Abortion is the killing and removal of a fetus before birth. It is generally only an issue with regard to human birth, where it is forbidden by many religions and opposed by others. It is also illegal in some countries, and more countries make it illegal as the fetus comes closer to term.
In the United States, proponents of legalized abortion generally describe themselves as "pro-choice", while those who seek to restrict or criminalize abortion generally describe themselves as "pro-life". Feelings on both sides tend to run very high, but extremists on the "pro-life" seem to have a greater tendency towards extreme actions, e.g. making threats against doctors who perform abortions, and even occasional acts of bodily harm or murder.
- anti-abortion: generally views killing of any fetus, at any developmental phase, as murder
- pro-life: opposes abortion in the name of promoting life, generally opposes violence too but some violent anti-abortionists call themselves "pro-life" nonetheless
- Claims of those who oppose legal abortion include:
- /eugenics: the primary goal of abortion choice advocates is based in eugenics
- /black genocide: a primary goal of abortion choice advocates is that of reducing the number of black people, or possibly eliminating them altogether.
- /profit: abortion doctors and clinics are primarily motivated by money
- The real money is in 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions; nobody wants to do 1st trimester.
- /damage: abortion causes more damage than good; choice advocates ignore this fact
- /industry: abortion is a huge industry (this is related to, but separate from, the profit claim)
- Abortion for boutique eugenics: editorial arguing that abortion will inevitably be misused
- pro-choice sees abortion as an unpleasant necessity, while working to reduce the need for it
- personhood: at what point does a fetus become a person, and acquire the right to live?
- Human gestational development: the stages of development of a human embryo/fetus
- /reasons why abortions are requested
- There is some evidence that the legalization of abortion in the U.S. led to a dramatic decrease in the crime rate at approximately the time when the "ghost children" (the kids who would have been born if abortion had remained illegal) would have been reaching adulthood.
- See: Freakonomics, ISBN 006073132X, and commentary by Orson Scott Card
- Obviously this does not prove a connection, but the evidence deserves further examination.
- If a connection can be established, then there also remains the ethical question of whether a decline in crime is worth the cost of the increase in abortions (costs and benefits for this particular outcome, or in other words: How much less crime? How many more abortions?), to which some groups might well answer "no".
 Related issues
Need some documentation about extremism on either side; it should be easy enough to find news items about pro-lifers bombing or vandalizing abortion clinics, but I'd also like to hear about anything bad done in the name of pro-choice. Items about arguably positive actions taken by either side may also be relevant, e.g. the woman who goes around buying up abortion clinics and changing their mission to be consistent with the pro-life point of view – which is at least a peaceful and lawful method of working against abortion even if you don't agree with the goal. --Woozle 12:40, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
- Conservapedia: Hippocrates prohibited abortion, and it's a billion-dollar industry in the US and Western Europe
- SourceWatch (Reproductive health)
 Official Positions
- 1995-03-25 Pope John Paul II restates the Catholic Church's position on abortion and other "life" issues, with links to keyword indices
 version 2
- 2010-04-14 [Talk|Index] Florida Doctor Kills Wrong Twin, Loses License § “he Florida Board of Medicine revoked a Sarasota OB-GYN’s medical license last Friday for aborting the wrong baby of a mother pregnant with twins.”
- 2008-11-13 [Talk|Index] Uyghur Woman Faces Forced Abortion § “Arzigul Tursun, six months pregnant with her third child, is under guard in a hospital in China's northwestern Xinjiang region, scheduled to undergo an abortion against her will because authorities say she is entitled to only two children.”
- 2008-07-02 [Talk|Index] Women Say Economy Was Factor In Getting Abortions § “There were 13,843 abortions performed in Minnesota in 2007. Of the women who listed a reason for their abortions, 40 percent cited economic concerns – the largest share since the state started collecting detailed abortion information a decade ago.”
- 2007-11-21 [Talk|Index] O'Reilly: "War" on Christmas part of "secular progressive agenda" that includes "legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, gay marriage" § “...decrying the purported "war" on Christmas, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claimed that "it's all part of the secular progressive agenda ... to get Christianity and spirituality and Judaism out of the public square."”
