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Questions About Partial Birth Abortion???? Need Feedback!!!

I am exploring the issue on abortion right now. Although I am for a womyns right to choose, I don't know if I feel Partial Birth Abortion is right.
I was wondering if someone could give me some background on partial birth abortion and the reasons why people are against it and why people are for it. Also is it now illegal to have partial birth abortions? If so, when did it become illegal? Feedback Needed!!!!!!

Philosophical Analysis 10.Oct.2004 17:34


There are many arguments against partial birth abortion. One argument is based on viability. Generally, a conceptus that has reached the point where a partial birth abortion would be needed to terminate it is viable. Since it is viable, it could live outside of the mother and, therefore, should be afforded some of the rights of an individual.

Another argument is based on the continuity of development. If we accept that immediately after birth the conceptus is a child entitled to all of the same rights as any other individual and if we believe that immediately after conception the conceptus is insufficiently developed to have any rights, it would follow logically that there is some point between conception and birth were the conceptus has sufficient rights to make its abortion unethical. A counter argument is that these rights suddenly appear immediately following birth. However, this counter argument is arbitrary. A simple change in location cannot account for the sudden acquisition of human rights. Therefore, there is some point before birth where we would find it unethical to abort a conceptus. Partial birth abortions are, at least in some cases, abortions of such individuals already in possession of individual rights.

my position 10.Oct.2004 17:36


The term, "partial-birth abortion," is a type of slang for an aborted birth beyond a specific time-frame, say 3 or 4 months. A woman's right to choose must not be denyed by law, even if it is beyond that time frame. The reasons are varied. Perhaps the woman's life is in danger. Perhaps the woman was a victim of rape or incest. Perhaps the woman had amniocenteses and learned the fetus is deformed, is a carrier of genetic abnormalities or even severe mental retardation or other restrictions. The decision is between the woman and her physician. The law cannot restrict valid medical procedures to physicians.

The Womyns right is not on the clock 10.Oct.2004 18:06

Susan A. Merrick

Those so called ProLifeers are just tormenting womyn with what is not their business. If these people were not using this issue as a political lever they would concentrate on the living. Every day the us Government kills people around the world, WHERE ARE their rights to life. The so called ProLife movement needs to get out of womyns bodies and into the open world. STOP YOUR ONGOING KILLING BEFORE YOU TRY TO SPEAK OF LIFE.

Bush and Kerry! 10.Oct.2004 18:11

IP Freely

Both have resulted from early partial birth abortion technology! I'll leave it to you to judge the wisdom of those efforts.
Exhibit X
Exhibit X

At times rights conflict and resolution is necessary. 10.Oct.2004 18:15


Simply asserting the a woman's rights are not on the clock does not support your position. The fact is, this is not merely a question of the woman's rights. At some point along the way the conceptus gains rights. Once this happens, if the woman wishes to abort it, the question is not whether the either have rights (since they both do), but whose rights are more compelling. You cannot simply dismiss this fact with declarations. How and when does the merger of an egg and sperm become a human being? At what point does this happen? Isn't that what this discussion is really about? From my point of view, immediately after conception is too soon. There is nothing about a zygote that calls for recognizing its rights. However, there is nothing particularly different between the entity we call a child just after birth and the entity we call a fetus just before birth. A simple change in physical location cannot account for the existence of rights. Therefore, there is some point BEFORE birth where a "fetus" has rights. The problem is in determining that point in time.

Sorry, I don't buy the argument that anyone's rights are absolutely more important than anyone else's rights.

hmmmmm............thoughts................ 10.Oct.2004 18:19


gk, you said "A woman's right to choose must not be denyed by law" which as a woman I do agree to some extent, but when a baby inside a mother has developed senses, brain etc. when does the baby have rights? or does the baby have rights? For example if the baby suddenly decided to be born early and the mother had already decided she was going to abort the baby, but did not do it soon enough. If the mother took the baby and killed it after the baby was born, wouldn't that be called murder and if so, why is that so different then killing the baby inside the mother in the late term of pregnancy? Also, is parial birth abortion the same as late term abortion?

my position - 2 10.Oct.2004 18:27


Look at definitions. A fetus is a fetus. A child is a child. A woman is a woman. A physician is a physician.

