Abortion

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  • Before current contraception methods were available, children were more likely to be unwanted. Illegal abortions were sometimes seen as the only answer, with tragic consequences. Afaik they were not common. It is interesting that the increase in choice re: contraception does not seem to coincide with a decrease of a requirement for abortions. Is this connected with a moral pressure to only have children one can afford, I wonder? When they simply came along, it was acceptable to be poor and pregnant.





  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    Before current contraception methods were available, children were more likely to be unwanted. Illegal abortions were sometimes seen as the only answer, with tragic consequences. Afaik they were not common. It is interesting that the increase in choice re: contraception does not seem to coincide with a decrease of a requirement for abortions. Is this connected with a moral pressure to only have children one can afford, I wonder? When they simply came along, it was acceptable to be poor and pregnant.

    I rather suspect that the availability of reliable contraception had more effect on the availability of sex...
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Raptor Eye wrote: »
    Before current contraception methods were available, children were more likely to be unwanted. Illegal abortions were sometimes seen as the only answer, with tragic consequences. Afaik they were not common. It is interesting that the increase in choice re: contraception does not seem to coincide with a decrease of a requirement for abortions.

    This seems to be false, as nearly as we can tell. Abortion rates have been declining for years.
  • What does increse abortions is lack of proper sex education and lack of support for women and the children they birth. The lack of support often comes from the same quarter that would force the births to happen.
  • Captain_ValmaniaCaptain_Valmania Shipmate Posts: 33
    Crœsos wrote: »
    but it's not regarded as a tragedy on par with the 9/11 attacks and no one seems willing to prosecute the clinic staff for negligent homicide. ...

    Our human capacity to comprehend tragedy gets overloaded pretty quickly plus distance and visibility also reduces our capacity to care. However that doesn't change the intrinsic moral value of those 4,000 embryos in your example.
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    ... When resources are scarce, killing/not feeding children is a common strategy among many species. So it would appear that children do not have the same moral worth.

    This is exactly where the abortion debate is headed. Exhibit A: Sam Harris' most recent podcast with Caitlin Flanagan. (#199 — April 23, 2020) = "abortion kills a human, but sometimes it's morally necessary to do that."
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    I think concluding that it's a tragedy despite us not seeing it as one because we don't see tragedies in certain situations might be begging the question.

    I think it's also possible, given that a human embryo is a very early stage in pregnancy, that people regard embryos in a different way to how they regard a later term foetus, and even more so a post-partum baby.

    While the term "embryo" can refer up to the tenth week (IIRC), the embryos stored in facilities for implantation are no more than five or six days old.

    I think that might underlie our not seeing their loss as a tragedy equivalent to 4000 independent human beings is the knowledge that they are microscopic cell clusters rather than formed human beings.


  • Crœsos wrote: »
    but it's not regarded as a tragedy on par with the 9/11 attacks and no one seems willing to prosecute the clinic staff for negligent homicide. ...

    Our human capacity to comprehend tragedy gets overloaded pretty quickly plus distance and visibility also reduces our capacity to care. However that doesn't change the intrinsic moral value of those 4,000 embryos in your example.
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    ... When resources are scarce, killing/not feeding children is a common strategy among many species. So it would appear that children do not have the same moral worth.

    This is exactly where the abortion debate is headed. Exhibit A: Sam Harris' most recent podcast with Caitlin Flanagan. (#199 — April 23, 2020) = "abortion kills a human, but sometimes it's morally necessary to do that."
    You missed the point. Nature, aka God, already prioritises adult life. Most fertilised eggs don't successfully make it to term, being spontaneously aborted fairly early.
    Look, I do not like abortion. It is messed up when a medical procedure that ends a potential life is the choice made. That said, the best way to reduce abortions is to allow them, but educate and support women and support the children who are born. You want moral? That is the moral position.
    Presenting the abortion as a moral choice of woman over child is a smokescreen that obscures actually caring about people.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    edited April 2020
    Crœsos wrote: »
    For example, when a Cleveland, OH fertility clinic loses more than 4,000 frozen embryos in a freezer failure it's regarded as tragic for those specific people whose last chance at parenthood might have just thawed beyond recovery, but it's not regarded as a tragedy on par with the 9/11 attacks and no one seems willing to prosecute the clinic staff for negligent homicide. ...

