January 22nd, 2010

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness… Unless You’re in Utero

photo credit: Taz etc.

By the time their reign of terror had finally come to an end, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazis) had murdered roughly 20 million people. So abhorrent were these crimes (though they pale in comparison to Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong’s), that in an attempt to distance themselves from the sins of those responsible, Germany has made it a criminal offense to even display or use the Swastika (the party’s symbol), except for academic purposes. Documentaries have been made, books written, and a cultural disgust for all things Nazi has permeated society—and rightly so.

What, then, has been the cultural reaction to the collective mass murder of over twice the number felled by the Nazis? Today marks the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court case that serves as a large stain on America’s heavily-soiled standard of liberty. Since that time, the lives of roughly 52 million unborn children have been extinguished outright with the blessing of the federal government.

Clearly, there are rare instances in which abortion may be merited, or even necessary. However, the data clearly shows that the process of terminating an unborn individual’s life has become legalized, institutionalized, and embraced by many as a part of “family planning”, a “woman’s choice”, or a “private decision”.

Troubling details emerge as one begins to inquire further into the underlying issues. Consider, for example, that abortion kills more black Americans than the seven leading causes of death combined. Black women are more than three times as likely as white women to have an abortion; Hispanic women are roughly twice as likely. This imbalance is so accepted, apparently, that one Planned Parenthood (an organization heavily funded by the government) employee responded that a donor’s request to have his funds applied to the abortion of a black baby was “understandable”. Ironically, the first black president overturned a restriction one year ago that prevented American taxpayers’ money from going to organizations who provide abortions, with these operations being largely financed and operated in Africa.

Whatever the color of the unborn child’s skin, abortion has become a widespread method of terminating life. The Guttmacher Institute—Planned Parenthood’s own research arm—highlights a number of statistics that are both shocking and depressing.

  • Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion.
  • Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion.
  • Each year, about two percent of women aged 15-44 have an abortion; 47% of them have had at least one previous abortion.
  • 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
  • Women who have never married obtain two-thirds of all abortions.

The reasons listed above for abortion are not the only ones, however. Consider the troubling fact that an estimated 92 percent of all women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to end their child’s life.

Despite how embraced this process is, some have reversed course and seen the light. One Planned Parenthood leader, for example, quit after watching an abortion procedure take place. More interestingly, Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” in Roe v. Wade, had a change of heart and has since become an anti-abortion activist, even being arrested for her protests.

Even as the government’s actions repeatedly and fundamentally betray the statement, many Americans still verbally affirm their enjoyment of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—three pillars of freedom referenced in the Declaration of Independence. And yet, after 37 years of a Court-imposed “fundamental right” to snuff out the life of one’s unborn child, tens of millions of individuals have been denied these protections and potential enjoyments.

Even the current President, Barack Obama, feels that a child can be a punishment instead of a natural consequence of one’s actions. This evasion of consequences has become an institutionalized attempt to enjoy one’s own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness at the expense of another’s equally important life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. It bespeaks an underlying sentiment in public policy agreed upon by far too many—that, as Frédéric Bastiat once said, “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

Our values mean little if they are not equally applied, including and especially to those who cannot defend them on their own. To excoriate the actions of power-hungry German Nazis while glowingly praising the ability for mothers to choose to kill, in sum, twice as many innocent lives is something for which every American should be ashamed on this, the 37th anniversary of one of the worst decisions ever made in American history.

50 Responses to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness… Unless You’re in Utero”

  1. Curious
    January 22, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    If a first-term embryo is a “life” then are scattered ingredients throughout your kitchen that all appear on a Devil’s Food recipe already a cake? The ingredients are not already a cake–right?–because you’ve got to mix them just right and bake them for a length of time before the eggs, sugar and flour will have any cake-like qualities at all. Just because some things COULD be combined and manipulated–baked or gestated–to form another thing at a later date, that doesn’t mean they already are that thing. You know what I mean? The whole “ending a life” thing is so melodramatic when we’re talking embryos.

    My point is that an embryo still needs a lot of nutrient input and a long time to gestate, and that’s a huge health contribution from the mother, who, most believe, is under no obligation to bake any cakes she doesn’t want to. After all, this isn’t baking we’re talking about; pregnancy can be deadly. Indeed, just last summer I knew a mother who had had a “normal” pregnancy but in her third trimester both she and the baby died; her husband didn’t even know anything was wrong before she was already dead (embolism). He was supposed to be having his first child, but instead he lost his wife and baby and didn’t get to say good-bye. When mothers are given “warning signs” of a potentially dangerous pregnancy, it strikes me as particularly barbarian to force her to carry the baby anyway. So, Connor, it’s disappointing that you’re not looking at how many of those abortions pertain to the life or health of the mother.

    When we talk late-term abortions, it gets philosophically trickier, I’ll concede, because fetuses are getting kinda baby-like. But I could care less about the first, and early-second trimester (and yes I know they have a heart beat and fingers at that point-big deal). If pro-lifers would concede that first-trimester abortions are OK, you’d do much better convincing others to restrict later-term abortions, and build trust in the process. You’ll also get no where fast until you very loudly and publicly embrace exceptions for life and health of the mother. But as is, you all seem like zealots who can’t compromise, nor see reason, and that’s why so many people reflexively reject anything you propose.

    So, in short, cut the melodrama, start respecting women as much as you respect embryos, and I think you’ll get a lot more of your agenda accomplished. Good luck.

  2. a concerned mommy
    January 22, 2010 at 6:29 pm #

    Your analogy is a false one, Curious. The ingredients around the kitchen are like the sperm and egg. Putting them together is the sex, which is optional in most cases, and is where parental responsibility to a potential baby begins for both parents. Killing that baby once you create it is murder. If you don’t want to have a baby, be responsible and abstain from sex. Call me antiquated, but that is socially responsible, and should be taught as such.
    Once the fetus is implanted it is alive. I myself have had a miscarriage and I know the difference between a dead fetus and an alive one. Respecting women means teaching them to respect themselves and their great gifts of womanhood and motherhood. Most pro-lifers allow for abortions in the cases of rape, incest, and where the life of the mother is in danger, so that is not the argument. Allowing for at-will abortions is irresponsibly giving women permission to murder. They had their choice when they had sex, so the whole pro-choice argument just seems vicious against humanity, selfish, and illogical to me.
    Thanks Connor for this post. I love that the phrasing in the Declaration of Independence declares abortion as a violation of human rights because the right to Life is given upon creation, not birth.

