25 Questions for Those who say Abortion is Murder

questions

I have some questions for those who believe that abortion is murder.

  1. Does life begin at conception?  How do you know it does? Is your view based on science or is it based on a religious belief?
  2. If life begins at conception, why are you supporting an Ohio bill that makes it illegal to have an abortion once a heartbeat is detected? Does life begin at conception or at first heartbeat?
  3. Do you support the use of emergency contraception (morning after) drugs? Why not?
  4. Should a pro-life pharmacist have the right to not dispense emergency contraception drugs?  Should I be allowed to opt out of anything that goes against my moral or ethical beliefs?
  5. Is abortion murder?
  6. Do you believe murderers should be prosecuted?
  7. Do you believe that driving the get-away car makes a person just as guilty as the person who robbed the bank?
  8. Do you believe a woman who has an abortion should be prosecuted for murder? How about the doctor who performs the procedure? How about the nurse that assisted in the procedure? How about the person who drove the woman to the clinic? If you believe in the death penalty, do you support the execution of murderers?
  9. Do you use birth control pills?
  10. Should you be prosecuted for murder since birth control pills can, and do, cause spontaneous abortion?
  11. Should abortion be allowed for reasons of rape, incest, or saving the life of the mother?
  12. If you answered yes to question eleven, do you support murdering the fetus if it is the product of rape or incest?
  13. Should a fetus be aborted if the mother’s life is at risk?
  14. Do you support murdering the unborn if it saves the life of the mother?
  15. Is your viewpoint on abortion a religious belief?
  16. What passage in the Bible prohibits abortion? Does this passage define life beginning at conception?
  17. Has God ever killed the unborn?
  18. In Genesis, God destroyed every human save eight by drowning them in a flood. Were any of the women who drowned pregnant? Did God kill the fetuses they were carrying? (Kill the mother, kill the fetus.)
  19. Do you support the death penalty? Do you support war?
  20. If you answered yes to question nineteen, why do you oppose the killing of the unborn but support the killing of those already born?
  21. Why do you believe that killing the unborn is murder but consider an American bomb killing a baby 3 hours old a tragic result of war, collateral damage, but not murder?
  22. Do you support birth control being readily available in every school? Isn’t your objective is to reduce or eliminate the need for an abortion. Wouldn’t easily available, free access to birth control reduce the abortion rate?
  23. Do you believe it is better for a severely deformed child to live for a day and die than for the fetus to be aborted? If so, explain why it is better for the child to suffer needlessly?
  24. Do you believe that God is in control of everything? Does everything include children being born deformed or with serious defects that will result in a life of extreme suffering and pain?
  25. Is someone a Christian if he or she supports abortion?

My view on abortion

I do not think that life begins at conception nor do I think it begins at first heartbeat. That said, I do not support abortion on demand. Approximately 63% of abortions occur in the first eight weeks, and 89% of abortions occur in the first trimester. I do not support any law that restricts access to an abortion in the first trimester.  Once fetus viability (the ability to live outside the womb) is established, I do not support the right to an abortion except when the life of the mother is at stake.

when abortion occur

At What Time in the Pregnancy Abortions Occur

I support women having full access to reproductive services (including access to birth control), as well as school-aged girls and young women. For women who have an at-risk pregnancy, I support government-sponsored access to genetic testing and amniocentesis that will reveal severe birth defects. Better to have an abortion earlier in a pregnancy than to have a child born without a brain who will die a few moments or days after birth.

I support sex education for junior high and high school students and health education for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. Since girls often reach menses at ages as young as ten, waiting until they are sixteen to educate them about reproduction is irresponsible and leads to unintended pregnancies. I do not support “Just say No” programs that take the “aspirin between the knees” approach and ignore the reality that most teenagers will, at some point, be sexually active. Yes, teens should wait, but they don’t, and everyone should agree that teenagers having babies is not a good idea. If we agree that this is not a good idea, then making sure they can’t get pregnant should be a top priority.

