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Righty: Human life is holy and it starts at conception. Abortion is nothing less than murder. If only we could treat those pro-choice baby-killers the way they treat the unborn!

Lefty: Women are entitled to choose what they do with their own bodies. Period. Nobody can dictate how they handle their pregnancies. If a woman doesn’t want the baby, it’s her decision to make, and hers alone. No parents, husbands, boyfriends or reactionaries have the right to meddle. Got that, Bozo?

The New Moderate:

How can such bitter, divisive black-and-white rhetoric continue to swirl around a classic gray issue? We should be treating abortion like the nuanced and difficult matter it clearly is. Yes, a month-old embryo is alive, but is a clump of barely differentiated cells truly human? Is it human enough to force a pregnant woman to carry an unwanted baby to full term?

On the other hand, how can pro-choice advocates glibly argue that a fetus is simply part of a woman’s body, to be disposed of as readily as an inflamed appendix? Unless it has been cloned, a fetus is a genetically distinct individual. Nobody can argue that a fetus doesn’t represent a potential human life. The transformation of a pair of microscopic cells into a bona fide person is one of nature’s most dazzling feats.

So where does The New Moderate stand on abortion? In the middle, naturally. Early in the second trimester, a fetus begins to assume undeniably human characteristics and its disposal begins to look suspiciously foul. But where do we draw the line? Is a 20-week fetus sacrosanct while its 19-week brethren are fair game? If it were up to The New Moderate, we’d allow first-trimester abortions to any woman who requests them, outlaw them beyond the five-month mark (unless the mother’s health is seriously threatened), and permit them during the intermediate period only in cases of rape, incest or health complications.

I’ve taken this position based on my concern for older fetuses as sentient beings, at least marginally aware of their surroundings and capable of feeling pain. Sentient beings (especially human ones) should have rights. By contrast, it doesn’t appear that a first-trimester embryo has much more awareness than a bean sprout. Sometime around the three-month mark it can make a fist, while voluntary movements start appearing shortly afterward. That’s where I’ve drawn the first line. Up to this point, the wishes of the pregnant woman should take precedence over the welfare of the unborn. I’ve drawn the second line approximately where a fetus becomes potentially viable with medical care. Beyond this point, the welfare of the unborn must take precedence over the wishes of the mother.

Yes, the imposition of cutoff dates seems a little arbitrary, and I’m not sure if our solution will satisfy anyone. (Nobody said being a moderate was easy.) But we need to propose a fair alternative to the abortion-on-demand stance of Roe v. Wade, which is continually under assault and could actually be rejected by individual states. It’s time for a solution that spares us both the gender politics of the pro-choice warriors and the rigid religiosity of the hidebound pro-lifers. Say what you will about our solution — at least it avoids the all-or-none intransigence of the two warring camps. Abortion should be a medical and ethical issue, not a political one.

Summary: Keep first-trimester abortions legal, outlaw them after five months unless the mother’s health is endangered, and permit them between three and five months only in cases of rape, incest or health complications.

88 Comments leave one →
  1. Jameson permalink
    November 5, 2009 7:43 pm

    This post is a good one to consider the difference between being centrist and moderate. Sometimes there are opportunities to take action which both sides are unwilling to consider. I think the pro-choice and pro-life ideals can both be advanced…unfortunately both groups have different agendas than their names imply. Currently a women in intense emotional turmoil goes to an abortion clinic where the doctor has a huge financial incentive to convince her to abort. Many in the pro-choice arena are actually in favor of abortion because of eugenic ideals, the desire for more women in the workplace, or because they make money off of it. Tax abortion clinics and reduce the profit margin. Then use the money to pay for adoption expenses providing further economic incentive to choose life. Also, there should be more regulations to ensure that the women are making the choice that they truly want since there is evidence that indicates significant regret associated with this choice. When someone first finds out about a disabling illness, a doctor doesn’t let them decide if they want all care withdrawn or make other irreversible decisions until the doc is reasonably sure the patient has come to grips with the emotional aspects of the news they’ve just heard. This is not paternalistic, but it is a desire to serve the long term autonomy of the patient in situations where they are known to be under duress. It’s a similar logic for why some places make you wait three days after purchasing a gun before you can take it home which if you ask me is pro-“rational” choice. It borders on self righteous for an elitist to argue for the freedom for someone else to get on a table and have an abortion without supporting them after burdening them with a decision of that gravity. Why not have women desiring abortion go through a class to prepare them for the psychological impact of abortion, how to handle it, and then also educate them on the full range of options that they do have including open adoptions? On the pro-life side, many compromises could be made to reduce abortions such as more social programs for mothers to be empowered to actually care for the child if they decide to keep it. Why can’t we fund more sex education and birth control availability? Some think that more birth control leads to more promiscuity and more unintended pregnancies. That logic doesn’t hold up as western Europe has half the rate of abortion as the US most likely because of the low birth rate. This is one case where I disagree with moderation if it means apathy as that just leads to more extremists drumming up support to advance their own hidden agenda.