  3. Cameron
    January 22, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    it’s disappointing that you’re not looking at how many of those abortions pertain to the life or health of the mother.

    Abortions performed for reasons of rape, incest, and health of the mother account for roughly 2% of all abortions each year. Using an extreme example like you did in order to condone all abortions ignores the facts.

    When pro-abortionists reject any and all efforts to reduce the number of abortions in this country, including horrific cases like partial birth abortions, you seem like zealots and destroy any trust in the process.

  4. Connor
    January 22, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    Abortions performed for reasons of rape, incest, and health of the mother account for roughly 2% of all abortions each year.

    Lest Mr. Curious be given any additional support for his views, it should be noted that the percentage of abortions from rape or incest is much lower:

    Actual percentage of U.S. abortions in “hard cases” are estimated as follows: in cases of rape or incest, 0.3%; in cases of risk to maternal health or life, 1%; and in cases of fetal abnormality, 0.5%. About 98% of abortions in the United States are elective, including socio-economic reasons or for birth control. This includes perhaps 30% for primarily economic reasons. (emphasis added)

  5. Marie
    January 22, 2010 at 11:06 pm #

    In Germany, we all just blame Hitler. It’s easier to blame a militant dictator for murder than it is to think of 30 million different women all making choices independent of each other to end the lives of the most vulnerable. There is no one leader to go after to stop this atrocity. It is so much more upsetting to me this way, because as you point out it is so much more acceptable in our society this way.

    As to ingredients in the kitchen… I’ve considered this concept for years. But ingredients in the kitchen do not have the entire DNA for the genetic make-up of the dish that they will someday become a part of. They are just an egg, or just a sperm. Once mixed, you have commenced creation. You need no other ingredients, although like in baking you will need a process for the full result.

    But still the analogy is flawed. The closest I can get to comparing is to think about bread. A crumb of bread is still bread. Perhaps not a full loaf. Perhaps more difficult to see. Perhaps filling less space. True. But a crumb of bread is still bread. And an embryo, a fetus is still a person. To quote a familiar Seuss story – “A person’s a person no matter how small.”

    But if you really want to go on with that idea, the most lenient I can be with the analogy would be to suggest that at conception, you have mixed all the ingredients you need for a loaf of bread. The embryonic stage is when that loaf is rising. Sometimes the yeast has died and does not allow for rising, and this makes it very difficult to have the loaf of bread you were hoping to have. But it is still a loaf of bread. Unbaked, yes. But still edible, though not in the form you’d hoped for. Still having the elements in place for a loaf of bread.

    The fetal stage is when that loaf is in the oven. We’ve all heard that phrase used for a woman gestating – “a bun in the oven.” Perhaps the heat isn’t enough to fully cook the bread. Perhaps the bread is even over-cooked. Perhaps your loaf is higher on one end than the other. Maybe there are air pockets in the loaf. But it is a loaf of bread. Birth is when the oven door opens, and whatever the result– too soon, too late, flawed or perfect– you still have your loaf of bread.

    Now the analogy really is flawed because PEOPLE are baking bread. But the reality is the ingredients mixed here are for another PERSON, not a loaf of bread. The analogy would have to be bread begets bread. Or bread is bread is bread is bread.

    It is disturbing to me that people can so casually entertain themselves, and then decide that the rest of the process is just inconvenient, difficult, scary, overwhelming, costly, or whatever other reason. That so many abortions are from “unplanned” pregnancies is no justification. Most BIRTHS are from unplanned pregnancies! If women could give life the chance, there would be a discovery that even unplanned can become very much wanted, loved, and cherished. Even if the women is unable to offer a home to this child by the time of delivery, there certainly are other homes where the child would be wanted, loved, and cherished.

  6. Ron
    January 23, 2010 at 10:10 am #

    Would you combine and mix all of the ingredients to bake a cake and then decide, “oh well, that was fun but it’s so damned inconvenient to actually bake this cake. I guess I’ll just throw it away?”
    That’s horribly wasteful, yet that’s what is happening. I understand that occasionally someone will mix the batter and then discover that the oven is unsafe and might start the house on fire if they don’t turn it off right now, but I’m not asking anybody to risk their lives to bake your cake, but if you enjoy mixing batter, but don’t want to eat your cake, wouldn’t it be better to give your cake to someone who is starving rather than simply wasting the batter?

  7. Elise
    January 23, 2010 at 11:28 am #

    “an estimated 92 percent of all women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to end their child’s life. ”

    And most of those women know that the prenatal testing for genetic disorders is never 100% accurate. A woman aborts often because she finds out that instead of having a 1/10,000 chance of DS, her child has a 1/30 chance. So she aborts anyway because she doesn’t want to take that chance, even though it is more than likely her child will be fine.

  8. Josh Williams
    January 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    I thought that the decision of Roe vs. wade was clear; that it is not in the federal government’s power to legislate such a personal morality issue. Whether one views this as an implied “blessing” of abortion depends on your point of view. (My personal view is this is a states rights issue.)

    Connor, you might come back with the argument that murder is wrong and it effects everybody in society, but keep in mind that every society has their own mores about the use of violence and deliberate killing. Most people accept the idea of homicide in self-defense and many accept the idea of execution for capital crimes, as morally problematic as that is. Most people accept that soldiers killing soldiers in war is not murder. In many aboriginal societies, if a child is born with severe defects, it is left to die of exposure. The belief being that such a child can never fend for itself nor productively contribute to society. Thus, it would be cruel and selfish to bring it into the wold when it can only expect suffering. (this is not the case in the modern world, of course)………. The point of this is not an appeal to the masses; but to make the point that the idea of “life” being sacred is not as concrete or universal as it might seem.

    The idea of “personhood” brings us to the real crux of the problem: can you have two legally defined “people” occupying and dependent upon a single body? The answer is, not really, as one must invariable have veto power over the rights of the other. So it IS just as simple as the question of the “rights” of the mother versus the “rights” of the fetus.