I support the radical change of adoption laws in this country.  The government should make it easy and affordable for people to adopt a child (after being thoroughly vetted). By changing the law, this will make it more likely for a woman with an unplanned pregnancy to carry the fetus to term. This would also put out of business adoption agencies, many of them Christian, that charge extortion level fees for an adoption.

3 day old human embyro

Three Day Old Human Embryo.

God, the Bible, papal decrees, or religious rhetoric have no sway over me. Showing me bloody pictures of dismembered late-term aborted fetuses also have no effect on me. I know that only 1.2% of abortions occur after the 21st week. In 2011, 1.06 million abortions were performed in the United States. Roughly 12,000 abortions were performed from the 21st week to term. Why don’t pro-lifers wave around pictures of zygotes or other pictures from the chronological time period when most abortions take place? Simple: such pictures wouldn’t excite, inflame, and manipulate the passions of the faithful like a bloody, gory picture of a dismembered fetus does.

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26 Comments

  1. Persephone

    Bruce, amniocentesis is not done until 20 weeks. That is why abortions for birth defects are done in the second trimester. It’s also in the second trimester when ultrasounds can pick up physical deformities.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      thanks, I will edit my post to reflect this.

      Reply
  2. HeIsSailing

    Bruce, life does not begin at conception, but it is not quite as you are presenting it. It is a common misconception that I blame Christians for spreading. They are not framing the argument properly. It is not a question of asking how long after conception life begins. Life began long before conception. Your sperm is alive long before there was conception. The earliest evidence of life dates to about 3.7 billion years ago, give or take about 200 million years. It has been continual DNA replication, mutation and evolution via natural selection (along with a few other mechanisms) ever since. If morality is the product of human reasoning, then the morality of reproductive health must be debated without the rhetoric of ‘murder’ or debating when life begins as if it were a philosophical argument. Great article and great questions that must be asked and debated honestly and scientifically.

    Reply
  3. marfin

    So Bruce when does life begin? or what does it matter because if there is no God then we are just products of evolution animals so to speak and if just animal sure we kill and eat animals all the time whats wrong will killing some more.
    And we kill lame , sick and the runts of the litter if we are just animal why not do the sameto us , sure it will help our survival of the fittest ratio, keep out those nasty defective gene`s

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      You are invited to join me at the next Atheist baby roast. I hope you will come. I think you will find that roasted baby with a slight bit of Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce brushed on the meat makes a delectable meal.

      Absurd, right? Yet, that is exactly what you are suggesting. Even worse, the ONLY reason you don’t go to a McDonald’s and eat a Baby McRib is because you believe in the Christian God. Is THAT your argument, Marfin?

      Reply
    2. Timothy

      Your response assumes that atheists are not morally inclined. Religion, or a lack thereof, does not determine morals; one’s culture determines moeals.

      Reply
      1. marfin

        I am not for one moment saying atheist`s are not morally inclined , the point I am making is that who decides` what is moral and what is not. So is it wrong to kill an animal and eat it, a simple yes or no will do.

        Reply
        1. Timothy

          I am not certain answers to the “animal” nature of humanity are as clearly delineated as you present. Mores and taboos tell Americans of the US that eating other humans, or horses is wrong. Even eating a dog is out of the question. While in China, I ate dog; while in France, I ate horse. The animal taboos were dropped in those situations because humans realize degrees/shades of grey. To me, it seems quite odd to eat babies, but I am sure that Jonathan Swift would find such delicacies a “Modest Proposal”.

          Reply
          1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Sadly, a lot of Americans have no clue about the world. Cultures vary…we pet dogs and play with them. In other countries they eat them.