    Our human capacity to comprehend tragedy gets overloaded pretty quickly plus distance and visibility also reduces our capacity to care. However that doesn't change the intrinsic moral value of those 4,000 embryos in your example.

    This is incorrect. The 9/11 attacks happened longer ago than the Cleveland Clinic thaw and killed fewer people (if you consider embryos to be people) yet that's still regarded as a tragedy by most people. I suppose you could argue that we prioritize intentionally inflicted deaths as more tragic than ones caused through gross negligence, but we still have the example of Don Blankenship being held criminally liable for negligently causing the deaths of his workers. (The Upper Big Branch mining disaster also happened longer ago than the Cleveland Clinic thaw and more people regard the former as a tragedy than the latter.) If 29 negligent homicides get you one year in prison does that mean someone (or possibly multiple someones) at University Hospitals Fertility Clinic should serve 138 years? Or is it the act of negligence itself that's penalized, not the number of lives lost? What's the proper criminal penalty for this kind of negligent homicide, in your estimation?
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Presenting the abortion as a moral choice of woman over child is a smokescreen that obscures actually caring about people.

    Well said.
  • Abortion discussions always seem to contain sexism at some level. Acknowledged or not.
  • Abortion discussions always seem to contain sexism at some level. Acknowledged or not.

    And each side always accuses the other of it.
  • Captain_ValmaniaCaptain_Valmania Shipmate Posts: 33
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    ... You missed the point. Nature, aka God, already prioritises adult life ...

    "Adult life" is a vague term, what do you mean by it?
    Crœsos wrote: »
    This is incorrect. The 9/11 attacks happened longer ago than the Cleveland Clinic thaw and killed fewer people (if you consider embryos to be people) yet that's still regarded as a tragedy by most people. I suppose you could argue that we prioritize intentionally inflicted deaths as more tragic than ones caused through gross negligence, but we still have the example of Don Blankenship being held criminally liable for negligently causing the deaths of his workers. (The Upper Big Branch mining disaster also happened longer ago than the Cleveland Clinic thaw and more people regard the former as a tragedy than the latter.) If 29 negligent homicides get you one year in prison does that mean someone (or possibly multiple someones) at University Hospitals Fertility Clinic should serve 138 years? Or is it the act of negligence itself that's penalized, not the number of lives lost? What's the proper criminal penalty for this kind of negligent homicide, in your estimation?

    Comprehending the horror of every natural disaster, of every murder and injustice is way beyond our human capacity. So we filter it via the narrative/worldview we belong to. Considering which horror or murder to pay attention is worthwhile discussion, but shouldn't be used to diminish the value of human embryos.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    You're still question begging - assuming that the embryos have a value similar to that of an independent individual and suggesting reasons for us not seeing the "real" tragedy.

    I put it to you that a six day human embryo is not equivalent in value to an independent individual human.
  • Raptor EyeRaptor Eye Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    You're still question begging - assuming that the embryos have a value similar to that of an independent individual and suggesting reasons for us not seeing the "real" tragedy.

    I put it to you that a six day human embryo is not equivalent in value to an independent individual human.

    Would the level of consciousness of the embryo to its surroundings make any difference, do you think, if we could ascertain it?

    Surely the value of any living creature can only be subjective. An earwig is of little value to me, but of greater value to another earwig than a human being.
  • A six day old zygote (the fertilised cell is a zygote for the first two weeks, by which time the cluster of cells becomes an embryo) is potential life at that stage, assuming that implantation followed by successful in utero gestation occurs. No fertilised cell is independently viable.

    From this source:
    Around half of all fertilized eggs die and are lost (aborted) spontaneously, usually before the woman knows she is pregnant. Among women who know they are pregnant, about 10% to 25% will have a miscarriage. Most miscarriages occur during the first 7 weeks of pregnancy. The rate of miscarriage drops after the baby's heartbeat is detected.

    This suggests nature / God / however you want to describe this, is all good with a significant proportion of fertilised cells not becoming fully human foetuses.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Comprehending the horror of every natural disaster, of every murder and injustice is way beyond our human capacity. So we filter it via the narrative/worldview we belong to. Considering which horror or murder to pay attention is worthwhile discussion, but shouldn't be used to diminish the value of human embryos.

