Late-Term Abortion Can Never Justify Murder

Frankly, I am disturbed by late-term abortions. As I wrote several years ago (previous article “The Question of Sentience“), I think it’s entirely arbitrary that we draw the moral line of personhood at birth. Human fetuses react to stimuli and respond to pain at 12-16 weeks of gestation. They shrink away from surgical implements as if they know what’s about to happen. Even if it’s just a reflex, ultrasound movies show something is going on that offends our sensibilities. Life is precious and our instincts tell us it should be treated as such.

Having said that, there are many circumstances that require us to allow doctors and women to choose a course of action that may cause us revulsion. Modern medical technology allows us to forget that pregnancy and childbirth used to be one of the leading causes of death for women. Sometimes pregnancies don’t go well and the only option is termination.

When we ask a woman to carry a child to propagate our species, we demand of her an heroic act. Her body is quickly comandeered by the fetus to its own purposes. The fetus takes over control of hormone levels, and immediately gets priority on all nutrient intake and bodily systems. The mother gains 30-40% of her body weight, becomes swollen, stretched, and finally torn in the most intimate places to produce a new person who then takes over her life for the next two decades and more.

This is a profound burden we men take for granted.

Conservative foes of late-term abortions consider that medical reasons are often trumped up. But I ask, who can stand between a woman and her doctor? Who else is qualified to decide if something is “medically necessary?” Even if the pregnancy is terminated for psychological or stress-related reasons, depression and stress can kill.

Then there is the matter of 13 or 14-year-old girls who may have been home-schooled or given “abstinence-only” sex education. Having been taught that human sexuality is shameful, that humans are doomed to sin from the start, they are desperately afraid to discuss their pregnancy with their parents. These girls are in a double-bind. They are instinctively sexual beings at that age, but not in any way, shape, or form ready to be mothers. But because of the repressive, judgmental and uncompassionate nature of their families and communities, there they sit with a “shameful” 5 or 6 month pregnancy.

Enter doctors like George Tiller.

It’s amazing how fast parents can change their tune when their own daughters get pregnant. I watched in disbelief as my fanatically “pro-life” mother (Famous quote: “Abortion is first-degree murder of God”)  insisted that my teenage sister have an abortion. George Tiller endured horrific harassment and abuse, and ultimately gave his life to be sure even such hypocrites and repressors had a place to send their daughters when they got into trouble.

It is the Christians who perpetuate the entire dilemma. Why, oh why do they prevent young girls from getting the information and contraception they need? Why do they ignore the results from dozens of countries all over the world who have solved this problem?

Abortion will remain legal in this country, of that we can be assured. No one wants to go back to the dark days of the back alley, not even the evangelicals. Because they know their own daughters will be the ones dying of infection in those butcher shops. But what good will modern clinics do if doctors fear for their lives? Are we really going to allow vigilantism to carry this day?

What about a compassionate approach from all sides? Christians and atheists can all agree we want to reduce the number of abortions, especially of the late-term variety. So let’s come together to endorse mandatory sex-education and pregnancy-reduction programs for teens. Let’s encourage discussion and minimize the despicable shaming of normal human sexual development. Let’s promote, even demand, swift and cheap abortions in the first trimester to minimize fetal suffering.

And finally, let’s hold the “pro-life” groups and their supporters such as Bill O’Reilly accountable for their hate speech that has now led to a tragic murder.

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Comments (69 comments)

Darkeros / June 3rd, 2009, 9:30 am / #1

Yes… and, lets design NEW forms of abortion methods. The fact is, Black Sun, these late term abortions will not end until technology is able to diagnose problems earlier. Just remember, in most cases, these late term pregnancies ARE about serious diagnoses either for mother, child, or both. Was it Tiller who performed the abortion on the 14 year old that you describe above?

Unfortunately, the process of discovering you are pregnant, getting to the doctor, making the decision/appoitnment for the abortion and finally having it is not as fast as it could be. There needs to be waaaaaaaaaaaay more education, ideally from the Mom, yet otherwise absolutely by the society, and the procedures need to be streamlined. And women do need counseling, young women ideally by their mom's, otherwise society has to play this role.

All young women, as soon as they start bleeding, need to be put on some form of birth control. PERIOD. And we need to develop better quality birth control that does not upset the health and balance of a woman's body. We have the science know how. Its time to apply it to THESE matters.

