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Jan 22 2013

What if Abortion is Murder?

Let us, for the sake of an intellectual argument, say that we accept that life begins at conception.  I personally don’t believe that, but, for the sake of argument, let’s work with that.  Forced pregnancy still makes no sense and abortion is, at worst, justifiable homicide.

Self-defense and bodily autonomy

  • If someone comes into my house, I can shoot them in self-defense, even if I left my door open.
  • If someone tries to attack me, I can kill them in self-defense, even if I was wearing a short skirt.
  • If I hurt an innocent someone accidentally, I am not required to help them survive by giving them my blood.
  • I am not required to give blood every 8 weeks, I am not required to donate my organs when I die, I am not required to be on the bone marrow registry.

And it’s not about causing physical injury, it’s about defense of one’s person.  One can be raped without sustaining any physical injuries, and yet we recognize it as a heinous crime of bodily invasion.

But what if it was about injury?  It is still covered by self-defense because you’ve got reasonable cause to believe that you are going to be hurt and lose property (or money).  Here is a list of risks that threaten not only a pregnant woman’s health but can be prohibitively expensive.  This is overall — risks change based on age, number of previous pregnancies, financial situation, race, and any other health conditions.

Risks of pregnancy:

  • Uterine Prolapse 50%
  • Hypertension 40%
  • Inadequate access to prenatal care 25%
  • Premature rupture of membranes 18%
  • Preterm birth 12%
  • Postpartum depression 11%
  • Low birth weight 8%
  • Diabetes 7%
  • Preeclampsia 5%
  • Birth Defects 4%
  • Preterm premature rupture of membranes 3%
  • Hyperemesis gravidarum 2%
  • Abruption .5%
  • Placenta Previa .5%
  • Gestational trophoblastic disease .1%
  • Before Roe v Wade 20% of maternal deaths were botched illegal abortions
  • Twice the risk of domestic violence than not pregnant women

And many of these risks are permanent: chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes, death from complications, bankruption by the high medical costs (it can cost $7000 for a birth without complications, premies can cost upwards of $100,000), and domestic violence that continues after the birth.

We’re 50th in the world in maternal deaths – there are 49 countries where a woman is less likely to die from being pregnant.  You are 14.5 times less likely to die of pregnancy in Greece than you are in the US — and that’s just overall, it’s a lot worse if you live in certain states.

And this ignores the massive social cost one pays from having unwanted children, the time required to raise a child, the expense of raising children, the massive loss of income, the loss of career opportunities in the future.

So, how at risk does a pregnancy have to be to justify a self-defense for the mother’s health claim?  At what point can you force a woman to take on these risks against her will?

And if your argument is that she was agreeing to take on the risk when she had sex, are you going to remove my right of self-defense if I leave my door open or wear a short skirt in a dark alley?  Will I be compelled to donate my blood and organs to anyone I injure?

References:

http://www.nursingceu.com/courses/345/index_nceu.html

http://www.americanpregnancy.org/main/statistics.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/pelvic_prolapse.shtml#causes_and_risk_factors

http://www.arhp.org/publications-and-resources/contraception-journal/march-2011

20 comments

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  1. 1
    mythbri

    My cousin recently went into eclampsia in the last month of her pregnancy. She nearly died. Fortunately for the baby, she was far enough along in the pregnancy that he survived, too.

    It happens. People who think that continuing a pregnancy is NOT an active choice don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

    A good friend of mine is currently in and out of the hospital due to high blood pressure. She’s due in March. I’m hoping that nothing goes wrong before then, and that she has a safe delivery.

  2. 2
    slc1

    The notion that life begins at conception is complete balderdash. Since more then half of all conceived eggs fail to implant, that makes god the worlds leading abortioner.

  3. 3
    Ashley F. Miller

    Yeah, the whole pregnancy complications thing is pretty terrifying.

    Don’t ever google fistula.

  4. 4
    Ashley F. Miller

    To be fair, that seems to be generally in keeping with God’s behavior overall.

  5. 5
    Forbidden Snowflake

    You are 14.5 times more likely to survive pregnancy in Greece than you are in the US

    Unless the chance to survive a pregnancy in the US is less than 6.5%, that doesn’t make sense. Did you perhaps mean “You are 14.5 times less likely to die of pregnancy in Greece than you are in the US”?

  6. 6
    ButchKitties

    I think the case of McFall v Shimp pretty annihilates the “consent to sex is consent to pregnancy” argument. McFall needed bone marrow to live. Shimp volunteered to be tested for compatibility. He was the only match. This did not obligate him to go through with the bone marrow donation. He was allowed to back out even after volunteering to start the process.

    There are many reasons to have sex that have nothing to do with procreating.

    There is only one reason to have your HLA type tested against your cousin who is dying of blood disease–to eventually give him your bone marrow. If consent to testing that’s only purpose is to lead to bone marrow donation isn’t consent to actually donating bone marrow, then consent to a multipurpose activity like sex is definitely not consent to pregnancy.

  7. 7
    Giuoco Piano

    Ashley, please acknowledge Forbidden Snowflake’s comment and correct your post. Maternal survival rate is ~99.996% in Greece vs. ~99.979% in the US per WHO’s 2010 numbers. (approx 4 deaths/100,000 live births in Greece, approx 21 deaths/100,000 live births in the US)

    http://apps.who.int/gho/data/?vid=240

    If your “14.5 times more likely to survive pregnancy in Greece than you are in the US” statement were correct, US maternal survival rates would supposedly be ~7%.