    Isn't this an inherent contradiction? If we're incapable of comprehending the value of murder victims, why should we be expected to understand the alleged value of human embryos? And if we do comprehend the value of human embryos, why wouldn't we be able to apply value to adult victims of violence and natural disasters?

    My main point is that we don't apply the same value to zygotes that we do to already-born humans, and this applies to the so-called pro-life* movement as well. Opponents of legal abortion have long held the position that women who get abortions should not be penalized by the criminal justice system. It's hard to take someone seriously if they claim that abortion is both exactly equivalent to premeditated murder and should be penalized less severely than an expired parking meter.


    *Offer expires at birth.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Raptor Eye wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    You're still question begging - assuming that the embryos have a value similar to that of an independent individual and suggesting reasons for us not seeing the "real" tragedy.

    I put it to you that a six day human embryo is not equivalent in value to an independent individual human.

    Would the level of consciousness of the embryo to its surroundings make any difference, do you think, if we could ascertain it?

    Surely the value of any living creature can only be subjective. An earwig is of little value to me, but of greater value to another earwig than a human being.

    I think we're talking about value to other humans, notwithstanding that partly depends on where any given human stand.

    Turning to the level of consciousness of a six day embryo - I'd suggest the answer to that is non whatsoever - it is a ball of cells - at this stage numbering around 100. It has none of the brain structures which are associated with consciousness in humans. It has less ability to sense its environment than the aforementioned earwig.
  • Colin SmithColin Smith Suspended
    Comprehending the horror of every natural disaster, of every murder and injustice is way beyond our human capacity. So we filter it via the narrative/worldview we belong to. Considering which horror or murder to pay attention is worthwhile discussion, but shouldn't be used to diminish the value of human embryos.

    Human embryos have no value, imo, other than to the would be parents.
  • Colin SmithColin Smith Suspended
    KarlLB wrote: »
    I think concluding that it's a tragedy despite us not seeing it as one because we don't see tragedies in certain situations might be begging the question.

    I think it's also possible, given that a human embryo is a very early stage in pregnancy, that people regard embryos in a different way to how they regard a later term foetus, and even more so a post-partum baby.

    While the term "embryo" can refer up to the tenth week (IIRC), the embryos stored in facilities for implantation are no more than five or six days old.

    I think that might underlie our not seeing their loss as a tragedy equivalent to 4000 independent human beings is the knowledge that they are microscopic cell clusters rather than formed human beings.


    But that may be down to anthropomorphism because a late-stage foetus more closely resembles a baby. I mean, people value small furry animals more than they value small scaly animals but that's not really a valid basis for deciding how we treat them.
  • Colin SmithColin Smith Suspended
    edited May 2020
    Snip
    Crœsos wrote: »
    There seems to be a cut-off at birth. Those opposed to the criminalization of abortion seem to regard anyone who survives the birthing process as fully human, with no gradations after that.

    I may be unusual, but I do think there is a cut-off point after birth. By which I mean that I do not believe birth materially alters the infant sufficiently for it to suddenly become human, unless we think any creature that has an autonomous blood system is human.

    For me, the cut-off is more fuzzy and relates to the infant's development of emotions like empathy and its awareness of others having an independent existence, rather than simply serving its needs.
  • RooKRooK Admin Emeritus
    Objectively, it's hard to consider humans "people" until they're fully sentient. Right around 27 years after birth. Everything before that is just to be sensitive to the hopes and dreams of their family. Which, critically, themselves usually undergo massive neurobiological change near the delivery term of the child - to become powerfully connected emotionally. It is respect for this connection that needs to be minded.

    The Pro-Life™ movement seems to be a projection of that natural parental connection. For that matter, I suspect PETA is a similarly irrational set of connection-projectors. That ability to project connection is not a bad thing; it does humans credit. But it makes for terrible legislation.
  • Captain_ValmaniaCaptain_Valmania Shipmate Posts: 33
    KarlLB wrote: »
    I put it to you that a six day human embryo is not equivalent in value to an independent individual human ...