    If a fetus comes to term and is born, it is because the mother chooses to forgo her own rights and her own bodily security in order to allow that future person to gestate inside her body. If the mother chooses to exercise control over her own body and to protect herself from the potential dangers of childbearing, then she has the full right to terminate the pregnancy.


    Connor, I know your going to come back and say, “If the mother wished to protect herself from the risks of pregnancy, why didn’t she practice safe sex? Arguable she forgoes the right to her own body by engaging in unprotected sex. ” However this does not answer the philosophical problem of personhood.

    The idea of personhood, necessitates we set some arbitrary point in time when a “human” becomes a “person.” Pro-life advocates set this as the point of conception, but this is as arbitrary and artificial a distinction as any. Both ova and spermatozoa are as equally “alive” as a fertilized zygote. Both are “potential” people just the same as a zygote, the only difference is the zygote is somewhat more likely more likely to survive, but sperm and egg still have the same potential. This is really a modern version of the old theological problem of “ensoulment”, which has never really been solved.

    In fact, Ova and spermatozoa are “genetically distinct” from the somatic cells of the parents, the structure of the chromosomes has been altered. See “chromosomal crossover” Another problem with the “genetically distinct” argument is the existence of identical twins and tetragametic chimeras. In attempt to solve this and other problems, some people have created the ad-hoc hypothesis that personhood really begins around day 14 or so, after which identical twins and chimeras become extremely unlikely. (Note this is rather like Ptolemy’s idea of “epicycles” in the motion of the planets.)

    In a sense the question of abortion isn’t just about abortion, it’s really a question of how you feel about unplanned, unwanted pregnancy.

    I agree that abortion is selfish, and in most cases it is not necessary when adoption is available. However, selfishness is not a necessary or sufficient reason to legally enforce your own morality on another person, especially when their actions do not affect your own rights and liberty as an individual. Whereas enforcing your morality will affect their rights. Abortion is not the same a murder, and condoning abortion is not the same as condoning murder. There is no “slippery-slope” argument to be had here.

  9. Charles
    January 23, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

    I won’t argue with you about abortion being murder – I’m sure neither of us would be able to persuade the other. What does trouble me here is the method by which you appear to want this practice halted. You are proposing that the federal government intrude in the most personal decisions of an individual. If you are willing to concede any circumstance under which an abortion is necessary, then you are proposing that government investigate and intervene in all cases where such a circumstance is alleged so that a determination can be made, in court one assumes, whether the specifics of the rape, incest or fatal disease qualify.

    I understand people can feel strongly about this issue, and that they may believe it to be murder most foul, but we must ask ourselves whether this is not one of those situations in which government intervention would be so onerous and pervasive that we need to find an alternative.

  10. Curious
    January 23, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    “The ingredients around the kitchen are like the sperm and egg. Putting them together is the sex…”

    You’ve overlooked the most important part of my cake analogy. Think of the phrase “Eating for two.” To reinforce pro-life principals, people often forget that babies don’t magically arise from egg and sperm alone, but also from millions of molecules of iron, calcium, protein etc. and also caloric energy that must build up and be put together for months on end. Those nutrients and energy would normally be devoted to a the mother’s life force only, but she’s “eating for two.” So, at the point of conception, “A Concerned Mommy,” almost ALL the ingredients necessary for a baby are still scattered all over the kitchen, so to speak (and literally!).

    “ingredients in the kitchen do not have the entire DNA for the genetic make-up of the dish that they will someday become a part of. … You need no other ingredients, although like in baking you will need a process for the full result.”

    In my analogy the Devil’s Food recipe is the DNA. I thought that was pretty clear. And the mere fact that a recipe exists is not sufficient evidence that a cake exists. Indeed, whether or not there is a recipe has no correlation at all to the existence of a cake, hence the existence of DNA is not evidence whatsoever that a person exists.

    “A crumb of bread is still bread.”

    Ah, you are correct, but still flawed. A zygot is not a crumb of bread; its a grain of flour. As I wrote above, don’t pretend that an ovum and sperm are the only ingredients necessary to grow a zygot into a person. You’re entitled to your opinion, but not you’re own facts, it’s just factually inaccurate to pretend a sperm and egg are the only ingredients.

    “Would you combine and mix all of the ingredients to bake a cake and then decide, “oh well, that was fun but it’s so damned inconvenient to actually bake this cake. I guess I’ll just throw it away?” That’s horribly wasteful…”

    I, and millions of others, probably would mix the ingredients to make a cake, and sometimes afterward throw away the mix, if making cake batter was orgasmic. Horribly wasteful? Sure, but so is a trip to Disney Land. Indeed, Disney Land’s very existence is “wasteful” unless you accept that pleasure and fun and inherently good, like beauty and truth.

    As for the low percentage of overall abortions that were done because of rape, incest, life or health of the mother, I’d remind you that child bearing is inherently dangerous, so really ALL abortions pertain to the life and health of the mother, whether that’s the state motivation for the procedure or not. Abortions are also risky, I realize, but the death rate is lower than for child birth, and even if it were equal or higher than child birth, it would still be a women’s choice to gamble with her own life in the way that she chooses.

    • Connor
      January 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

      … I’d remind you that child bearing is inherently dangerous, so really ALL abortions pertain to the life and health of the mother, whether that’s the state motivation for the procedure or not. Abortions are also risky, I realize, but the death rate is lower than for child birth, and even if it were equal or higher than child birth, it would still be a women’s choice to gamble with her own life in the way that she chooses.

      Another unsubstantiated claim that astoundingly ignores the reality of what occurs in abortion. You say that “the death rate is lower [for abortion] than for child birth”, but is that true? Consider a successful birth: one mother who remains alive, and a new child. Two lives. Consider a “successful” abortion: one mother who remains alive, and a life extinguished. Which process, all things being equal, results in a higher death rate?

      Surely you were referring to the maternal death rate, but your unwillingness to factor in the near-constant death of a child (in whatever stage of development he or she may be) for the abortion side of the equation leaves little basis for an honest and accurate comparison as you are attempting to do.

