement by former prime minister Romano Prodi, the very type of the “progressive” and a man of such mysteries that, in his case, the suspicion that he was a Soviet agent seems more than just a bit of paranoia ) And so, yes, there were found majorities for both contraception and abortion. And no doubt the woman you met belongs to the anti-clerical tradition. But don’t imagine, just for that, that Catholicism is dead or enfeebled in Italy. That is exactly what I am warning against: the complexity of the nation is such that nobody can claim to properly or fully represent it, and if anyone comes closer than anyone else, it is the Catholic Church. Apart from the enduring Waldensians and Jews, Italians find it natural to be Catholic, and if they have a religion, it is that and nothing else. Even a famous enemy of the Church like Giuseppe Garibaldi would blow up if anyone tried to suggest he was not Christian, and he had a personal devotion to the Virgin Mary that was the least Protestant thing you can imagine. It was the great philosopher Benedetto Croce, an opponent of the Church and a kind of philosophical pagan, who said of us: “We can’t NOT call ourselves Christian”. And by Christian he meant Catholic.

  66. Well, if you are talking about personal perceptions I can’t argue. But I think you overrate the amount of people who are awake to the horror of abortion. After all, if they were not bothered by it, they would not talk about it. I still think that it is objectively damaging and that it explains the fury and hatred that prevails in certain areas of our politics, but I don’t think they are awake to what is really driving them.

  67. Mutual decision between my husband and me. We wanted to be able to provide for them with the income we had. Having 2 made that possible.

  68. Thank you, thank you, thank you Fabio! I mean that sincerely, for the shortened (I’m sure) but incredible history of your home country in response to my post. Very interesting, and I read every word. In fact, I might have to read it more than once. Italy is indeed a complex country. 🙂

  69. Well, a guy can only say “it’s a complicated place” so many times. If I take a certain position, I have to give good grounds for it. All major European countries are complicated – I am sure a German would say the same for his country – but Italy is not just complicated, but unpredictable. The same country that hung on like a biting terrier for three terrible years of World War on, performed atrociously in World War Two; the same football team that flattened the world’s best in 1982 in Spain disgraced itself in Mexico in 1986. For all of this there are reasons, but one has to understand them.

  70. I’d say 100% of abortions arise out of fear of *something*. Sometimes that fear is more founded than other times, but always we have the ability to ease it if we’re willing to actually support the pregnancy. Here’s the hard part for pro-lifers: Saving a child may require you to give up some luxury. It may require you to pay more in taxes. It may require you to become more generous. It may even require you to put concerns about traditional marriage on the back burner, while saving lives gets priority.

  71. Your family story goes to back up the fact that women wanting to end a pregnancy will find a way to do so—and in the 30’s there were certainly fewer methods to prevent conception–either no sex (deny husband?) or I assume condoms (which required the males to cooperate), All in all, right or wrong, abortions are not a new happening—this has been happening for centuries.