    "Independent individual human" is just as vague as Crœsos' "independent human life", but perhaps not as ambiguous as lilbuddha's "adult life". - I'd be happy to get down to thumb tacks of comparative moral value, but the pro-abortion crowd gets all coy about what or who exactly we're comparing the unborn to.
    RooK wrote: »
    Objectively, it's hard to consider humans "people" until they're fully sentient. Right around 27 years after birth. ...

    Rook's cheeky comment provides somewhat more clarification, but reveals how difficult the task of defining the supposed standard of complete humanness against which embryos fail to measure up too.


  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    I was reading this and found myself hearing on the BBC R4 Today programme about a woman in Texas who found herself with a disastrous situation in her twin pregnancy. One was found to have died. The other was found to have a condition which would lead to something untreatable, and an abortion was advised.
    However, Texas has ruled that elective operations are banned under Covid-19 regulations, and the Attorney General used that abortion is defined as a matter of women's choice by some people as proof that it is elective in all circumstances. The woman was able to take the 13 hour drive to New Mexico, where she found that the clinic was overwhelmed with women from Texas. Her situation was resolved.
    Texas is not the only state with such regulations, and not all are close to others with a more sensible attitude.
    I can't find a report online of this particular case.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited May 2020
    There is no "pro-abortion" crowd. Very few people like and want abortions. Many however do not believe it should be illegal.

    My "independent" here is very simple. It means not inhabiting another person's body in order to survive.

    There is no hard line between zygote and baby. There is no hard line between proto-Germanic and Frisian. They are not however the same thing.

    There is no single homogenous "the unborn". A 39 week foetus is a very different thing from a 10 week foetus, and that is a very different thing from a six day old embryo. So there is no single thing we are going to compare these to.

    I would say rather it's the pro-life* people who are often coy here; they conflate them (as you have done here with your blanket term "the unborn") in order to portray a morning after pill as equivalent to a late termination.

    *offer expires at birth.
  • KarlLB wrote: »

    My "independent" here is very simple. It means not inhabiting another person's body in order to survive.

    I think this is key. To forbid abortion is to make a huge imposition on the woman involved, socially and economically, but primarily physically and mentally. Pregnancy is tough when you want a child and the foetus is healthy. How much tougher is it to go through a pregnancy, to carry that foetus, to go through labour, for something you never wanted or, worse, for a baby you desperately wanted but know will not survive more than a few minutes after birth? It's not a small thing to ask of someone, and a very big thing for the state to insist upon as a matter of law. I hope and pray for a situation where nobody is in the position of wanting an abortion, but I think the suffering caused by attempting to short-circuit that blessed situation makes the prohibitionist stance profoundly immoral.
  • Captain_ValmaniaCaptain_Valmania Shipmate Posts: 33
    KarlLB wrote: »
    There is no "pro-abortion" crowd. Very few people like and want abortions. Many however do not believe it should be illegal.
    ...
    I would say rather it's the pro-life* people who are often coy here; they conflate them (as you have done here with your blanket term "the unborn") in order to portray a morning after pill as equivalent to a late termination.

    *offer expires at birth.

    It used be that people wanted abortion to be "safe, legal and rare" but Michelle Wolf's song 'Salute to Abortions' on Netflix demonstrates there is a sizeable appreciation for abortion.

    I was hoping you'd provide a clearer definition of what an "independent individual human" was, but I'll work with vagaries you've provided.
    My "independent" here is very simple. It means not inhabiting another person's body in order to survive.

    So you actually mean outside. So a baby inside the mother has less moral worth than a baby outside the mother?

    So then you double-down on the sliding scale of moral worth.
    There is no hard line between zygote and baby. There is no hard line between proto-Germanic and Frisian. They are not however the same thing. There is no single homogenous "the unborn". A 39 week foetus is a very different thing from a 10 week foetus, and that is a very different thing from a six day old embryo. So there is no single thing we are going to compare these to.

    So why are keen to emphasis a sliding scale of moral worth inside the womb but not outside the womb? Clearly people change as the age. Yet somehow your magical sliding scale of moral worth stops at birth.