      As per the “pro-choice” argument of a woman “gambling” with her own life, that gamble took place when she entered into sexual relations. The attempt to escape “punishment” and avoid the natural consequences of this gamble is not justification to end another life. It’s like saying that somebody going to Las Vegas and losing their life savings on a single hand of Blackjack is justified in then “gambling” with the action of taking the money and running. If you don’t want to lose your money, then simply stay away from Las Vegas.

  11. Clumpy
    January 25, 2010 at 1:59 am #

    I acknowledge that this is an incredibly difficult debate; though I don’t feel that abortion is necessarily murder in the conventional sense I definitely feel that it is something we need to view with fresh eyes as a society and consider a destructive, unnatural act even when it may be appropriate.

    That said, I write for one main reason: Can we please ditch the baking metaphor? Wherever you stand on this issue I feel it’s insensitive and does little but to distract from the often-harrowing realities of the question with increasingly abstract comparisons.

  12. Charles
    January 25, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    What we need to do is abandon the idea that government can or should intervene in women’s personal medical decisions. It is not possible to ban abortion, only to drive it back underground where it is likely to cause more rather than less harm. We have never been able to prohibit alcohol use, drug use or prostitution through law enforcement, what makes us think we can prohibit women who are not visibly pregnant from obtaining a medical procedure in a private place? What kind of police state tactics would be necessary to achieve such a result? What would be the effect on unleashing that amount of intrusive government power on our society?

    We need to concentrate on ways to reduce the number of abortions, a goal that is supported by a large majority of people and one that can actually be reached. Looking at countries that have a low per capita abortion rate, what can we learn? How do those lessons translate to a diverse population such as ours? What changes do we need to make in our country to reduce the incidence of abortion?

  13. a concerned mommy
    January 25, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    I reject moral relativism. I don’t care if I’m ridiculed for stating, unequivocally, that abortion is wrong, evil, and has consequences. It is dangerous to society to condone abortion, and that’s what Roe v Wade does, because the moral relativism that is necessary to justify abortion is the same kind of moral relativism that allows for genocide.

    Abortion could never be 100% illegal because then when a serious medical issue is at hand mothers would not be able to be saved, but at-will abortions where there has been no incest, rape, and the mother’s life isn’t at risk should be banned. And as a woman who has had babies, I will ignore the statement that labor is dangerous to the mother’s life because abortions are dangerous and have caused many deaths too.

  14. Charles
    January 25, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    Concerned mommy, the question I am raising is how the government (which must enforce the law) can determine whether a specific woman has been the victim of rape or incest or whether her life is at risk. Making such an assessment would of necessity be a very intrusive act and would involve the government bureaucracy in highly personal and sensitive matters. Think for a moment about how the government would, in a timely manner, obtain this information. Would you want the government examining your family in this manner to resolve a request by a female family member?

    Moral relativism is definitely an issue. A government that executes people without being sure they are guilty, that considers the murder of entire families to be mere collateral damage in an illegal occupation, that incarcerates people for victimless crimes and cannot maintain even minimal personal security for those in prison – that government is not setting a moral example for its citizens. Anti-choice activists usually fail to acknowledge their own moral relativism.

  15. jasonthe
    January 25, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    Applying your “equally applied” logic, you should be one of the biggest proponents of universal health care.

    Yet I’d assume you’re not.

    That’s called a convenient hypocrisy, in epistemic terms.

    And I highly doubt that increased incidents of abortion use among minority women is solely the result of legal access to abortion. Which infers that the solution would not be making that access illegal.

    Education and pregnancy prevention would decrease the number of abortions. Yet, I would assume you would also oppose the federal funding of such efforts.

    You see the circular logic I’m shining a light on here?

    We all fall victim to choosing information that defends and perpetuates the ideas we’ve decided to believe (more epistemology there to discuss, if you’re interested) and this post is one of the most blatant examples of a person doing just that I’ve had the joy of reading in a very long time.

  16. a concerned mommy
    January 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    Charles, the government says abortion is ok. I’m saying, they shouldn’t have done that. The government shouldn’t examine a woman to say whether she was a victim of rape or incest to determine whether she should be allowed an abortion. If a woman goes into a doctor’s office and says she was victimized and needs to be able to terminate the pregnancy, then that decision should be made in the doctor’s office as a matter of health. If she is lying, she’ll have to deal with the consequences of her lies and consequential murder if proven guilty in a court of law, or at the bar of God. But all the government needs to do is declare that at-will abortion that does not fit the criteria I already explained will be illegal because it violates the constitutional right to life of that child.

  17. Charles
    January 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

    If a government bans an activity but does not or cannot enforce that ban, it is worthless. The Constitution, by the way, does not guarantee a right to life implicitly, and certainly does not extend any rights to a fetus in utero. Pregnant women are without a doubt entitled to the full rights of every citizen. Subjecting them to the threat of life imprisonment for a statement made in the privacy of a doctor’s office with no other witnesses present which would be privileged anyway is ridiculous. (I have to assume you would not require the death penalty for abortion since that would violate the principle of respect for human life.)

    Instead of demanding that the government ban something it cannot possibly control, why not work to reduce the need and desire for abortion?

  18. a concerned mommy
    January 25, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    Charles, I don’t get your reasoning. People commit murder all the time, so should we say that it’s legal to kill people because we can’t always “enforce that ban?” Apply the same rationale to abortion as for any murder, which allows for a distinction between killing in offense from killing in defense. It is no different.
    If the right to life is not secured by the Constitution then who cares about the mom, or any of us for that matter. Screw rights, right? Your reasoning is inconsistent. The statement in the Declaration of Independence being quoted here is, “We hold these truths to be self–evident,
    That all men are created equal,
    That they are endowed by their Creator
    with certain unalienable Rights,
    That among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    It doesn’t say we are BORN equal, it says that we are CREATED equal. Fetuses have been Created, though not yet born. They, according to the Declaration of Independence, have as much right to life as the rest of us, unless they are destroying life. Destruction of life leading to the death penalty is just because the killer has forfeited his/her rights by destroying the rights of others, by their actions and choices. It’s called punishment. All men have the natural right to live freely, but they forfeit their rights when they infringe on the rights of others, and a society has the right to remove them from their society once that is found to be the case. A mother who kills her child should at the very least serve a sentence in prison, and yes, I think that holds true for abortive mothers.