  4. marfin

    Bruce I was making two points , the first being ,when does life begin?. The second was that if there is no God then we are just animals and far be it for me to compel another animal to live by my or some group`s moral code.
    When a woman has a miscarriage all her friends gather round to comfort and console her , but when that same woman
    has an abortion all her friends are supposed to say” Baby what baby there was no baby ” me thinks people like to have their cake and eat it too.And just because I am a christian does not of necessity mean I am wrong.So is Richard Dawkins right when he say its immoral to bring a down syndrome child into the world , who get`s to make that decision , I know this question is close to the bone for you but your daughter has more right to life in my eyes than Mr Dawkins as she is not seeking to end someone`s life based on some subjective standard of a quality of life.

    Reply
    1. Becky Wiren

      Actually, it used to be common for women to keep their pregnancies to themselves (and spouse/partner) because of the risk of abortion. When I had a miscarriage, people were nice. But it wasn’t like I had given birth to a dead baby, OR given birth to a live baby that died soon after. Really sad, not sad like losing my 4 yr old would have been.

      Reply
      1. Becky Wiren

        Excuse me, I meant women keep pregnancies to themselves because of the risk of MISCARRIAGE.

        Reply
      2. Becky Wiren

        Dawkins is one man with one opinion.

        Reply
    2. Stephanie

      In some case it is not a matter of quality of life but rather that the fetus would not have a chance to live at all outside the woman. If that is causing the woman problems why should she have to sacrifice herself for someone that will never realize a biologically independent life? I agree, it gets a lot trickier when we start about problems that affect as you say “quality of life.” I am pro choice but I have issues with some of the reasons that women get abortions, especially as the pregnancy inches closer to viability. There is a lot of grey there. I used to be a pro-lifer so I do understand where you are coming from. However, it was facts about harm to women, abortion rates and the whole conservative movement that really changed my mind about legality. Plus, women get stuck in some really bad situations that are not easily solved with adoption. FYI, I am actually a vegetarian. Animals are sentient, individual beings and experience pain/emotions, early terms fetuses do not. Being a Christian does not make you wrong, necessarily and, no, I don’t agree with Dawkins’ statement.

      Reply
  5. Geoff

    “Bruce I was making two points , the first being ,when does life begin?. The second was that if there is no God then we are just animals and far be it for me to compel another animal to live by my or some group`s moral code.”

    The problem is, marfin, even if there were a god I’m not sure how he assists your cause.

    Let’s assume there is a god. Abortion, however, is an issue that concerns mankind. Let’s say that we do want to listen to god on the subject, then where do we begin. The bible seems to be the assumed starting point, yet as Bruce points out, nowhere does the bible say much about abortion. Indeed, god himself would have to be the cause of the vast majority of abortions that have ever happened. Nor does the bible seem to make clear when life begins. It doesn’t refer to embryos, or foetus’, or even zygotes, so we must assume that god wasn’t too bothered about the issue. He has offered nothing else on the subject to which we can reasonably refer, so as to decide whether his views are of assistance.

    We are then on our own in this one, even if god exists. For me that answers your second point. As regards the first point, when does life begin? It begins at a time that conforms with the understanding we have achieved in all other areas of morality, behaviours which have evolved along with our physical evolution. We are able to weigh up all factors, including rights of the mother, and then come to a compromise which isn’t perfect, but is as near damn well fair as anything else that can be suggested. To cave in to the prejudices of the so-called ‘pro-lifers’ (not a term that I feel describes them but that’s what they’ve styled themselves) is actually to deny our humanity in favour of ill judged superstition.

    Reply
    1. marfin

      how do you know you are right ,if someone holds a different view what make you right and them wrong.And who is this we you speak about.

      Reply
      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        Law is defined and determined by culture, society, tribe, and family. While we may be influenced by religion, philosophy, other cultures, societies, tribes, and families, it is we the people that determine what our laws will be.

        Law changes with time, as our need and understanding develops, changes, and matures. At one time, here in America, we thought owning slaves was ok and that children could be employed in factories. The same could be said about equal protection under the law and equal civil rights for gays. America is evolving, realizing that denying a person equal civil rights and equal protection under the law because of their sexual orientation is wrong. And to head off your objection, it is we the people who decide right and wrong. A fictional God decides nothing.