A woman's right to choose is paramount. Right-wingers, do not govern women's bodies.

Stop killing in Iraq. Bring our troops home NOW.

I'd like to see some logic to back up positions. 10.Oct.2004 19:03


The reason why ethicists use the word "conceptus" when talking about the product of conception within a debate about abortion is because words are often loaded and "conceptus" is not a loaded word. When you decide that something is a child, you've already decided that it has rights. In some cultures, the entity that eventually becomes a person is not considered a child after birth but after some period of time. Such cultures often practice infanticide (the killing of infants). However, our system of rights is based on the notion that people have rights by nature. At what point do these rights attain? That is the question. The label we give the conceptus is not the question.

gk, I'm not understanding 10.Oct.2004 20:02


You say
"Stop killing in Iraq. Bring our troops home NOW." How does this have anything to do with the topic we are discussing? Do you consider when a womyn is in her 8th month of pregnancy that she has a baby inside of her or a fetus?
You say,
"Look at definitions. A fetus is a fetus. A child is a child. A woman is a woman. A physician is a physician." But when is a baby a baby?

Does anyone know the law right now about partial birth abortions?

my position - 3 10.Oct.2004 20:17


We don't have rights "by nature." We have our Bill of Rights, individual rights put in place by the first U.S. Congress. Today, we are losing those rights and fighting like hell for justice. Women have the right to bear the responsibility of their body, just as modern-day "militias," (not separate, individual citizens) have a right to defend our country by bearing arms. Let us quit going backwards, and unite in peace and justice for all.

definitions 10.Oct.2004 20:31


You can look up the definitions (fetus, baby, child, woman, physician) in the dictionary just as easily as anyone. Do it.

If you're looking for the beginnings of life, it goes to the universal creative force (big bang), and it is still evolving, it seems. I hope it doesn't stop!

when? 10.Oct.2004 21:06


Hi SkY.

Use a search engine to see what the current law is. Search engines can often bring you to the truth faster than posting here. I think a recent law limiting partial-births was overturned in court. A quick search turned up this:

Anyway, it's a tough argument. @ has the right idea. When does a conceptus have rights? There will come a day when a fertilized egg will never need to see a mother to become a human. But that's a digression. Look in a biology text book to define life. A fetus isn't. Or it is. Depending on who you ask. Most of the scientists I've heard from on this subject don't consider a fetus to be a life form. Some do.

But that really doesn't make things any easier because we know that a fetus far along in the development process has emotions much as a baby does. Of course, if you care about a fetus because it hurts, feels hunger, or thinks, then maybe you should be a vegetarian if you're not already because pigs, cows, etc, do that kind of stuff also. I just don't see a clear line drawn anywhere.

I wish that women would not wait up until 8 months, but a woman's control over her own body (of which a fetus is part), as far as I'm concerned, trumps any argument of the religous right. Speaking of the religious right, I think the point of the previous poster was that the religious right is often in favor of the death penalty, sending people off to die in war, economic sanctions against Iraq that killed half a million children (not pro-life) but is against abortion (supposedly, though not really, pro-life). It just is a way to show that one side of this debate employs emotion a bit more than reason, and is inconsistent in claiming to be pro-life.

Hope that helps, but probably not. You've asked a tough question.

"Partial-Birth Abortion" a political, not medical, issue 10.Oct.2004 21:54

sage femme

The term, "partial-birth abortion" was created by the fundamentalists in this and other governments about 15 years ago. This term does not exist as a medical definition of anything. The plan is to get us all saying the same words, having the same images in our brains; this is the first and most important step in getting us to think the way they want us to, to stop thinking for ourselves.

My understanding is that the current legislation is being tested in the courts, and right now, it's in the "balloon" stage, where fear is the primary weapon the government is wielding against women and abortion providers. Abortion providers are being scared off of doing any abortions, because of the severe criminal penalties being sought by the feds. Women are being frightened out of getting abortions out of fear of government reprisal, including publication of their names. In at least two states, Ashcroft has tried to require hospitals to turn over the records of all women who have received abortions in them. The current legislation has been struck down in at least two states as being unconstitutional, but who knows what will happen when the US Supreme Court finally gets completely highjacked, which is virtually bound to happen within the next few years. The current legislation does not specify a time in pregnancy in which "partial-birth abortion" is not illegal. The term refers to ALL abortions performed as "dilation and extraction", where a live fetus might be delivered. Women who are 6-8 weeks pregnant are usually given a medication(or laminaria seaweed is placed in the cervix), which dilates(opens) the cervix, causing uterine contractions and delivery. Any handling of the fetus during the delivery process could be considered "extraction". The fetus, even at 8 weeks, is often born alive. Other kinds of abortions, such as saline abortions, where the fetus is killed prior to delivery with a big injection of salt water injected into the uterus of the woman, are a lot more dangerous.