    Instead of demanding that the government ban something it cannot possibly control, why not work to reduce the need and desire for abortion?

    Of course we should, but are people willing to accept that religion and morality are the way to do it?

  19. Josh Williams
    January 25, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    Concerned Mommy- In your first post, are you proposing that your Morality is absolute, but the morality of other people is merely relative?

    Prove it…..the burden is on you.

  20. Josh Williams
    January 25, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

    Sorry, not your first post, I mean comment #14

  21. a concerned mommy
    January 25, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    There is no burden on me. By claiming that I am wrong you undermine the argument for moral relativity, which seems to be what you are trying to argue for, but in doing so you are admitting that you also have a true/false and right/wrong paradigm that you work under, or else you could not claim that I am wrong. To argue for moral relativism is to admit that such a thing cannot exist in nature. Someone is right, and someone is wrong, but the argument that there is no such thing as right and wrong flies in the face of reality. By arguing you are saying you’re right, and if Truth doesn’t exist then there is no point in arguing, now is there?

  22. vontrapp
    January 25, 2010 at 11:00 pm #

    concerned: that was probably one of the most awesome responses to a moral relativist I have EVER seen! 🙂

    I think there are some very good points made here against an all out ban. It is definitely something we would want to be VERY careful about. We don’t want to advance the police state, though if you really wanted substantial anti-abortion legislation to come about, put the idea in the power-elites minds that it would offer a convenient onus for expanding the police state and you might just get your wish. 😉 For reals, though, I don’t think we need to make abortion impossible or extinct, but as concerned suggests, merely allow a certain legality which allows charges to be brought against an abortive mother, and with evidence and trial she would be brought to justice, but allow doctors and women to determine amongst themselves whether they believe the abortion is justified under whatever guidelines are legislated, and instead of aiming to prevent it, just aim at punishing anyone caught. This won’t stop all abortions, but it will do three things: a) it will remove the social sanction of abortion, women would no longer get abortions as a matter of course, they would at least put some more thought to it, facing a severe if perhaps rare consequence. b) it will provide a legal framework in which those opposed to a specific abortion or abortion in general to stop it under threat of prosecution and a recourse if the mother goes through with it. c) I actually started to with two things, then a third popped into mind momentarily, but now it is gone again. Maybe I’ll think of it again later.

  23. Josh Williams
    January 25, 2010 at 11:04 pm #

    Thanks, Concerned. I appreciate the response.

    I think your argument is a bit of a specialization- in other words, it doesn’t cover all possibilities. Let me make the definition that I can consider some things to be absolutely right or absolutely wrong, while still having a moral system that is, overall, relativist. It would only be absolutist if I considered that all things could be reduced to a series of questions of absolutely right, or absolutely wrong. I suppose your definition differs from this.

    I consider an absolutist morality to be one that must also be exclusive.

    In fact, I know of some quite simple and persuasive arguments against moral absolutism, which are not so easy to counter. I’ve run out of time and I’ll post a few in my next comment.

  24. Josh Williams
    January 25, 2010 at 11:08 pm #

    Just because I consider moral absolutism to be absolutely wrong…..(what other options are there?) does not mean that I am an absolutist, at least where morality is concerned.

  25. Josh Williams
    January 25, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    OK, I have a better counter argument. If I consider some things to be absolutely wrong Then according to you argument, i am an absolutist. Then, you are a moral absolutist, and I am also a moral absolutist. Then, why do our moral opinions differ? One of us must be wrong, but that would mean that one of us is not really an absolutist…..

  26. a concerned mommy
    January 25, 2010 at 11:42 pm #

    J. W., I think you can be an absolutist without being absolutely right. The question, to me, is not whether there is such a thing as right and wrong so much as what is the Truth about what is right and wrong.

    As you can probably tell from my other comments, I don’t claim to know everything, but I do believe that certain things are right and certain things are wrong. As a Christian I also believe in mercy along with accepting consequences as natural and guaranteed.

    Morality is not mutually exclusive to Christianity, though. Cicero’s writings about natural law argue that morality is natural and exists outside of humanity in nature. Call it conscience, instinct, innate morality, or whatever you like. That said, I do not know of any code of morality that says that it is morally OK to kill one’s own progeny, except for the moral relativity that exists in places like Communist China, for example, as a part of Marxism. Look at how that is working out for them.

  27. Curious
    January 26, 2010 at 3:43 am #

    A Concerned Mommy: Yes of course there is good vs. evil in this world, but most of life is lived in shades of gray. Good vs. bad is very elementary school; hopefully you’ll learn soon enough to teach your children that most of life is about aggravating and mitigating factors, not simple dilemmas where one choice is “good” and the other is “bad.” If life were so easy, we wouldn’t need guidance from gurus and gods.

    Charles, I very much like how your government-intrusion argument appeals to this crowd. Kudos. It appeals to me as well, by the way.

    Connor, you are correct that my claim was unsubstantiated, but that’s a wee-bit of a straw man since you didn’t address the central issue in my post. Instead you just criticized me for not accounting for the death rate of fetuses during abortions. Well, Connor, I very well explained why I wouldn’t do that: it’s because the zygot is but a speck of flour, and an embryo barely more than mixed batter, and thus it is a “waste” to destroy either, but not such a waste that it justifies government intrusion. Could you address my point that the egg and sperm, while obviously crucial, are but two cells out of billions of atoms that will eventually make a baby, and so perhaps for that reason it’s literally premature to be giving that zygot the rights of a full-grown human?

  28. Curious
    January 26, 2010 at 4:07 am #

    Here’s some substantiation for my claim that abortion is safer that childbirth:

    “Abortion surveillance – U.S., 1998,” National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC, at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/



    Death rate for abortion: 6 per 100,000
    Death rate from childbirth: 11 per 100,000
    That’s almost twice as deadly.

    Studies that looked at women’s lives one year after abortion find that–not surprisingly–they are more likely to be dead than women who carried the child to birth. This says little about the safety of abortion, I’m afraid, and more about the lives of women who find themselves needing abortions (on average more reckless, dangerous, chaotic – forgive them).