        The core issue for people like you is that the Bible with its arcane, abusive, discriminatory morality no longer matters to most people. Even among Christians, they live their day to day lives in direct opposition to the commands, precepts, laws, and teachings of the Bible. If God’s chosen can’t or won’t keep these things, why do you demand that nonbelievers keep them?

        The answer for Christians like you is to gather up a majority of fundamentalist Christians and change the government and the laws. The problem is, such people are a small percentage of the American population and even less in Europe where you are.

        Reply
  6. Troy

    “Life” (actually personhood) doesn’t begin at conception, if it did identical twins would be the same person and clearly they are not.
    Of all Christian/Fundamentalist agenda, abortion is the only one I’m the least bit sympathetic to because at all stages of reproduction from sperm to birth everything is in fact alive. That said, I essentially think the Roe v. Wade was decided correctly. I suppose if I have to draw a line somewhere (it could be birth it can actually be after birth as some societies wait until a child is formally accepted into the tribe. I’m not sure but I think this is why the Chinese wait 100 days before naming their children. Infant mortality was much more common in the past) For me I’d suggest the rather archaic “age of quickening” where the mother feels the fetus kicking around. To me this shows the fetus acting on its own volition moving voluntary muscles. I should also add that the health and life of the mother always trumps that of a fetus.
    While there is a lot of propoganda about late term and so-called “partial birth” abortions. These invariably are the result of some tragic turn in the pregnancy, it isn’t as so often characterized the ditzy clueless bimbo lazily waiting around.

    Reply
  7. Timothy

    I think the point of Roe v Wade is a good one: the “State” has determined that women are free to make a choice. I don’t believe any entity or individual should hinder that woman’s choice. Partial birth for myriad of reasons is not accepted by law. In whatsoever the case, a woman should have a choice.

    Reply
  8. Becky Wiren

    Bruce, it is generally believed that there is no birth control that ejects the fertilized egg. In spite of the beliefs of the owners of Hobby Lobby, plan B actually delays ovulation, therefore, there is no fertilized egg. It used to be believed that the IUD ejected the fertilized egg but now it is believed they prevent fertilization.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)
  9. Martin Phipps

    > Does life begin at conception?

    Yes and no. The fertilized egg is a separate human being but it is not yet self aware.

    > How do you know it does?

    By definition, the fertilized egg has all the DNA that makes up the individual. Of course, by that logic you would also be committing the “murder” of potential clones if you deliberately cut yourself and bleed out.

    > Is your view based on science or is it based on a religious belief?

    Neither. The question is when a person becomes a living breathing individual. Obviously this is not at conception.

    I think it is worth pointing out that babies have been born prematurely and have survived so there is a valid argument to made concerning an unborn child being a separate individual at some point before the actual birth.

    > If life begins at conception, why are you supporting an Ohio bill that makes it illegal to have and abortion once a heartbeat is detected? Does life begin at conception or at first heartbeat?

    That seems (no pun intended) premature. Cats and dogs have heartbeats but we don’t consider it murder to kill a cat or a dog. It is possible for a living thing to be alive but not yet a living breathing human being.

    > Do you support the use of emergency contraception (morning after) drugs?

    Yes.

    > Should a pro-life pharmacist have the right to not dispense emergency contraception drugs?

    I don’t think it is an issue because a pro-life pharmacist would not keep them in stock.

    > Should I be allowed to opt out of anything that goes against my moral or ethical beliefs?

    What does this question mean? Obviously a person can choose not to have an abortion if having an abortion goes against their moral or ethical beliefs. Pro-choice means that they can choose to have or NOT have an abortion.

    > Is abortion murder?

    Not necessarily. However the law is not 100% clear. For example, a man killing a pregnant woman could be charged with two murders. I don’t think that applies to a fertilized egg. I don’t think the courts would recognize a fertilized egg as a separate person in such a case.