    • Surprise permalink
      April 5, 2012 7:54 pm

      “Currently a women in intense emotional turmoil goes to an abortion clinic where the doctor has a huge financial incentive to convince her to abort.” It’s my understanding that most abortions occur at Planned Parenthood clinics, which are non-profits and supported by private donations and federal or state funds. Any doctor seeking financial gain is not going to choose to practice medicine at one of these clinics: not only is their non-profit salary going to be limited, but they have to know that their life is at risk from pro-life extremists. These are not people motivated by financial gain, but who passionately believe in a woman’s right to reproductive health services.

      “Many in the pro-choice arena are actually in favor of abortion because of eugenic ideals.” Wow! Can you provide a single name of anyone in the pro-choice arena of the past fifty years and their statements supportive of eugenics? Perhaps you’re speaking of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. It’s true she supported eugenics, but so did many other people at the turn of the twentieth century (Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchhill), almost 100 years ago. They were all horribly wrong, lo those many years ago. Do you realize that Faye Wattleton, an African American woman, served as president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 1978 until1992? And, according to the Guttmacher Institute, fewer than one in 10 abortion clinics are located in neighborhoods where at least half of the population is African-American. To say that many people in the pro-choice arena support eugenics is disingenuous to say the least!

      “This is not paternalistic, but it is a desire to serve the long term autonomy of the patient in situations where they are known to be under duress.” No, it’s pretty much paternalistic, unless you systemically require ALL people dealing with potentially traumatic life and death/ health situations and/or to undergo a waiting period or to take classes before they make decisions.

      I’m a pro-viability moderate: a woman’s right to bodily autonomy ends after a fetus may viably live outside the womb (24 months), with exceptions for abortion when there is court-reviewed evidence of incest or rape, or a medical doctor determines that the life or long-term health of the mother is seriously at risk, or a medical doctor determines that the fetus has severe birth defects or genetic disease.

      • Gail Crandall permalink
        October 10, 2013 12:36 pm

        Science shows that the fetus is a human life (while be it growing) and the value is not determined by ability to live on her/his own or location or dependency. We do not place that standard on other humans although it is in place for terminally ill and elderly.

      • Dennis Gauss permalink
        December 19, 2016 11:00 pm

        Only in America are clinics profit driven,as with all life & death medical situations.All other civilised western countries consider it a personal choice & a right.If your real motive is religious keep it to yourself.Don’t shove your religious beliefs down my throat !

      • Emjay permalink
        September 16, 2021 1:25 pm

        24 months? Are we talking about elephants here? “When life begins is a scientific not a philosophic or theological question: Life begins when the chromosomes of the sperm fuse with those of the ovum, forming a distinctive DNA complex that controls the new organism’s growth. This growth process continues unless a natural accident interrupts it, or it is ended by the sort of deliberate violence Planned Parenthood sells.”
        George Will, Conservative Pundit & Atheist, 2013

    • Tamm6 permalink
      July 27, 2014 12:52 am

      Love this. And the term “pro-rational choice.” Good stuff.

    • Ivy permalink
      January 28, 2018 1:06 pm

      I disagree with your statement in the first paragraph. As a women who had an abortion at the age of 16, I can tell you that no one I talked with tried to convince me to abort. I went to a local women’s cli up where I received free group counseling and private counseling. I was asked about my reasons for choosing abortion over other options. I was also informed of my options and then I talked directly with the doctor about my choice.

      In fact, no one in that clinic, at any time, told me I needed an abortion, did not “sell” abortion. The choice was mine. It was emotional. It was difficult. It was also the right choice for me. When I left the clinic that day, I was given an appointment for another counseling session and a prescription for birth control pills and instructions on all forms of birth control and encouragement to ask questions.

      My question to you is, are you a male?

  2. November 6, 2009 11:02 am

    Great post, Jameson. (And welcome!) I’m trying to light a fire under moderates and dispel the notion that we’re apathetic, wishy-washy, noncomittal thinkers. I use the terms “moderate” and “centrist” almost interchangeably, and I don’t think moderate solutions always have to represent the midpoint between the two extremes. (For example, I’d want to outlaw any exchange of money between lobbyists and representatives, while both liberals and conservatives seem fine with the current system.)