  8. 8
    Ashley F. Miller

    changed

  9. 9
    Sansgerd

    More specifically Rectovaginal Fistula…your right….don’t google it.

  10. 10
    Carol Lynn

    Thanks. I needed this.

  11. 11
    dianne

    I can think of a whole raft of pregnancy complications I’d rather have a rectovaginal fistula than. At least RVF can be repaired. It’s gross, but it can be repaired. Other damage may be more permanent.

  12. 12
    amy

    Abortion is murder just look on google killing an innocent child just because someone can’t see it. Babies are surviving at such a small number of weeks people need to see what an abortion does to the child inside them. It made me feel so sick and sad to look at the pictures google had to offer. Look at them pictures and you will see what I see.

  13. 13
    freemage

    Good news! The Catholic Church has declared that fetuses are not “persons”,. and should not be treated such under the law–in any case where they might cost the RCC money.

    As Jason Langley, an attorney with Denver-based Kennedy Childs, argued in one of the briefs he filed for the defense, the court “should not overturn the long-standing rule in Colorado that the term ‘person,’ as is used in the Wrongful Death Act, encompasses only individuals born alive. Colorado state courts define ‘person’ under the Act to include only those born alive. Therefore Plaintiffs cannot maintain wrongful death claims based on two unborn fetuses.”

  14. 14
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    McFall v Shimp: was he afraid of needles? Couldn’t he donate under anesthesia? Why aren’t people out hounding *him* as a murderer? /rhetorical questions.

    That kills the “but it’s a person” argument even deader than pointing out that skiing isn’t consenting to get one’s arm broken.

  15. 15
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Then, Amy, God is the biggest abortionist of them all, because probably 40^% of pregnancies end in abortion, often before a woman knows she’s pregnant. He was already the biggest murderer. And that’s not to mention the clever schemes by which a hundred tadpoles or a thousand fish or a million sea urchins or two hundred kittens or baby birds are born so that one can survive to adulthood, nor the insects where babies are “born” by eating their way out of their mother. Nice fellow, your God.

  16. 16
    Piggy

    If life begins at conception, then the analogies Ashley used of self defense does not address the issue with abortion. In the case of self defense, the person that was killed was the criminal who did the crime, and justice is served. But what wrong has the fetus done to you that you have to kill it?

    The real issue is one side says it is wrong to kill for our convenience, the other side says it is not.

    I think then the mother would have to wrestle through this issue emotionally, morally, and in terms of the baby’s future.

  17. 17
    Emily Saunders

    I mean, yeah I agree that most people would agree with your assessment, that life does not in fact begin at conception. But speaking as one who has had one miscarriage, and is currently pregnant without planning to be (we used protection and I was on BC, but this still happened)– I, personally, believe that for me, I couldn’t in essence “kill” a potential child of mine.
    I have no problem with other women who do not feel the same way, and I’m sure many women do not. But myself, I tend to look at it as: if you let the pregnancy continue, and nothing happens like a medical emergency, or a miscarriage, etcetc, would that embryo/fetus continue into a living being? Most times, I would say yes.
    There are tragic cases where a woman becomes pregnant and delivers prematurely, WAY prematurely (so much so that the fetus would not be able to survive); are born with disorders (i.e., more than 90% of their brain missing), and in those cases, should you know about it ahead of time, I TRULY believe it is up to the woman [and her partner, should he/she be present] on what to do… and if her choice is to have an abortion, then that’s her choice.
    Mostly though (at the end of this long rant), I don’t think it’s anyone else’s decision or place to tell a woman what to do with her body. If she chooses to have sex with 30 different men a year, it’s her choice. If she gets pregnant and chooses to have an abortion for whatever reason, that’s also her choice. But it’s MY choice to believe that life does start at birth, and woe betide anyone who tells me differently– the zygote, embryo, fetus, baby, cell, WHATEVER, grows from day one of being implanted until they die– going from one cell at conception, to 100 billion cells by birth, to 100 trillion cells by the time they’re a “grown” adult; how can people say that, in effect, something like that is not alive in some way?

  18. 18
    quanticsakura

    This!
    Even after I became an atheist, I was strongly opposed to abortion under I understood it in these terms: a pregnancy is, to all effects, an organ donation. Let’s imagine that right now, there is a person dying in the hospital in need of a partial liver transplant, and I am a match. If I donate my liver, it’s a pretty safe operation, and the person lives instead of dying, and the liver grows over time anyways, but can I be FORCED to donate? Which is more important: that person’s right to life or my right to my bodily autonomy? In all cases except pregnancy, we have decided that my bodily autonomy is more important, and I can be neither forced nor coerced to donate organs, blood or tissue.
    When people try to argue against abortion, they are indeed saying that the bodily autonomy of the woman is less important than the life of the baby – that the woman should be forced to donate her uterus and her blood, with the months of physical distress, recovery time and risks to health and life that it entails. But if that is so, if it’s all about “saving lives”, then it should be mandatory for everyone to donate every organ and tissue they can, regardless of the health and life risks…

  19. 19
    Rollover Accident

    i actually do go along with an individual!

  20. 20
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