    > Do you believe murderers should be prosecuted?

    In the specific case of a man killing a pregnant woman I think the killing of the unborn child should be considered a separate charge as it is a significantly more heinous crime.

    >Do you believe that driving the get-away car makes a person just as guilty as the person who robbed the bank?

    In some jurisdictions there is no distinction made between the two crimes: both people are committing the same felony.

    > Do you believe a woman who has an abortion should be prosecuted for murder?

    No, of course not.

    > How about the doctor who performs the procedure?

    I think that the issue is being blown out of proportion because most abortions occur in the first trimester. Even where abortions are legal, third trimester abortions are the exception and are usually only performed if the woman’s life is in danger. Obviously if a doctor is providing third trimester abortions then this should be investigated as it may actually be safer for the woman to simply give birth naturally and the doctor may be needlessly putting the woman at risk.

    > How about the nurse that assisted in the procedure?

    I think it is a moot question because even when abortion was illegal I don’t know if the nurse was charged with a crime along with the doctor.

    > How about the person who drove the woman to the clinic?

    Now you’re just being silly.

    > If your believe in the death penalty, do you support the execution of murderers?

    It’s a tricky question. Capital punishment is a deterrent. However the standard of evidence should be higher for capital cases so that innocent people aren’t wrongly executed.

    > Do you use birth control pills?

    My wife used birth control before.

    > Should you be prosecuted for murder since birth control pills can, and do, cause spontaneous abortion?

    Again, that’s just silly. “Spontaneous abortion” is another way of saying “miscarriage”.

    > Should abortion be allowed for reasons of rape, incest, or saving the life of the mother?

    That would be a violation of privacy. If abortion were legal then it would be legal and there would be no requirement for women to divulge the circumstances under which she became pregnant.

    > If you answered yes to question eleven, do you support murdering the fetus it is the product of rape or incest?

    Obviously if a woman who has been raped wants to have the baby then she should be allowed to have the baby.

    > Should a fetus be aborted if the mothers life is at risk?

    Yes and if the unborn child can be saved as well then an effort should be made to do so.

    > Do you support murdering the unborn if it saves the life of the mother?

    Now you’re being silly. If a man points a gun at you and you shoot him before he can shoot you, have you committed murder? I don’t think there is any jurisdiction that does not recognize self defense.

    > Is your viewpoint on abortion a religious belief?

    No.

    > What passage in the Bible prohibits abortion?

    That’s a trick question because the people who wrote the Bible did not know that women contain eggs that are fertilized by male sperm. The Bible does specifically prohibit masturbation as it is a waste of male “seed”. There was even one story in the Bible about a man who refused to impregnate his brother’s widow (by pulling out early) and was then supposedly killed by God. The implication is that God would kill any man who has sex and deliberately prevents conception. Supposedly God would also kill people for using a condom or the pill. So the Catholic church prohibits not only abortion but also contraception. This is an example of why we shouldn’t use ancient texts to determine what is and what is not moral: people should not be pressured into having children they don’t want.

    > Does this passage define life beginning at conception?

    Before. actually. The people who wrote the Bible thought that sperm was a “seed” that was implanted in a “fertile” woman and that was how a woman got pregnant.

    > Has God ever killed the unborn?

    No, because God does not actually exist. Of course, the fictional character known as God did kill millions in the Bible, including unborn children.

    > In Genesis, God destroyed every human save eight by drowning them in a flood. Were any of the women who drowned pregnant? Did God kill the fetus they were carrying? (kill the mother, kill the fetus)

    Yes, all of this would have happened in the fictionalized story that was supposedly based on an actual flood in Iraq several millennia ago.

    > Do you support the death penalty?

    In principle, yes, as a deterrent.

    > Do you support war?

    In principle, no, because innocent people are killed in the process.