    Back to abortion. Yes, you’re absolutely right that there’s far more to the issue than being “for” or “against.” Abortion is such a lightning rod for polarized thinkers that we almost forget about the actual human beings involved. Education and support should be part of the process.

    One irony: Adding government-sponsored counseling would probably raise taxes, which would have the conservatives up in arms even though the program would result in fewer abortions.

    Good ideas, though. We need nuanced thinking like yours in the public forum.

    • Surprise permalink
      April 5, 2012 9:03 pm

      I like the idea of REQUIRED government-funded counseling or education IF it’s evenhanded, IMMEDIATELY available and brief (no more than 1 hour). In other words, counselors on the spot or interactive website training. And, it should not set out to scare women or give them false information. Perhaps pro-choice and anti-abortion activists could come together to decide upon a mutually agreed upon moderate third party to come up with the curriculum.

      As for the curriculum, the following might be provided:

      Information about the health risks of abortion AND the health risks of continued pregnancy.

      Dispassionate depiction and explanation of the human zygote, embryo, and fetus at all stages of development.

      Information about all options, including local group homes that accept pregnant girls and women who are in danger of homelessness; information about available adoption services; information about how many children are not adopted, but remain forever in foster care; information about free or low-cost medical care for pregnant women; and welfare services for single mothers or low-income families in crisis.

      After a required meeting with a counselor or website training, a woman or girl could then be presented with two options: either to immediately undertake the abortion, or to consent to further optional counseling that would connect the woman or girl to the services mentioned.

      Many conservatives are so passionate about eliminating abortion, maybe they would be willing to increase taxes to pay for counseling, website training, and even group homes for pregnant homeless women and girls.

  3. Taliesin Knol permalink
    January 6, 2010 2:43 am

    I feel obligated to point out that humans kill sentient things all the time, and nobody makes an issue of that. How do you measure the potential worth of life?(which has proven to be oh so cheap) People who don’t want/shouldn’t have kids shouldn’t have them, and an EARLY abortion could help make alot of lives easier. Quality? or Quantity? If we value life, we must choose quality, not just keep bringing in more lambs to the slaughter. Unfortunatley, many people take sides on the issue because they are sheep and refuse to think of it in terms of their own morals. JESUS SAYS NO! WOMEN’S RIGHTS! people are fundamentally (and seemingly mentally) incapable of calming the hell down and using rational thought. (Yay for moderates, making the world a thoughtful place) These sheeple refuse to chagne their ideas no matter what anyone says(namely anti-abortion righties) and when their talk refuses to bring about change on the other side, violence ensues. (note: more so on the right, I wonder why???): And all these idiots are allowed to vote, ensuring that no progess is made, and the problem persists.

    • Chris permalink
      March 24, 2010 2:58 pm

      And I feel obligated to point out that a true woman’s right activist would be on the street demanding legalized prostitution and heroin, since it is a woman’s right to do with her body what she chooses. Unfortunately, a fetus is not her body; it belongs to the fetus. You don’t want children, don’t have sex. Lives a lot easier? That holds true with disposing of five year olds as well as five week olds in utero. Not a rational argument.

      • March 24, 2010 3:34 pm

        No, true woman’s rights activists would demand stricter prosecution of prostitution, because they feel it exploits women. As to the drugs, well, _lots_ of people, af both sexes demand the right to do as the please to their bodies. It’s not a woman’s issue.
        What makes a person a person? A body? or a mind?

      • Anonymous permalink
        April 17, 2018 2:06 pm

        The notnhaving second yuu don’t want a baby is a hot button statement. What do you say to the incest victim who didn’t want to have sex but has found herself pregnant because of another person’s actions. The same applies to the rape victim who didn’t have a say in her want to have sex.
        What about the men who don’t want to be parents? Do they have the right to seek aborting the pregnancy? What about male victims of rape and incest? They have rights as well.

    • Tamm6 permalink
      July 27, 2014 1:05 am

      I agree, except… lots of people make an issue out of the other ways humans kill other sentiment humans. Any time the taking of life is on the table (war, death penalty, self defense, etc.) it’s a huge ethical issue, with people coming down on one side or the other (to kill or not to kill) and everywhere in between, just like with abortion. In fact, the hypocrisy is palpable on both extreme sides of the abortion debate. It’s considered a liberal opinion to be against war and the death penalty but for abortion. Huh? And it’s considered a right wing position to be for war and the death penalty but against abortion. Huh again? And when you’re a moderate, you can go either way on any of these issues, depending on the specifics of the cases, and other factors besides simply “killing–wrong” and “killing–ok”. The question for me, and probably for you and for most anyone who considers themselves moderate, is always WHY, and what is the benefit, and what is the cost, in terms of human (physical, emotional, spiritual) gain or human (physical, emotional, spiritual) suffering.