BlackSun / June 3rd, 2009, 6:58 pm / #2

Couldn't agree more.

Moms: Buy the contraception along with the tampons. Dads, talk to your sons about condoms early and often. We need a national conversation to normalize birth control as part of growing up. Don't stop using it until you've got a home, a crib, and a stroller. And you're ready to give up all your hobbies and partying.

That's what parenthood is, kids, a full time job, hobby and life-change–all wrapped up in a 7 pound package that shits, pisses, and cries at night.

This needs to be emphasized. But just as much, we need to stress with kids that safe guilt free sex is a normal part of the teen years. You can kill yourself driving a car, or you can do it right. Same with sex.

The current non-conversation is not an option.

AmenASHandF / June 6th, 2009, 3:43 am / #3

Sean hello, thk you for this post. I need to ask a couple of questions for clarification:
How old exactly was your sister?
And did she have the abortion?
What explaination/justification did your mother give for having suggested the abortion?
How old were you at the time?
Did staff Know about this?

BlackSun / June 6th, 2009, 3:52 am / #4

Hey Amen,

I've probably said too much already. I'm not saying which sister. But she was a teenager, and of course it was kept quiet. That's hypocrisy.

karen / June 7th, 2009, 4:00 am / #5

All of the pro life groups have been quick to condemn Tiller's murder even though he was a muderer of thousands of babies they were trying to save with their "hate speech". If I condemn the acts of Hitler, is that hate speech? The abortion industry is responsible for more deaths than he is.
Your mother was a hypocrite who probably just didnt want to be embarassed. Another family could have adopted a beautifull baby. Speaking of putting a baby up for adoption, I hope that you dont believe that would cause more "depression and stress" for a woman than having her baby chopped up inside her or, as Tiller did, deliver the baby feet first up to his neck, cut a hole in the base of his skull, and then suck his brains out.
Abstinence education and the Bible most certainly do not teach that human sexuality is shamefull - read the Song of Solomon, but that is a gift from God meant to be experienced only between a husband and wife. In the sanctity of marriage it is pure, wonderfull, fun, and safe. If married couples were the only ones having sex, there would be no such things as STDs, very few unwanted pregnancies, and an extremely small number of medically needed abortions.

Amaterasu / June 7th, 2009, 1:43 pm / #6

Karen: "A baby chopped up inside of her" - hmm, expert medical terminology here; maybe you are a script writer
for a Hell House. And reference to Hitler, that's always a sign of a desperado without an arguement. Oh, and people
are too dumb when unmarried to avoid STD's, pregnancies, and abortions. Hello? I know married people who have
had abortions and who have spread STDs. So sex is ONLY fun, pure, wonderful and safe between a married
couple huh? Depends if you like the type of threesome you've got going on,
you, hubby and Big Daddy God in your bed, all together, all 3 of ya getting sweaty.

BlackSun / June 7th, 2009, 5:55 pm / #7

Nicely put!

BlackSun / June 7th, 2009, 5:58 pm / #8


First of all congrats for Godwinning the thread. (Look it up). Dr. Tiller was not doing anything illegal. In fact he was giving compassionate care to thousands of women. Sometimes it's medically necessary to terminate a pregnancy. There's no way to make that pretty. It offends all our sensibilities. Which is all the more reason to protect those who do what has to be done. Dr. Tiller deserved our protection and support. He did not get it, and thanks to the incessant propaganda of the "pro-life" movement, he is dead. You're still championing he same rhetoric that killed him. Wake up!

You have revealed yourself to be a partisan and a bible-believer. Which is pretty close to admitting mental instability.

You're absolutely crazy if you don't think the Bible is one of the primary texts used to shame people for their sexuality in the modern world. Why would you teach abstinence if you think sex is fine? Oh, because it's only for marriage. Right and the Bible has nothing to say on the subject?

If you can't recognize the Bible as a political document written by humans, (a blood-soaked one at that) then you are severely brainwashed. The church wanted to get control of human sexuality. So they put themselves in the middle of it. If you think that repression and church involvement will solve all the problems of so-called "immorality" then you are even more delusional. Look at the behavior of Christians in this regard. It's no better and mostly worse than the general population. Repress something, and it comes out somewhere else. It's a law of nature.

Better to embrace the dark side and make it conscious. That's the only path to enlightened self-actualization.