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    I think you’re misreading @KarlLB. I think his dividing line is viability, not birth.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited May 2020
    There's nothing magical about my sliding scale. It's based on the observation that a fertilised zygote is clearly not nearly the same thing as a baby, to a degree far greater than that in which a baby is not the same thing as an adult.
  • Captain_ValmaniaCaptain_Valmania Shipmate Posts: 33
    edited May 2020
    Sure, happy to fall from that pejorative characterisation.

    But notice how inconsistently you apply the sliding moral scale. Unborn people change over time. Why is a sliding moral scale applied before birth/viability but not after birth/viability?
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited May 2020
    Magnitude of the changes.

    And the bleedin' obvious physical facts about a ball of around 100 cells.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Penny S wrote: »
    I was reading this and found myself hearing on the BBC R4 Today programme about a woman in Texas who found herself with a disastrous situation in her twin pregnancy. One was found to have died. The other was found to have a condition which would lead to something untreatable, and an abortion was advised.
    However, Texas has ruled that elective operations are banned under Covid-19 regulations, and the Attorney General used that abortion is defined as a matter of women's choice by some people as proof that it is elective in all circumstances.

    That's because a fetus has "moral worth", but a grown woman does not. Speaking of "vague terms", "moral worth" seems a lot vaguer than "adult". On the other hand I'm not sure someone who doesn't know what an adult is can really offer any useful guidance.
  • RuthRuth Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    There is no "pro-abortion" crowd. Very few people like and want abortions. Many however do not believe it should be illegal.
    ...
    I would say rather it's the pro-life* people who are often coy here; they conflate them (as you have done here with your blanket term "the unborn") in order to portray a morning after pill as equivalent to a late termination.

    *offer expires at birth.

    It used be that people wanted abortion to be "safe, legal and rare" but Michelle Wolf's song 'Salute to Abortions' on Netflix demonstrates there is a sizeable appreciation for abortion.

    Damn straight there's a sizeable appreciation for abortion. I fortunately didn't ever get pregnant (to my knowledge - it's entirely possible that I did and the pregnancy wasn't viable from the get-go), but in my child-bearing years I was very glad that abortion was available to me - it was always my plan to get an abortion if my birth control method failed.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    I would say rather it's the pro-life* people who are often coy here; they conflate them (as you have done here with your blanket term "the unborn") in order to portray a morning after pill as equivalent to a late termination.

    *offer expires at birth.

    The opposition to the "morning after" pill is interesting in that the pill stops ovulation rather than terminates a pregnancy in progress. In essence opponents are arguing that life begins not at conception but rather at ejaculation and anything which prevents an egg from being there when the sperm makes its way up the Fallopian tube is a crime against "moral value".

    It's possible that they're confusing the "morning after" pill (i.e. emergency contraception) with the abortion pill (mifepristone), which shows a fairly casual indifference to how their proposed restrictions would affect women and how flexible "moral value" can be. Kind of as if anything which will cause problems for those uppity bitches is okay by them.
  • Ruth wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    There is no "pro-abortion" crowd. Very few people like and want abortions. Many however do not believe it should be illegal.
    ...
    I would say rather it's the pro-life* people who are often coy here; they conflate them (as you have done here with your blanket term "the unborn") in order to portray a morning after pill as equivalent to a late termination.

    *offer expires at birth.

    It used be that people wanted abortion to be "safe, legal and rare" but Michelle Wolf's song 'Salute to Abortions' on Netflix demonstrates there is a sizeable appreciation for abortion.

    Damn straight there's a sizeable appreciation for abortion. I fortunately didn't ever get pregnant (to my knowledge - it's entirely possible that I did and the pregnancy wasn't viable from the get-go), but in my child-bearing years I was very glad that abortion was available to me - it was always my plan to get an abortion if my birth control method failed.