  4. Luke Pickett permalink
    April 1, 2010 11:26 pm

    Does anyone on the right or left believe that abortion is good? No, not many. Does anyone on the right or left believe that fewer abortions would be better? Of course. So, do we REALLY do enough to avoid abortions? What if we did not criminalize any abortion(ie neither mother nor doctor went to jail, because that’s stupid), but that we indeed educated all involved in an undesired pregnancy about the life long effects of an abortion.

    Yes, in many cases, a life was terminated. But beyond that, what of the health of the mother? The mental health of the mother. Of my limited experiences, it is the rush to ‘solve the problem’ and sincere attempt to shelter the mom from mental harm is what actually causes the greatest harm. Mothers experience the long term guilt of the act of abortion. And it is this mental health issue that is mostly overlooked in this argument – ironically pro-choice arguing abortion rights in order to protect a woman’s mental health, when its been my experience that an abortion is a destructive mental force long term in a woman’s life — and except for a loss of a child – perhaps no other mental health force greater. So it is a great challenge to allow for (tragic) mistakes and protection of the innocent. It is my deep hearted beleif that real education prior to final decision on an abortion will lead to a dramatic decrease in the procedure. Is the right willing to live with the risk of ‘just education?’ Is the left willing to allow the education of long term – perhaps – permanent impact/mental repercussions of an abortion? I would say nither side like the prospect of working harder on each case instead of having a broad brush policy on their side.

    Again, if a 19 year old girl knew an abortion would reasonably cause decades of potential trauma/heartache, I think we would greatly reduce abortions. But criminalizing abortions is wrong. No frightened 16 year old girl – or her doctor, should ever face criminal issues if they beleived they were doing the right thing.

    The new moderate position: Education to the ‘nth’ degree with women considering abotions. I believe this will reduce 90% of abortions. But criminalizing abortions is a mistake.

    • Surprise permalink
      April 5, 2012 10:04 pm

      Luke, abortions cause decades of potential trauma/heartache for SOME women..not all. Here’s a website that provides positive stories about women who’ve had abortions:,

      Also, it’s quite possible that how early an abortion occurs in pregnancy plays a considerable role in a woman’s feelings about the matter. The closer an abortion occurs to the start of pregnancy, the easier it is to bear emotionally and mentally.

      There certainly are women who feel they’ve been traumatized by abortion and deeply regret the experience, and they are very public about it. I personally know of two women who are very close to me who’ve had abortions: one deeply regrets it, and the other simply accepts it as part of life (their abortions happened long ago).

      We’ll never come to an empirical understanding of how abortion affects women’s mental state (X% of woman who’ve had abortions deeply regret the experience, and have experienced mental trauma; X% of women have abortions, accept it as part of life, and simply move on): for most women it’s a deeply personal decision, and they won’t ever talk about it…to researchers, to their families, to anybody. The women we do hear about, of course, have political agendas and are passionate believers in their cause.

      “Education to the ‘nth’ degree with women considering abotions (sic).” Uh…no! Maybe an hour of required government-supported counseling or online education about the health risks of abortion AND the health risks of continued pregnancy; a dispassionate description of the developmental phases of human zygotes, embryos, and fetuses; and options other than abortion available in the community (group homes for pregnant teenage girls, adoption services, welfare services for parents of low-income, and arrangements for single moms to live with other single moms). And then, the choice between abortion and optional government-supported counseling to connect with the services provided for women and girls who wish to continue their pregnancies.

      • Ivy permalink
        January 28, 2018 1:10 pm

        Thank you, very well said!

    • May 26, 2012 1:59 pm

      I agree. I have personal awareness of this being the case that a woman has lived with these memories for the rest of her life about aborting a child. I think what you are proposing would help greatly.

    • December 7, 2017 2:17 pm

      I think that would work about as well as anti drug education. Personally I think we should just make birth control way more accessible along with stuff like plan B, and hopefully that would chop the abortion numbers. Honestly I don’t like abortion AT ALL as a woman who has watched close family members go through the trauma of miscarriages and loss of small children, the idea of purposely terminating a pregnancy makes me a bit sick in the stomach, i would rather the girls in question stop something before it starts than go through such a procedure as abortion.

  5. valdobiade permalink
    April 2, 2010 2:54 pm

    Luke wrote: …we indeed educated all involved in an undesired pregnancy about the life long effects of an abortion.

    I think you want to “educate” in psychologically constraining the woman to give birth because… you know… “long effects of abortion”… bad, bad, bad..