The "partial-birth abortion" argument is an ingenious way to legislate against all abortion, and it appears to be working. We need to stop speaking their language, and recognize this for the deception that it is.

The issue is one of control. Should the state have control over people's bodies, or should the individual? Women have the power to produce life--pretty awesome. Fundamentalists of all stripes want to control that power, hence control women and children, and life itself. That's why those who are anti-choice are also often pro-death penalty, pro-war, anti-physician assisted suicide. On the face of it, such a position doesn't make sense--but it does! As long as the state decides who will live and who will die, it's OK. When the individual has that power, the fundamentalists get worried.

To: dunno 11.Oct.2004 02:46


You said "Of course, if you care about a fetus because it hurts, feels hunger, or thinks, then maybe you should be a vegetarian if you're not already because pigs, cows, etc, do that kind of stuff also. I just don't see a clear line drawn anywhere."

Yes, I agree, and that is why I am vegan. I respect all life, so this issue with partial birth abortions and even abortions in general is a tough one for me.

too true 11.Oct.2004 08:57


"As long as the state decides who will live and who will die, it's OK. When the individual has that power, the fundamentalists get worried."

And if that individual is a female...!

Individuals should have the power to kill? 11.Oct.2004 10:26

a pacifist

Um, so you are implying that individuals should have the the power to decide who lives and who dies? Charles Manson was an individual. Should I have the power to decide if YOU live or die?
Really, this debate is just going to keep coming back to whether an unborn baby counts as a human being or not. I am, like most of the posters here, going to take the middle ground. A small, say 4 month old fetus probably isn't a human being. They probably haven't attained consciousness yet. Once you get into seven and eight month old pregnancies, it is getting a bit sketchy. I'm not sure, but I might be inclined to go with the standard that if the fetus would be able to survive outside of the mother (even if that survival requires lots of machines and stuff), then it is too late to count the fetus as a part of the woman, it has become an independent human being.
As for the previous comment posted by "plus", judging by your language, it sounds like you acknowledge that a fetus is a human being, but a woman still has the power to kill it. I may have read to much into what you said, though. I think that a woman certainly should have total control over her own body, but after a certain point, the fetus is not really a part of her body, it is a human that lives inside of her.

Statistics Anyone? 11.Oct.2004 10:48


My understanding has been that partial birth abortions do not occur at anywhere near the frequency of conventional early term abortions and when they do it is based upon the health of the mother or damage to the fetus. Usually these things can be seen sooner rather than later and decisions made at an earlier time, so when anyone speaks of partial birth abortion as a BIG problem, they are not talking about numbers.

"Partial-Birth Abortion" is not a medical issue 11.Oct.2004 11:31

sage femme

Believe me, I've been a midwife for 17 years and I never heard of "partial-birth abortion" until it became a political meme a few years back. Verting(turning) a near-term baby to a footling breech position to pull it out and kill it DOES NOT happen. It's a sick literary image to turn people against the idea of any abortion. Please, we must stop using the language of the fundamentalists, or we will be back in medieval times when women and children, and most men, had no civil rights. This is about making women vessels to gestate future citizens, soldiers, property of the state. The aim is NOT to "preserve life". This is NOT a "pro-life" position. Of course abortion is killing. And indeed, who SHOULD have control over procreation? Equating the Charles Manson murders to abortion really sets up a 'straw man" argument.

Name game 11.Oct.2004 11:58


The medical definition of a fetus is parasite. The fetus is a part of a womyn's body until separation at birth. If those of you who are so interested in life would just stop your government from killing all over the , you would save many millions of lives. So stand up for that or shut up.

@ try learning to read more than rant. You Americanos are such assholes.