- 2006-10-03 [Talk|Index] New foetal scans 'clouded debate on late abortion' § ”The emotive photographs, taken with new fourdimensional imaging technology, have created a misleading impression that foetuses become viable and potentially self-aware at a much earlier stage than is actually the case, according to experts on foetal development.”
- 2006-09-01 [Talk|Index] May the pope and all his cardinals achieve ritual purity § “A Vatican official has said the Catholic church will excommunicate a medical team who performed Colombia's first legal abortion on an 11-year-old girl, who was eight weeks pregnant after being raped by her stepfather. .. Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, the president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, said in addition to the doctors and nurses, the measure could apply to "relatives, politicians and lawmakers" whom he called "protagonists in this abominable crime".”
- 2006-08-25 [Talk|Index] What Happens To All Those Unused Embryos? § “As most of you know DefCon ran an aggressive campaign this summer, targeting the religious rightâ€™s war on stem cell research, and fighting for the hope and health of millions of Americans. The religious rightâ€™s key talking point throughout this battle has been focused on â€œdefending embryosâ€ â€” which they consider to be the same as a walking, talking 5 year old. .. While we typically chose not to engage them on that level, when we did, we quickly pointed to the fact that virtually all of the embryonic stem cells that would be used for research would otherwise be discarded anyway, making their â€œdestruction of lifeâ€ argument moot. .. For all the doubters out there, now you can see it for yourself. Click here to see footage of these unused embryos being discarded, literally thrown into a wastebasket.”
 to be filed
- 2007-04-21 How Media Mistakes Fueled the High Court Abortion Ruling by Gloria Feldt, Women's Media Center: states that there is no such thing as a "partial birth abortion", but this term is apparently used to refer to Intact dilation and extraction
- 2007-04-19 Supreme Court Ruling Threatens Women's Health by Amy Goodman
- 2006-06-21 Anti-Choice Legislators Have Gone Too Far (should eventually go in anti-abortion article)
- 2006-01-27 Abortion-rights and anti-abortion groups share some values
- 1992 When Abortion Was Illegal: Untold Stories: includes some anti-abortion arguments in the comment section
- 2006 Lake of Fire A documentary showing realistic and extreme views on abortion.
- 2006-08-01 Thinking of the children (D.C. Simpson, I Drew This): right-to-life vs. early childhood welfare
|David Brin said, in a sidebar to part 2 of "The Real Culture War":|
JESUS AND ABORTION:
Back in the sixties, much of the clergy leaned leftward and away from supporting the Vietnam War. The image of Jesus was that of a bearded quasi-hippie in sandals, who preached that the rich should give their very shirts to the poor. What has changed? Certainly not the passages of scripture that were quoted then. Passages that would make Jesus seem... well... rather socialistic in any era.
Then came abortion. It gave the right a handle by which to reclaim Jesus. By declaring ideologically that any fertilized cell is a full human being, radicals turned any abortion - even many forms of birth control - into baby killing. And despite all his other socialist leanings, Jesus would have to take sides against baby-killers, right? Voila! Suddenly the moral high ground no longer belonged to the left. That is, in the eyes of anybody who could be talked into seeing a human being in a fertilized egg. When that became a major dogma of the right, millions went right along.
So the left lost Jesus. And with Jesus went the churches. And with the churches... well...
Must all liberals play this game between two sides who insist on waging social war over fertilized cells? At risk of incurring ire from some of my feminist friends, I don't see any reason to declare absolute all-or-nothing positions on a subject so murky and ill-defined as when human life begins.
Imagine some liberal group declaring: "All right, there may be some changes afoot that we don't like. A new Supreme Court may start pushing at the fringes of Roe-vs-Wade. We may need to raise millions in "scholarships" to fly poor women from red states to New York...
"But let other groups handle that. We refuse to get involved in abortion. We welcome anti-abortion people who want to work with us on other matters, helping the poor (as Jesus would want), questioning capricious or ill conceived wars, raising the minimum wage, preserving God's Earth. Let other groups be proudly secular, or even pagan. We are going to reclaim the man who walked in sandals among the poor, feeding them from a loaf and a fish."