  6. April 2, 2010 3:38 pm

    Many women do feel long-term guilt after an abortion (something the Pro-Choicers rarely talk about), and abortion certainly shouldn’t be used as a birth control method. But how do we “educate” an impoverished crack addict who was just impregnated for the 5th time, or one who was raped? Who in their right mind would adopt the child of a crack addict? Sometimes abortion makes the most sense, though it should never be approached casually as a “women’s rights” issue. It’s a medical and ethical issue.

  7. April 2, 2010 5:25 pm

    look into the causes of those mental health issues. Might they be caused by all those nay-sayers crying “murderer!”?

  8. valdobiade permalink
    April 2, 2010 5:53 pm

    Rick, I do read a lot about Pro-Choice worrying that abortion can have a “long effect”, however their point is that if you have a reason to have an abortion, you have to work to make this effect “short effect”, not to point out that it is a “long effect” – it is not always a “long effect”. But the anti-abortion extremists “think” that educating in shorting this effect is akin to “let’s get a coffee, then an abortion, then see a movie” – easy attitude.

    Luke is wrongly “educating” when he says: “Yes, in many cases, a life was terminated”, because he doesn’t put in perspective that and abortion had a valid motivation. Luke put on the “spot” that when a life is terminated, he is not talking about the life of the woman who died when she gave birth (for example).

    Luke thinks that: “if a 19 year old girl knew an abortion would reasonably cause decades of potential trauma/heartache, I think we would greatly reduce abortions”, but if the 19 years is pregnant then the “education” instill fear of having a required abortion.

    If she is NOT pregnant, then maybe she’ll avoid to have unprotected sex, or run faster so she wouldn’t be raped by her father, rapists or not get drunk at the parties etc…

  9. taliesinknol permalink
    May 11, 2010 10:18 pm

    So… How about them Oklahoman’s? What’s up with that.

  10. May 12, 2010 2:56 pm

    Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, said the bill is not about women.

    “It’s about the children in the womb and the life God created,” Russell said. “If it’s immoral to stand in defense of the life of the unborn children, then I stand so accused.”


    Yep, the republicans want to give a religious spectacle in Oklahoma. Yupeee, Oklahomaaaaaa

    • valdobiade permalink
      May 12, 2010 3:58 pm

      77% of anti-abortion leaders are men, and 100% of them will never be pregnant.

      • taliesinknol permalink
        May 12, 2010 5:37 pm

        Science can probably fix that… 😉

    • taliesinknol permalink
      May 12, 2010 5:39 pm

      lol@ yupee, I think you meant yipee. But that was funnier.
      The Republicans aren’t for the rights of the unborn, they aren’t for rights in general. They just want to push their warped views of morality on everyone else.

  11. valdobiade permalink
    May 12, 2010 3:50 pm

    On another Oklahomanian law where they put negations I put affirmations, so I suggest that it should be read as bellow:

    “- Birth of a child does constitute a legally recognizable injury and that it is admissible to public policy to award damages because of the birth of a child or for the rearing of that child. This section shall award damages because of the birth of a child or for the rearing of that child based on claims that tests to show injury, handicap, disease, disability of the child prior to birth have been undisclosed due to doctor’s inaction or omission to perform tests, that contributed to the pregnant woman not having the choice to terminate the pregnancy.

    – Wrongful birth action can be brought by a parent or other person who is legally required to provide for the support of a child, which seeks economic or non- economic damages because of a condition of the child that existed before the time of the child’s birth, and which is based on a claim that a doctor’s inaction or omission to perform tests contributed to the pregnant woman not having the choice to terminate the pregnancy.

    – In a wrongful life action or a wrongful birth action, damages may be recovered for any condition that existed before the time of a child’s birth if the claim is that doctor’s inaction or omission to perform tests contributed to the pregnant woman not having the choice to terminate the pregnancy.”

  12. valdobiade permalink
    May 13, 2010 8:33 pm

    “77% of anti-abortion leaders are men, and 100% of them will never be pregnant.”

    taliesinknol said: ” Science can probably fix that… 😉 ”

    – Would we see men complaining that they were raped by wo… …I mean other men?

    Anyway, men will abort more frequently than women because… you know… men… they don’t have time to rise children…

  13. December 23, 2010 2:52 pm

    One point I don’t see being clearly brought out here is that there are two camps on this issue, and that neither camp actually wants the problem solved. The reason they don’t want it solved is that it’s a huge fundraising issue for both! Every time the status quo is changed or threaten, each side sends out zillions of fundraising calls, letters, and emails. And the bucks just roll in.