    I repeat, however, before you dismiss my substantiation as cherry-picking (which was inevitable) that while it seems abortion is safer than childbirth, it matters little, since women have a right to self defense against entities inside them that have fewer rights than she does (for the reasons I’ve already discussed). I’m not saying zygots and embryos are worthless, only that they have fewer rights than mommie, and are beholden to her welcome.

  29. a concerned mommy
    January 26, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    Rudely, you have accused me of being simplistic, Curious. I was having a philosophical conversation with a moral relativist. If you need to Google what that means, go ahead and do that.

    Thanks for proving my point for me, by the way, about abortion being dangerous on many levels. Perhaps you should examine suicide as one of the factors increasing mortality in abortive mothers.

    Your flour and batter analogy has already been discussed here, analyzed, and discovered to be ridiculously false, so please don’t go there again. It isn’t working because there’s no solid logic behind it.

    The right to self defense is only valid when an offense is committed, and a mother who creates a baby by having unprotected sex made the initial choice to have that sex and create that baby. There is no need for defense there unless the baby tries to kill the mother, and birth is not that, so let’s not bother to go there either. By having sex the mother created a social contract with the baby to take care of it because its existence is a natural consequence of her decision to have sex knowing that it can create a baby. The baby being taken care of in the womb is just part of fulfilling that contract between mother and child. The right to choose concerns sex, not the consequences of it, and yet we treat babies like they’re stealing from us when we knowingly created them in the first place.

    To invoke the self-defense argument is to admit that the baby should have some right to protect itself from being murdered by its mother, who created it willfully.

  30. a concerned mommy
    January 26, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    Connor, I don’t mean to hijack the conversation. Cut me off whenever you want. :o)

  31. vontrapp
    January 26, 2010 at 11:05 am #

    Curious, I grow tired of your flawed analogies. You say that a zygote is but a speck, and needs “millions more atoms” to become a baby. Well then by that same logic, a baby needs millions upon millions more atoms to become an adult. A baby boy that will grow to be a linebacker will grow from 10 lb at birth to 300 lb as a line backer. That’s 30 times bigger! So if it took “millions more atoms” to complete the baby, it takes 30 times that more to complete the “person.” So I guess we can just kill babies. And I guess we can kill middle school children, they’re only half a person after all, and they put an unfair burden on the parents to feed, shelter, and educate them.

  32. Jocelyn
    January 27, 2010 at 10:18 pm #

    Wow, Connor, what a post. And what a discussion.

    My view is simple but firm. I am not a philosopher so I won’t go there. I’m almost not a political expert or even near it… so I won’t try that one, either.

    I do however have my faith–my belief in God and my will to follow Him. I know, because of my life and my experiences, which no one can disprove, that God lives. I know that He is my Father, that He created all things. And I know that life is sacred.

    A fetus is part of creation. It is a baby waiting to be born. As a mother of two, I have felt life form inside of me– and it is nothing short of a miracle. It is something to be awed, to be reverenced, and to be respected.

    I believe creation is sacred and sexual intimacy is a power intended by God to be used between a husband and wife to strengthen marriage and, of course, create life.

    At-will abortion IS wrong. It is wrong to kill an unborn child except in extreme, carefully weighed cases (rape, incest, risk of health to the mother). The killing of an unborn child just because it is “convenient” is akin to murder.

    I don’t think women who have abortions are bad people. I do, however, think they are misguided and making a tragic mistake, one that they will have to face up to before God. Abortion hurts the unborn child, true. But it also hurts the woman who has the abortion.

    God has laws. His creations, nature all around us, revolve around laws. There are things that are right and things that are wrong. At-will abortion is wrong.

    I know my belief cannot PROVE to anyone to side with me, but I guess that wasn’t my point. I just wanted to get it out there that I believe in life because of my faith– because God is God; His laws are eternal; and He respects life.

    For the best article I think has ever been written about abortion, read this.

  33. Tim Harper
    February 9, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    Doctrine and Covenants 134:2 pretty much sums it up:

    “We believe that no government can exist in peace except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.”

    The protection of life being the standard, there seems to be little question when an abortion may be appropriate, and not appropriate.

  34. A lowly Student
    February 16, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

    To me the only thing that ever mattered was choice. To tell a women that she cannot do something with her own body is wrong. Who am I to tell a woman she can’t have an abortion? Without wasting too much more of your time, I guess my main point is that everyone should have a chance at a second shot and be allowed to choose.

  35. Ron
    February 20, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    to the Lowly Student,
    A woman absolutely has the choice to choose what she does with her body. She doesn’t however have the right to choose what she does with someone else’s body. She made the choice to allow that baby in to her body. (I understand that in cases of Rape or Incest, she didn’t have a choide.)
    It’s time to stop mincing words. This isn’t about the right to choose, it’s about the right to murder inconvenient people.

  36. jim
    March 4, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

    In researching this topic, I found some surprising articles. One is that The Anti-Defamation League claims there is an anti-Semitic element to anti-abortion extremists. Claiming that some groups have targeted abortion doctors who are Jewish, and claiming that the Jews have control of the abortion medical practice.

    In addition the organization objects to the use of imagery or speech which compares the holocaust to emotionally sway the public in controversial topics. For example the use of PETA in comparing the death of animals for food or other purposes and the holocaust.

  37. Charles
    March 5, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    There is an inherent violence in the anti-choice movement. The idea, constantly promoted by the movement’s leaders, that abortion = murder leads inevitably to violence. If you truly believe that someone is committing repeated murder and the authorities are ignoring it, then don’t you have a moral obligation to put a stop to this murder by any means necessary? Isn’t killing in that scenario justified in your world view?

    There needs to be a serious racheting down of the rhetoric by those who claim to be pro-life because their inflammatory doctrines provide the slightly deranged in their following with every incentive to commit murder.

    Instead of calling a woman’s desire to control her own body and her own destiny “the right to murder inconvenient people”, those who feel strongly about terminating pregnancies should work with others to understand and alleviate the conditions that make abortion a necessary choice for some women. But no, we find the anti-abortion forces are also anti-contraception, against an expression of human sexuality outside of heterosexual marriage, against sex education in the schools, and against programs that would lift women and men out of poverty. These are religious views, not a concern with human life.