    Yes, I’m pro-abortion for me (4 pregnancies, 3 kids, job very much done, thank you) and pro the opportunity for those who need / want it and have made their informed choice that that’s what they want. I’m not automatically pro-abortion for other people, because it’s none of my business.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Most pro-choice people I have met are not pro-abortion. They would rather see fewer unwanted births, better sex education and support for women who do choose to give birth. Abortion is there as an option of other things fail. The tighter the restriction on abortion, the higher the abortion rate typically is. Why is that? Most often because education and support are there for women as well.
    Which leads to the conclusion that "pro-life" doesn't give a shit about women or children after they are born. Yes, some think they do, but the effect is the same as if they do not.
  • Colin SmithColin Smith Suspended
    I think those in favour of women having a choice over what happens to their body should stop fighting the Pro-Life™ movement on their terms. Fight them for what they are: anti-choice, anti-women's rights, hypocritical bigots.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Most pro-choice people I have met are not pro-abortion. They would rather see fewer unwanted births, better sex education and support for women who do choose to give birth. Abortion is there as an option of other things fail. The tighter the restriction on abortion, the higher the abortion rate typically is. Why is that? Most often because education and support are there for women as well.
    Which leads to the conclusion that "pro-life" doesn't give a shit about women or children after they are born. Yes, some think they do, but the effect is the same as if they do not.
    Messed that up. Tighter restriction on abortion coincides with poor sex education and poor and/or complete lack of support for women and post-birth children.
  • Captain_ValmaniaCaptain_Valmania Shipmate Posts: 33
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Magnitude of the changes.

    And the bleedin' obvious physical facts about a ball of around 100 cells.

    But no comment about how to apply your sliding moral scale after birth?
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Most pro-choice people I have met are not pro-abortion. They would rather see fewer unwanted births, better sex education and support for women who do choose to give birth. Abortion is there as an option of other things fail. The tighter the restriction on abortion, the higher the abortion rate typically is. Why is that? Most often because education and support are there for women as well.
    Which leads to the conclusion that "pro-life" doesn't give a shit about women or children after they are born. Yes, some think they do, but the effect is the same as if they do not.

    Yes, I think anecdotally that's true but the cultural zeitgeist has shifted. For example "safe legal and rare" is no longer part of the Democratic party platform. And there's the sad push for women to share their abortion stories. Abortions don't feature in horror films yet so there's still a taboo around them.
  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    Before current contraception methods were available, children were more likely to be unwanted. Illegal abortions were sometimes seen as the only answer, with tragic consequences. Afaik they were not common. It is interesting that the increase in choice re: contraception does not seem to coincide with a decrease of a requirement for abortions. Is this connected with a moral pressure to only have children one can afford, I wonder? When they simply came along, it was acceptable to be poor and pregnant.

    We simply don't know how common abortions / attempted abortions were. Abortifacient pills were freely advertised in Victorian newspapers. However, although they advertised abortifacient ingredients such as pennyroyal, the amount in each pill was unlikely to be effective in more than a minority of cases.

    Marie Stopes reported that when the first birth control clinics opened many of their clients were already pregnant and attended "in the belief that they can obtain there the relief which they are accustomed to regard as the orthodox means of family limitation."

    The BMA estimated between 55,000 and 75,000 illegal abortions per year in the early C20th, but before a woman turned to a back street abortionist she was likely to have already tried a quack medicine, jumping downstairs, a glass of gin in a hot bath etc. We don't know how many pregnancies were ended by women using these methods, but it seems reasonable to assume that back street abortions represented the tip of the iceberg.




  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    I don't apply a "sliding moral scale" post-birth because

    (a) by definition no-one is trying to have post-birth abortions;

    (b) the top of the scale is already reached

    All this is a distraction anyway from the point we're discussing, which is 6-day embryos, each of which consists of about 100 barely differentiated cells.
  • From my point of view the sliding scale only applies in utero, where there is a balance to be made between the needs of the woman carrying the zygote/embryo/foetus and that potential life. A sliding scale that considers that the potential life will only become fully viable with the support of the woman involved and to achieve that aim, the woman needs to be willing and able to carry the foetus to preferably 38 weeks gestation, but at least 25 weeks*.

    The vast majority of abortions in the UK are very early - the most up-to-date abortion statistics are for 2018 (link), which lists 80% of all abortions occurring before 10 weeks gestation, and 9 out of 10 at 12 weeks or under. The 90% in the first trimester has been pretty constant for years, suggesting that most abortions have happened as soon as the woman is aware that she is unwillingly pregnant. The percentage of abortions under 10 weeks continues to increase, which is likely to be linked to the ease of access to home pregnancy testing kits.