    Abortions could, at least in developed countries, be brought nearly to zero by preventing most unwanted pregnancies. To do that we would need better methods of birth control for both men and women (fewer side effects, more convenient, cheaper, more reliable, more choices), better access to those methods, and better sex education. (The first poster touched on this.)

    But the two camps do *not* want that. If unwanted pregnancies were reduced by 95%, the organizations promoting “life” and “choice” would have no reason to exist. Their donors would lose interest. Jobs would disappear. Many politicians would have one less platform plank to run on.

    (Oh, the humanity.)

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 17, 2018 2:12 pm

      I’ve said this for years and gotten in trouble and yelled at by many. So, often in fact that I stopped talking about it altogether.
      Thanks for voicing it here

  14. valdobiade permalink
    December 23, 2010 4:58 pm

    cp wrote: If unwanted pregnancies were reduced by 95%, the organizations promoting “life” and “choice” would have no reason to exist.

    “Unwanted pregnancies” is such a personal issue. However, viewed through a given social governing “lens”, this issue “becomes” public.
    Let’s say that unwanted pregnancies would be reduced 95%, some “social” pressure from some groups may ask women: “Why do you NOT want to have a pregnancy? “

  15. January 23, 2011 10:27 pm

    While the moderate or centrist position should call for some kind of compromise toward a mutually desirable goal (a reduction in the number of annual abortions), like so many other ethical/moral issues, sensible legislative compromise would lead to unsensible enforcement and unacceptable government intrusion in to what is at best a difficult and intensely personal decision. Several times bills have been close to passage in my state that would restrict abortions (I don’t know if it would have passed constitutional muster), but failed because some members of the legislature refused to compromise on the issues of rape, incest or the health of the mother. Were they really so ideologically rigid that they could not concede on any ground at all, or did the leaders on both sides of the issue recognize the difficulties in drawing a clear line for the purposes of enforcement? The inexact nature of determining the date of conception, the process of providing proof of rape or incest in order to receive permission for a legal termination, the subjective nature of considering mental health as well as physical health in making a medical determination of eligibility, along with other fine legal points brought up by earlier commentors, make it obvious to me that this an all or nothing issue. As such it put me on the prochoice side. I am just enough of a libertarian not to want the government involved in this personal of a decision.

    • January 25, 2011 11:37 am

      HC: That was one of the most persuasive and well-reasoned arguments I’ve ever read in favor of the pro-choice stance on abortion. I think the conservatives refuse to relent in cases of rape, incest and poor maternal health because they’re afraid of the slippery slope: if they concede on abortion under the above conditions, it will be only a short step to conceding on early-term abortions, then eventually ALL abortions.

      I still don’t think abortion law has to be all or none, but that’s my steadfast moderate thinking. I’m against late-term abortions, though I realize there’s only an arbitrarily imposed cut-off mark between early-term and late-term. Whatever we eventually decide, we have to realize that one camp is going to be infuriated. Though my moderate solution would infuriate BOTH camps, the degree of infuriation would be less on each side. I’ll leave it to you to decide if that’s a good thing.

  16. Antipasties permalink
    February 23, 2011 11:20 am

    Capital! It seems that compromise rules the roost where these touchy matters really hit the fan: in the gutsy innards of woman’s rights issues in the hinterlands of the good old USA. But this sort of thoroughly modernistic and urbane “woman’s rights” issue wouldn’t happen in donwtown Addis Adaba would it.

  17. Live permalink
    March 15, 2011 9:45 pm

    Look all you idiots that believe in abortion… You don’t own your body God does not your mother or your father! God loves us all even the abortionist…if you are truly sorry he will forgive you in anything you do!!! As long as women keep getting this procedure done and keep killing Gods gift we will never have peace on this earth till it stops why do you think we have all these catastrophic events taking place today at this very moment and it’s going to get worse in the days to come…. So people who believe in abortion go ahead be selfish… I’ll be praying for you 🙂 praise Jesus

    • Surprise permalink
      April 5, 2012 10:33 pm

      Dear “Live,” this is “The New Moderate” website. As such, it attempts to tone down extremist arguments and ad homenim attacks.

      I believe that you’re arguing from a biblical worldview, but there are some on this site (myself included) who do not believe in the inerrancy of the Christian Bible. But, if we did, we could certainly point out that God commanded Abraham to kill his non-rebellious, loyal son, Isaac, in sacrifice….to God (Genesis 22:6). The biblical God is hardly the one wants to quote in demanding that humans abandon abortion.

  18. valdobiade permalink
    March 16, 2011 8:30 pm


    “In Soviet Russia, unborn baby aborts YOU!!”