  38. carissa
    March 5, 2010 at 6:42 pm #

    Before roe v wade, the abortion issue was left up to the states, right?

    A question to pro-lifers: do you want a federal BAN on abortion (the opposite of roe v wade) or do you want the decision to go back to the states?

  39. Jeffrey T
    March 6, 2010 at 12:24 am #


    I want the issue to just go back to the states. I may support a state ban on abortion, but I don’t think the federal government has constitutional jurisdiction over the issue, except via constitutional amendment.

  40. jim
    March 6, 2010 at 1:38 am #

    Concerned Mommy,
    “… morality is natural and exists outside of humanity in nature. Call it conscience, instinct, innate morality, or whatever you like. That said, I do not know of any code of morality that says that it is morally OK to kill one’s own progeny…”

    There are species of animals on earth that kill and eat their own progeny. Certain species of fish and lizards come to mind. People who study dinosaurs say that frequently occurred. Preying mantis females are known to eat their mate, usually they start before the act of reproduction is fully complete.

    I have seen beautiful swans that you think are just so innocent kill another one. Also little baby chicks pushing the other eggs or smaller siblings out of the nest. I am not so sure that morality as humanity sees it exists in nature. Instinct is not the same as morality.

    About the Human code concerning killing ones own children. Its known to have occurred in human history, and not as a part of communism or what not. One example goes back to prehistoric times.

    “Marvin Harris estimated that among Paleolithic hunters 23-50% of newborn children were killed. He argued that the goal was to preserve the 0.001% population growth of that time.”

    I found that from a wiki entry about infanticide, it includes a citation to support that statement, I haven’t confirmed it. Its amazing to me that people could have consciously engineered population control on themselves that long ago.

    The article goes on in depth about reasons why it occurred in various forms. The thought mostly seems to be around limiting population, poverty, shortages of food etc… Some cultures preffered to selectively kill infant girls as that had a stronger effect on limiting population growth. Also the increased fighting for the limited number of females by males also reduced population through murder. Its difficult stuff to read really.

    Isn’t there a believe among LDS people that there is plenty of room on earth for everyone? That there isn’t really limited resources? That seems to be on conflict with most information on the topic.

  41. S. Logan
    March 7, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    I don’t know of many people who are as opposed to abortion as I am; however, I have to question the consequences of pro-life legislation and its connection to ‘parental rights’.

    Most pro-life legislation has been fought and won over the principle of ‘fetal life rights’. The problem comes when government has to assign a guardian ad litem to oversee that the un-born’s ‘life rights’ are not violated. In connection of birth, the practicing OB/GYN is generally given at litem power to preside over the well-being of the baby. This, however, has several severe problems. Two of the leading problems are as follows: First, the doctors are then legally obliged to work on behalf of the baby before the mother. Second, the doctors are staring down the barrel of a malpractice suit on every birth. In the United States, C-section rates are over 30% when even such liberal organizations like the WHO say that this number should be less than 10% (absolutely no higher than 15%). Why this discrepancy in OB/GYN care in the United States? Because C-section operations are considered the ‘last case scenario’ — the very last thing a doctor can do for a patient. This keeps their malpractice payout very low.

    When we enact pro-life legislation, we have to wonder what the consequences on parental rights will be if we stipulate that the unborn legally has life-rights. Already, several court cases are trying to ban home-birth and birthing center births because these are active danger-zones for the unborn. After all, the unborn have life rights that the state is bound to protect — even against the wishes of the parents who want to lovingly welcome their child into this life at home or at a birth-center. The argument is that the hospitals are the safest institutions for birth — and if the state must protect the life-interest of the un-born, then the state must regulate where such births occur. If the ad litem is generally the practicing OB/GYN (who looks out more for the life of the unborn than that of the parent), then the state must necessarily require that all births occur in the hospital. Most of the prohibition of home and birth center births come under the pro-life legislation. In Utah, pro-life legislation — granting life rights to the unborn fetus — is shutting down birth centers and birth suites. Furthermore, home-birth and midwifery is on the chopping block as well — all based on pro-life legislation.

    Birth isn’t the only place where pro-life legislation is threatening parental rights. Extensions of these arguments have been applied to newborns and small children. Child Protective Services (CPS) has been given massive powers throughout different states, all based on the ‘life-rights’ arguments that are argued for in pro-life legislation.

    My point in all of this is that we should consider (or reconsider) all of the consequences to those things we emotionally support. We should never give government power in one area if, in the process of it carrying out its duty, it must necessarily violate the life, liberty, and property of the people in another area. We must accept that there are certain duties that the government cannot necessarily act in while preserving all life, liberty, and property — and that we must not, in order to preserve all of our liberties, accept a little infringe on our liberty and freedom in order to gain a utilitarian outcome.

  42. jim
    March 8, 2010 at 12:06 am #

    What is the foundation for the LDS stand against abortion?

    Various forms of contraception, abortion and even infanticide have existed for thousands of years, long before Nazis ever came into being.

    Issues of race, chromosomal disorders, health problems, or money, career, relational problems are interesting stats, but don’t really address the LDS objection to any reason for abortion.

  43. Jeffrey T
    March 8, 2010 at 12:25 am #

    For me, Jim, the LDS stance on abortion is not rooted in the life-rights of the fetus, but rather the sanctity of consensual sexual intercourse and its connection to child-bearing. Otherwise, why would abortion ever be considered appropriate in the event of rape? Is that child not also a living person? Why should it’s rights be waived, merely because the mother did not consent to the act that formed it? For this reason, the issue here is consent in the sexual intercourse; and, if consensual intercourse leads to conception, we are morally obligated to bring that conception to term (not because of the life-rights of the embryo, but because of the nature and purpose of sexual intercourse).

    For me, that also makes it very hard to encode an abortion ban into law. I think the widespread use of abortion is evil; but I don’t entirely know if such practice should be within the jurisdiction of law. It certainly shouldn’t be within the jurisdiction of federal law; even those who view abortion as murder should realize that, because murder itself is not within the jurisdiction of federal law.

  44. carissa
    March 8, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    S Logan,

    You addressed all of my same concerns with pro-life legislation (although, I too, am very pro-life). Something to really think about.