    Later medical abortions tend to be procedures carried out on much wanted babies, because the baby is not viable, is known to have significant disabilities or the mother is unable to carry the baby further for, at that stage, usually health reasons. The problem with many disabilities is that how significantly the foetus will be affected does not become apparent until late in the pregnancy. I've seen a couple of mothers' describing (on Ye Olde Shippe™) what it is like to have The Talk™ at 21-24 weeks gestation, when the consultant advises them that the child they are carrying is severely compromised. And offered them a late abortion. That changed my mind about late abortions, as I realised that parents cannot know how badly affected their much wanted baby will be at birth, should that baby even be viable. (In one of those cases the baby was stillborn.)

    At 10-13 weeks gestation, I would suggest that the woman is more to be considered than the potential life concerned.

    * Most neonatal units will consider major intervention to keep a foetus alive at 23/24 weeks gestation and be reluctant to intervene before 22 weeks gestation as even if the baby survives, the likelihood of significant difficulties are much higher at 22 weeks gestation than at 23-24 weeks, and continuing to reduce at the level of prematurity. More information in this BPAS briefing.
  • I think those in favour of women having a choice over what happens to their body should stop fighting the Pro-Life™ movement on their terms. Fight them for what they are: anti-choice, anti-women's rights, hypocritical bigots.

    "Forced-birther" is the pithiest and most accurate term I've seen.
  • Later medical abortions tend to be procedures carried out on much wanted babies, because the baby is not viable, is known to have significant disabilities or the mother is unable to carry the baby further for, at that stage, usually health reasons. The problem with many disabilities is that how significantly the foetus will be affected does not become apparent until late in the pregnancy. I've seen a couple of mothers' describing (on Ye Olde Shippe™) what it is like to have The Talk™ at 21-24 weeks gestation, when the consultant advises them that the child they are carrying is severely compromised. And offered them a late abortion. That changed my mind about late abortions, as I realised that parents cannot know how badly affected their much wanted baby will be at birth, should that baby even be viable. (In one of those cases the baby was stillborn.)

    *raises hand as one of those mothers* We were offered an abortion on several occasions between 20 and 34 weeks gestation. At 20 weeks, our son was tentatively diagnosed with achondroplasia but each scan thereafter revealed further difficulties until, at 34 weeks, the diagnosis was thanatophoric dysplasia, which is fatal.

    I chose to continue the pregnancy to full term, and David was stillborn. It was the right choice for me, but the whole experience convinced me that this is a choice which must be made by each individual. I am passionately pro-choice.

    We were ideally placed to cope with David's pregnancy - it was a planned and wanted pregnancy, we were solidly married, securely housed, solvent, with supportive family, friends and church, and yet it was incredibly difficult. Every woman in that situation should be free to make her own choice.


  • Raptor EyeRaptor Eye Shipmate
    Raptor Eye wrote: »
    Before current contraception methods were available, children were more likely to be unwanted. Illegal abortions were sometimes seen as the only answer, with tragic consequences. Afaik they were not common. It is interesting that the increase in choice re: contraception does not seem to coincide with a decrease of a requirement for abortions. Is this connected with a moral pressure to only have children one can afford, I wonder? When they simply came along, it was acceptable to be poor and pregnant.

    We simply don't know how common abortions / attempted abortions were. Abortifacient pills were freely advertised in Victorian newspapers. However, although they advertised abortifacient ingredients such as pennyroyal, the amount in each pill was unlikely to be effective in more than a minority of cases.

    Marie Stopes reported that when the first birth control clinics opened many of their clients were already pregnant and attended "in the belief that they can obtain there the relief which they are accustomed to regard as the orthodox means of family limitation."

    The BMA estimated between 55,000 and 75,000 illegal abortions per year in the early C20th, but before a woman turned to a back street abortionist she was likely to have already tried a quack medicine, jumping downstairs, a glass of gin in a hot bath etc. We don't know how many pregnancies were ended by women using these methods, but it seems reasonable to assume that back street abortions represented the tip of the iceberg.

    Thank you. I am only going by simple observations. Being there at the time when abortions were first legalised and they became available, I found myself under some pressure to have one, being pregnant 'out of wedlock' and with a low income. I wanted the baby, which was healthy and is now a man, and I stayed with his father, having another baby despite our circumstances. We managed.