    Why worry about unborns? They can take care of themselves, just bring back the Communism. In Communist Romania you’ll be in jail if you performed an abortion and also the pregnant woman will be in jail just for asking for an abortion.

    US Americans are savages and stupid, they kill the doctors who perform abortions, Communism is better for “pro-life”-ers

  19. Anonymous permalink
    August 14, 2011 10:25 am

    I appreciate that you present how difficult these issues are. I think anyone who can take a black and white, for or against stand on many of the issues presented on this blog have not dedicated enough time to reflecting on the consequences of their decisions.

  20. Cindy permalink
    September 1, 2011 9:19 pm

    Live – it must really get your goat that there are people out there who are Christians who are pro-choice. And guess what – no matter how often you say we’re not Christians…YOU CAN’T MAKE IT SO…And as far as the “centrist” view….you will never stop women from making that choice. And even if you don’t like the reasons…it’s none of your damned BUSINESS!! I love this site, but when a man starts telling me that he at some point in the pregnancy I become a baby oven? I really don’t matter anymore emotionally or mentally…only if my BODY is threatened? And no one ever seems to talk about the reason abortion has been hard for women….they have been a culture where idiots who claim to represent Christ (and are in my opinion full of the ANTIchrist, like LIVE) shout out through the media that they are murderers….research shows a woman with a SUPPORT SYSTEM can do just fine, thank you. Just like any other major life event. But I still have to say as a woman…keep your laws off my body. And there is an underground forming that will keep safe abortion accessible. Remind yourselves of why Roe v Wade happened. Because women were dying having illegal abortions. Overthrowing Roe v Wade won’t stop it.

    • September 2, 2011 11:15 pm

      Cindy: I like your argument; you seem like an impassioned but fair-minded feminist. The crux of the issue for me is whether a woman with a genetically distinct organism growing inside her can still be considered a single being, and if not, why the woman’s rights should automatically trump the fetus’s rights. I know it starts to sound like early church disputes on the nature of Christ (is he purely divine, or a combination of human and divine, or does he embody two separate natures?)… but you have to admit it’s not as simple as declaring “keep your laws off my body.” There’s another body inside, after all.

      I tried to stake out a moderate position by imposing cutoff points for abortion based on the development of the fetus. I think that once the little critter becomes viable with medical intervention (usually after the 5-month mark), it becomes a little dicey to clamor for abortion rights based purely on choice. Before three months, when the fetus is barely human in form, it’s a different story.

      The cutoff points aren’t a perfect solution, but I think we need to move in this direction or there will always be strident pro- and anti-abortion factions fighting each other in this country. As I mentioned in the main argument, it’s possible that the pro-lifers could eventually gather enough steam to overturn Roe v. Wade. A compromise like mine would probably help ratchet down the angry rhetoric.

  21. Ami permalink
    October 25, 2011 6:18 pm

    Live’s on the wrong website. Only a right-wing religious nut would rant and rave and blame the world’s problems on abortion. Abortion cause earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, 911, the Taliban, Oklahoma City bombings, starvation, etc…etc….huh?

  22. Carol D permalink
    February 23, 2012 4:20 am

    I fully agree with your post (except I think extending the deadline for rape and incest to 5 months is a little confusing… don’t those people know by the end of the first trimester that they have been raped and are pregnant? I don’t understand the extension). Here’s the real problem I have with it, though. You assume that the “radical left” believes anything different than your stated belief here. I think those are the laws that have been in effect for as long as abortion has been legal and the only people I know of who are proponents of loosening that standard are fictional characters in the minds of the religious right. I know many people that today would be considered the extreme left (and I know quite a few people, my own conservative relatives included, who believe I am extremely liberal) but we’re really just middle of the road liberals who didn’t change with the times as the right (and most specifically the religious right) have tightened their grip on America over the last 30 years or so. I completely consider myself to be moderate, leaning a little to the left, but as I said, many people perceive me to be radical, mostly because I follow the issues and I get furious with what those on the hard right are doing to America and how no one seems to be stopping them as their extreme values are imposed on the rest of us. The radical left you allude to… there may be a few (mostly anarchists and perhaps a few environmentalists who have been driven over the edge because their numbers are so small and they have such little power against the corporate interests), but for the most part they are boogeymen invented by the hard core on the right so they would have arch enemies to rail against. Fictional characters painted with ridiculous false claims from the right to create a backlash that gains sympathy for their own extreme views.

    In fact, I agree with almost everything on your blog–all your positions on most issues–but these days those beliefs are called radical left by the right. So I guess I’m confused. I am glad that you are reclaiming the name “moderate” for your views, but I don’t think the right would agree.