    > If you answered yes to question nineteen, why do you oppose the killing of the unborn but support the killing of those already born?

    You would have to ask someone who would be against abortion even if the pregnancy is a risk to the mother’s life.

    > Why do you believe that killing the unborn is murder but consider an American bomb killing a baby 3 hours old a tragic result of war, collateral damage, but not murder?

    Actually, the deliberate killing of children during war would be considered a war crime. It would be difficult to prove, however. I am certain that the Japanese military as a whole faced war crime accusations as a result of the “rape of Nanking”, an incident where many innocent Chinese civilians, including pregnant women, were deliberately killed. I don’t know if any Japanese officer was actually charged, however.

    > Do you support birth control being readily available in every school?

    Yes.

    > If you oppose this, I thought your objective is to reduce or eliminate the need for an abortion.

    Yes, because an abortion is a medical procedure and medical procedures always entail risk.

    > Wouldn’t easily available, free access to birth control reduce the abortion rate?

    I don’t know if statistics back up that reasonable assumption: I’ve heard it both ways. What I have heard, however, is that women are more likely to have unwanted pregnancies and at an earlier age in countries where birth control is not readily available and this tells us that simply telling people to practice abstinence does not work.

    > Do you believe it is better for a severely deformed child to live for a day and die than for the fetus to be aborted?

    It’s a moot point because if an unborn child is “severely deformed” then the unborn child is probably in the third semester. Most doctors would probably advise that the woman give birth naturally and they would try to save the child, if at all possible. Now, if you are suggesting that the child may have a genetic problem and the doctors can determine this from a sample of the amniotic fluid then this is an interesting question. Again, a woman might cite personal privacy as a reason why she should be allowed to have an abortion without the details being made public. On the other hand, it might be worthwhile to have the results of such a test being made public along with a confirmation as to whether or not the unborn child was aborted: this would be to avoid the accusation that the parents are looking for a “designer baby”. In Korea, for example, it is illegal for the doctor to inform the parents as to the sex of the baby because in Korea female babies are statistically more likely to be aborted and this suggests that the legality of abortion is being abused to select for male offspring.

    > If so, explain why it is better for the child to suffer needlessly?

    Now, hold on. I don’t think a third semester abortion is exactly a walk in the park for the unborn child either.

    > Do you believe that God is in control of everything?

    No gods exist. They are simply figments of the imagination of deluded people.

    > Does everything include children being born deformed or with serious defects that will result in a life of extreme suffering and pain?

    The assumption is that God is all knowing, all powerful and benevolent, If God were all powerful then perhaps it were not all knowing and would not be responsible for suffering. If God were all knowing then perhaps it were not all powerful and would not be responsible for suffering. If God were both all powerful and all knowing then it could not be considered benevolent if people were nevertheless allowed to suffer. If God were neither all powerful nor all knowing then it would not fit any definition of God that exists in Western religion.

    > Is someone a Christian if they support abortion?

    Christians should follow the Bible to the letter. Therefore, Christians should not wear leather, nor eat shellfish or pork, nor have any tattoos. As far as I know, there are no self described Christians who follow the Book of Leviticus to the letter. Therefore there are no true Christians and the question is moot.

    Reply
  10. Persephone

    Bruce, your note that God is the greatest abortionist is true. 65-75% of fertilized eggs never adhere to the uterus and are flushed out. Another 25% to 30% of pregnancies miscarry during the first trimester.

    Reply
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  13. Regina

    I am a pro-life atheist. Each human life begins at the point of conception. While I would allow abortions to save the life of the mother, I would not allow most abortions. Everyone who is a willing participant in an elective abortion should be prosecuted for murder. This includes the person who drove the mother to the abortion mill if relevant. In the case of a bank robbery, I believe that the person who drove the car is just as guilty if she or he is a knowing and willing conspirator rather than an innocent stool pigeon. Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy and Timothy McVeigh deserved to die, but unborn babies don’t. I hope this information helps.

    Reply

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