Black Lightning / June 11th, 2009, 7:36 am / #9

G'day Sean, hope you are well. I like this discussion, Americans are so passionate about other peoples business. In our Aboriginal culture terminations were common and to inform people, my tribe actually invented the pill from one of our local plants that the pharasudical companies stole never to pay us a cent for our ancient knowledge. The reason for population control for us is that our resources are limited and can only support so many. So breeding as with other species of animals is saved for the abundant times or to replace genetic lines or stock. But mainly when we know there will be enough food to support a new life.
Remember without environment, we have nothing - not even air to breath, let alone clean water to drink or healthy food to eat. In order to be sustainable, people need to control their population (amount of) and monitor and maintain all their resources, environment, food, water, air, if only we could get control over our out of control economies.

BlackSun / June 13th, 2009, 5:40 pm / #10

A reader pointed out that I seem to contradict myself above, by claiming that young girls are sexual at 13 or 14 but not ready to be mothers. So here's a clarification:

I should have said, "in our society, they are not in any way, shape, or form ready to be mothers." We have artificially attempted to delay the psycho-sexual development of girls about 5 years from what is "natural." Therefore, we keep girls in school 5 or more years beyond where primitive humans of that same age would have already started their families.

I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing. It actually liberates women to become more educated and equal to men. It keeps them from just becoming baby factories and gives them a shot at a multifaceted life with a career and a family. It's a logical social response to lengthening lifespans and increased economic opportunity (result of industrialization). But we have to realize what we did, and make allowances for the consequences. It's not good enough to base our social policy on Bronze Age scriptures.

BlackSun / June 13th, 2009, 5:40 pm / #11

A reader pointed out that I seem to contradict myself above, by claiming that young girls are sexual at 13 or 14 but not ready to be mothers. So here's a clarification:

I should have said, "in our society, they are not in any way, shape, or form ready to be mothers." We have artificially attempted to delay the psycho-sexual development of girls about 5 years from what is "natural." Therefore, we keep girls in school 5 or more years beyond where primitive humans of that same age would have already started their families.

I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing. It actually liberates women to become more educated and equal to men. It keeps them from just becoming baby factories and gives them a shot at a multifaceted life with a career and a family. It's a logical social response to lengthening lifespans and increased economic opportunity (result of industrialization). But we have to realize what we did, and make allowances for the consequences. It's not good enough to base our social policy on Bronze Age scriptures.

BlackSun / June 13th, 2009, 5:41 pm / #12

I agree with you about the population problem. We have to get that under control, as well as closing the loops and learning to live in harmony with natural systems. Thanks for your comment.

truthsetsusfree / August 9th, 2009, 3:08 am / #13

The elephant in the abortion clinic is… Why arethese pregnancies happening in the first place? I think it's girls and women who are desperate for attention because of absent parents, loneliness, or confusion because of sexual abuse. Home-schooled children often have undeveloped social skills and immature behavior that makes them vulnerable to the desires of others. The emotional side of abortion, and other problems like drug/alcohol addiction, and violence - our culture is so afraid of dealing with feelings that we point fingers and rage against the results, but never address the source of these problems. Our healthcare system needs work - but the big problem in healthcare is not physical ailments, it's emotional isses, and we don't dare to address it for fear we'll have to look inside ourselves. If we had access to mental health help, made classes on emotional issues required in schools, the abortion and suicide rates would dramatically decrease. But it won't happen until the adults, and especially the doctors, are willing to look in the mirror.

BlackSun / August 9th, 2009, 3:22 am / #14

Clearly, there are social problems with raising teens. But could it also be our society is out of whack with nature?

Girls of 13 or 14 are fertile, and in tribal times would be having children. We can agree that this is not a good idea, because it keeps women from getting a modern education. Delaying childbirth is the single most important factor in liberating women. But we can't deny the evolutionary reasons why young girls want to have sex. They're simply meant to. So we have to make it safe for them to do so by providing comprehensive sex-ed and contraception.

AmenASHandF / August 9th, 2009, 3:52 pm / #15

Sean Hello, I never thked u for answering. I did not ask who or name, something I wouldn't do or be interested. Just questions because I went through a similar experience but not in my teens. When our parent(s) push us to do such things that are not suppose to be an ethical option it just exposes what's going on in there character or perceptions of what's important for themselves & their family not what they teach or preach. Something I find anoying in life, what we claim to believe & what we feel isn't always aligned. And we can be walking around thinking we got over it, the feelings/opinions that are wrong, but when faced with the very thing that will prove to us we haven't, the challenge shows us contridicting ourselves. The test as it's referred, showing the truth.