  45. Charles
    March 8, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    Jim has an excellent point. The concept of “parental rights” is destroyed by actions that remove the mother’s right to determine whether her pregnancy should be carried to term. Jeffrey also is correct that a religious belief that an embryonic life is entitled to rights makes it impossible to make a distinction between pregnancies caused by rape or incest and those that result from consensual intercourse. In other words, in the process of making the government responsible for enforcing a religious belief on its citizens, all the other principles of conservative and libertarian political beliefs are thrown out the window.

    The belief that sexual intercourse should be solely for purposes of pro-creation and that it should be restricted to individuals in a legal and/or religious marriage is a religious tenet, not a moral or ethical one. It is common to male-dominated religious groups and they are free to enforce that value on their members. When they enlist the force of government to impose those beliefs on others, they misuse government and their religion as well.

  46. Doug Bayless
    March 8, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    S Logan,

    I appreciate the eye-opener on ‘pro life’ legislation denying parental rights for midwifery, home births, etc but I find a bright dividing line between legislation meant to prevent ‘intentional termination of life’ and legislation meant to simply ‘decrease potential dangers’. I feel that sometimes people confuse libertarianism with anarchism. My positive view of ‘libertarian ideals’ encompasses trying to reduce undue government interference without eliminating government and governance entirely. I find that quite consistent with the hopes and views of most of the founders of the U.S.

    I understand quite fully how — despite Ron Paul’s serious libertarian mindset in general — he would welcome a return of the abortion question to local governments where he has expressed open hope that many would legally restrict it more than it is currently. He’s not against legislating and restricting it because he feels so strongly about the rights to life of an unborn child *before* it leaves the womb. This, from his decades of practice in pre-natal childcare and actual delivering of babies – including so called ‘preemies’.

    The difficulty is determining where to place a legalistic and arbitrary ‘bright line’ that determines when that child should have any rights at all. It’s necessarily a moving target (there is no end-all, be-all scientific conclusion on when ‘potential human life’ is considered ‘actual human life’) but increasing numbers of recent polls indicate that most thinkers on the subject believe that the line should be moved far back from the simple ‘full, live emergence from the womb’ rule which apparently is what defines it now.

    Charles, Jim, Jeffrey T,

    I don’t think legal restrictions on abortion necessarily need to cross into the allegedly ‘impossible to distinguish’ personal religious motivation sphere. If, for instance, the Federally mandated support for abortions was over-ruled and some localities were to choose to legislate that ‘abortions after 12 weeks’ [for example] were banned except in the case of certain contingencies such as ectopic pregnancies (proven to be non-viable because of implantation in the fallopian tubes; certain to greatly endanger the life of the mother) then the ‘religiously motivated’ incest and rape arguments could potentially drop out — leaving only the reasonable contingencies to preserve the rights of the mother’s actual life to work out. [In practice, what I’ve observed from religious motivated language regarding ‘rape and incest’ is that these groups want to preserve the right to end pregnancies in the earliest days immediately following such an attack and way, way before the majority of said groups consider the pregnancy incontrovertibly ‘actual human life’ . . . thus I don’t find the inconsistency that Jeffrey has considered to be universal — or even that common]

    In other words, I think changes to current law on abortion to more fully consider the rights of an unborn child to be entirely reasonable. I would strongly disagree that the current laws are the most reasonable and most appropriate use of government. The real difficulty is where to move the legal line, but most are in agreement — due to more common 3D imaging of unborn children, more awareness of the norm of successful ‘pre-term’ births [they come out living, breathing, interacting, and with all their fingers, toes, and neural systems months before current law considers them actual viable ‘humans’ if they are still ‘in utero’], and many other reasons — that where the line is now is simply *not* reasonable or appropriate.

  47. Charles
    March 8, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    Doug, while I might agree that it is possible to structure a prohibition on abortion that avoided religiously motivated rationales, I hardly think the majority of those who oppose abortion would find such a law acceptable. Also as I have stated earlier, if we involve the government in making determinations about whether an abortion is acceptable in a particular set of circumstances, we must insert the entire legal system into the intensely personal and private decision making process between a woman and her physician – a discussion that is privileged under our current laws.

    I strongly believe that those who oppose abortion under all conditions should work with the majority of Americans to reduce the incidence of abortion, rather than attempting to outlaw the practice altogether. At present, they are letting the ideal become the enemy of the good.

  48. jim
    March 8, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    Jeffery T,
    You offered a very interesting explanation, one which would be difficult to place on a pumper sticker. For clarification incest could be consensual. Legal codes concerning incest vary from country to country, and region to region, in some locations its a crime, in others its not. Some places only prohibit incest in marriage, and others not.

    Concerning the nature and purpose of sexual intercourse, intercourse serves many purposes. The popularity of various forms of contraception would indicate that most intercourse has little to do with desiring conception. I am glad that a lot of people take precautions. Looking up statistics on abortion the rate reduces where there is more reliable and accessible forms of contraception. I would also think the rates would reduce where there is less taboo against contraception.

    Asia accounts for 59% of the world’s abortions, and Northern America only 3%. This is attributed to the enormous population in this region of the world. (The Incidence of Abortion Worldwide, By Stanley K. Henshaw, Susheela Singh and Taylor Haas ) So that is overlooked information, not from you particularly, but the thread in general. Maybe its because culturally, and legally Asian countries are different from North America. In other parts of the world the rate can be pretty high. While it might be tempting to condemn this as evil, it could be that there is less education, and less access to reliable forms of contraception. Some cultures have official government policies of reducing population by any means, and there could also be a cultural norm to do so.


  1. The Chameleon-Like Qualities of Mitt Romney’s Conservatism | Mormon Bloggers - March 21, 2010

    […] During the presidential campaign, Romney was repeatedly challenged on his shifting support for abortion rights, forcing his campaign spokesman to finally admit: “This is an issue that the governor has changed his position on, that the governor was wrong on in the past and believes he is right on now.” During one debate, Romney said: “I’ve always been personally pro-life, but for me, it was a great question about whether or not government should intrude in that decision.” Framing the termination of a life as a simple personal decision and nothing more shows clearly what (little) understanding Romney had (has?) about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. […]

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