    I can only imagine how hard it must be to make the decision to go ahead with a pregnancy or go through with an abortion knowing that the baby has serious health problems, or that it will risk the health of its mother. Originally, some thought that these would be the only factors which came into play, and therefore there would be very few abortions taking place.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Magnitude of the changes.

    And the bleedin' obvious physical facts about a ball of around 100 cells.

    But no comment about how to apply your sliding moral scale after birth?
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Most pro-choice people I have met are not pro-abortion. They would rather see fewer unwanted births, better sex education and support for women who do choose to give birth. Abortion is there as an option of other things fail. The tighter the restriction on abortion, the higher the abortion rate typically is. Why is that? Most often because education and support are there for women as well.
    Which leads to the conclusion that "pro-life" doesn't give a shit about women or children after they are born. Yes, some think they do, but the effect is the same as if they do not.

    Yes, I think anecdotally that's true but the cultural zeitgeist has shifted. For example "safe legal and rare" is no longer part of the Democratic party platform.
    Because all the things that end in aobrotion rates going down are a part of the platform as well. Treat women and children as they should be and abortions will naturally be safe, legal and rare.
    If men got pregnant, abortions would never have been illegal.
    And there's the sad push for women to share their abortion stories. Abortions don't feature in horror films yet so there's still a taboo around them.
    Why is encouraging women to share their stories sad? It is a common thing to share events to raise awareness.

  • Colin SmithColin Smith Suspended

    Yes, I think anecdotally that's true but the cultural zeitgeist has shifted. For example "safe legal and rare" is no longer part of the Democratic party platform. And there's the sad push for women to share their abortion stories. Abortions don't feature in horror films yet so there's still a taboo around them.

    Why on earth would abortions ever feature in horror films? Why do you think there's a taboo around them? If there is a taboo then surely sharing experiences of abortion is a way to remove the taboo.

    Unless you think the taboo is a good thing.

    You seem to be starting from an assumption that abortion is a terrible thing which should be restricted or prevented and that most people here will agree with you. They don't.

    Abortion is about as unfortunate as getting a broken arm fixed.

    Then we get to your sliding scale argument. You appear to be saying that because there is no clear point at which a fertilised egg can be called a human being then there is no sliding scale and we should grant the fertilised egg full human status. That's like arguing that because there is no obvious point at which black becomes white, just shades of grey, that black=white. It's risible and wholly disingenuous.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    And there's the sad push for women to share their abortion stories. Abortions don't feature in horror films yet so there's still a taboo around them.
    Why is encouraging women to share their stories sad? It is a common thing to share events to raise awareness.

    Because apparently women should be shamed and browbeaten, I'm guessing. Probably in general, but especially if they've had abortions. The idea that women would have anything interesting to say seems beyond the comprehension of @Captain_Valmania.
    Why do you think there's a taboo around them? If there is a taboo then surely sharing experiences of abortion is a way to remove the taboo.

    Unless you think the taboo is a good thing.

    See above.
  • Colin SmithColin Smith Suspended
    Crœsos wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    And there's the sad push for women to share their abortion stories. Abortions don't feature in horror films yet so there's still a taboo around them.
    Why is encouraging women to share their stories sad? It is a common thing to share events to raise awareness.

    Because apparently women should be shamed and browbeaten, I'm guessing. Probably in general, but especially if they've had abortions. The idea that women would have anything interesting to say seems beyond the comprehension of @Captain_Valmania.
    Why do you think there's a taboo around them? If there is a taboo then surely sharing experiences of abortion is a way to remove the taboo.

    Unless you think the taboo is a good thing.

    See above.

    Of course. I just want Valmania to say it outright..
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Abortion is about as unfortunate as getting a broken arm fixed.
    Well... No one says "I'll jump off this roof and if anything breaks, I'll just go to the A&E."
    Using abortion as a preferred method of birth control is just as ridiculous.

  • Colin SmithColin Smith Suspended
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Abortion is about as unfortunate as getting a broken arm fixed.
    Well... No one says "I'll jump off this roof and if anything breaks, I'll just go to the A&E."
    Using abortion as a preferred method of birth control is just as ridiculous.

    Exactly. No one in A&E planned on being there or is happy about it. But they are very happy that A&E exists.
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