James / August 29th, 2009, 4:02 am / #16

Late-Term Abortion Can Never Justify Murder ?____Oh, but it does…and you did with that brilliant essay. What a colorful dance of personal absolution. You started out personally 'disturbed' and ended up 'as a senior fellow at George Tiller School of compassionate obstretics', metaphorically speaking of course. Since personhood at birth is an unjustified 'moral line' why don't we all get in the station wagon and go put your mom out of her misery before the stress and depression kills her ? It would be the ultimate 'late term abortion' or what they call euthanasia, and the dozens who were hurt by her could get on with their lives…maybe even you. I'm sure Dawkins would approve. How about it ?

BlackSun / August 29th, 2009, 4:11 pm / #17

James, you're not being rational. I've been pretty clear about my position on abortion, and you instantly distorted it. Euthanasia quite possibly does make sense in certain circumstances. Like abortion however, it is something that requires thought and sensitivity by all concerned, not sarcasm or sloganeering.

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thinktoconceiveaboy / May 21st, 2014, 1:15 am / #19

I can definitely agree to all of your points. But there are certain conditions which can be avoided when proper precautions are taken at the early stage of pregnancy. I agree that men take these things for granted, but being a wife, if they don't even take these for granted there is another way out either.

But to justify the point that a fetus takes over the mothers body is not good. As the decision to have a baby is taken by a mother and a father. They have choice not to do so. Is what I feel.

smoking effect / July 3rd, 2014, 3:57 am / #20

Sean Hi, My spouse and i never thked u regarding giving answers to. I did not necessarily inquire which or name, one thing My spouse and i wouldn't carry out or be engaged. Simply questions since My spouse and i experienced an identical encounter although not within my adolescents. While each of our parent(s) push us all to try and do such things which might be not necessarily imagine being a great honorable alternative that merely exposes what are you doing in that room persona or ideas involving what is actually very important to them selves & their own family members not necessarily just what these people show or preach.

essay service / July 17th, 2014, 7:45 am / #21

Abortion means to murder someone who has not even open his/her eyes in this world, We all are just created from X and Y chromosomes and when some one try to do this clumsy attempt, i think she attempts a murder.I am not against you but i would refer it through proper evidence of essay service where such blasphemous attempts were committed. Please think again when you hurt some one you are answerable to them after world, hence if you commit something like this then you would definitely be guilty for this attempt in front of God.

jhukhan / August 31st, 2014, 5:04 am / #22

'Twas ever thus. How did we all get to this shoddy position? I warned and warned you all a long time ago - Late-Term Abortion Can Never Justify Murder is back! They are not interested in the wider issue. They just want a stick to beat advicewith.

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Jesica / January 3rd, 2015, 6:24 am / #26

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Doris A Tracey / April 27th, 2015, 1:35 pm / #29

I do believe that abortion is wrong unless it threatens the life of the mother. The situation in El Salvador is a real crime because they are imprisoning mothers probably with other children for having an abortion. If the mothers life is in jeopardy the life of the child could be taken and the mother could give birth again to the same child or another child. Also they are imprisoning mothers who have a miscarriage and do not trust that the miscarriage happened naturally. This situation is very sad to me. This act is very lawless.

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Tad / May 24th, 2015, 10:50 am / #31

I think we need proper sex education to stop unwanted pregnancy. Abortion should be reduced to only cases of necessity, when the mother's life is on the line because of giving birth.

women's health / July 14th, 2015, 11:35 am / #32

This topic has always been tricky..

Doris Tracey / July 22nd, 2015, 1:55 pm / #33

The body of man, woman and the wee one is sacred and the body is not our own. People under the constitution must use their conscience to decide whether to choose life or death. The Federal government has no authority to make that decision. Life begets life and death begets death.

Doris Tracey / July 23rd, 2015, 4:50 pm / #34

I just want to make another comment that I strongly feel abortion in the womb is absolute terrorism and we may have to experience terrorism in a big way on American soil to pay for that crime. If the mothers life is in jeopardy then abortion is justified and the mother can have another child, most of the time.

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