  23. February 24, 2012 4:35 pm

    Carol: Thanks for your thoughtful post. Yes, it can get confusing when right-wingers manage to “mainstream” their reactionary views, just as the left has mainstreamed its positions on issues like immigration and gay marriage. I take a lot of heat from the libertarian/tea party wing for my skeptical view of unfettered free-market capitalism. I’ve also been chastised by progressives for dragging my feet on their pet social causes.

    Don’t let the extremists convince you that your ideas are leftist or reactionary simply because you’ve positioned yourself to their left (or their right). If the country shifts to the right and your views remain essentially constant (like mine), that doesn’t make you a leftist.

    Back to abortion. I imposed the extended 5-month cutoff for rape and incest victims because I’ve heard stories about women who don’t even realize that they’re pregnant until very late in the game. I’m assuming these women are obese, ignorant or both — but they still shouldn’t be forced to carry a baby that was forced on them.

    You’re probably right that the image of rabid fetus-killers is largely a figment of the right-wing imagination, but we need to ensure that women don’t use late-term abortion as a means of birth control. Extreme pro-choicers still seem overly fond of the phrase “abortion on demand.” We have to let them know that an unborn baby isn’t simply a part of a woman’s body, and that at some point during its gestation it deserves to have rights of its own. It’s a complicated issue and always will be, so staking out a moderate position like mine isn’t going to please either the pro-choice or pro-life militants. So be it.

    • valdobiade permalink
      February 24, 2012 7:10 pm

      Rick wrote: We have to let them know that an unborn baby isn’t simply a part of a woman’s body, and that at some point during its gestation it deserves to have rights of its own.

      “Unborn baby”… If it is baby, call it “baby”. If it is “unborn” call it “fetus” even if the Latin means “offspring”. These are medical and scientific terms, we have to keep them so we can avoid confusion and fanaticism.

      “…isn’t simply a part of a woman’s body”. A baby in not part of woman’s body, a fetus is a temporary part of a woman’s body. However, it is not anatomical part or intended part even if a woman wants to have sex just to have children.

      Sex is not the intention of having children. We can have children in vitro. Sex is just a way to satisfy instinctual conservation. A sperm entering an egg is a random act helped by a given favourable environment.

  24. spittinmad permalink
    March 14, 2012 1:13 pm

    Taking a step back: do we really need new legislation? I understand that it is already quite difficult if not outright impossible to get abortions later than 1st trimester. And that window of opportunity probably will continue to shrink as the medical technology to handle premature babies continues to improve and makes younger and younger fetuses viable. Thus, the moderate take is essentially what is in effect today.

    The point is this – government laws and regulations are stiff, static things. By the time they have been set into stone they are obsolete. Why create new nonsense laws? We already have quite enough. And this issue is already effectively regulated by just how soon the Neo-Natal care unit can take over from mom.

    The only reason I see to keep re-hashing this debate is to allow the left wing to paint the anyone slightly right of center as a reactionary religious zealot seeking to force us all into mandatory worship. Which makes the entire matter less of a moral dilemma and more of whether we allow the political manipulators to successfully frame the presidential race as a series of irrelevant issues. Or whether WE choose which issues are really in play and worthy of further consideration.

    In my opinion, the issue of abortion is not in play and thus is a classic example of smoke, mirrors and cynical manipulative use of wedge issues. We should be looking less at the issue itself and more at who is bringing it up and trying to accomplish what political effect with it.

  25. hummingberd permalink
    April 17, 2012 5:54 pm

    The abortion debate would be extinct if everyone was forced to pass a test, proving comprehension of the facts, statistics and data. Since said test is lacking, let me provide you with realty:

    Abortion rights are not based on the idea that a woman should be free to make any choice she wants, on a whim. Abortion rights are based on the right to bodily autonomy. No one has the right to use my body or its resources without my continual consent. All citizens enjoy this right. The *only* class of citizens, asked to forfeit that right, to quell the aching Christian conscience of this nation no-less, are pregnant women.

    Now, as for balancing the rights of a fetus versus a pregnant woman, this is a non sequitur. While the Roe v Wade decision already provides a trimester framework, these limitations aren’t needed. Why? Because we can trust women. Here are a few reasons why:

    1) Women who don’t want to be pregnant, want an abortion as soon as possible. Hence the reason 90% of all abortions occur within the first trimester. And of those 90% the majority are at or before 9 weeks gestation.

    2) Women who abort in their second trimester, are doing so because of hardship. Because they didn’t have the funds, couldn’t get the time off of work, needed the right time to get away from an abusive spouse to get to the clinic without getting caught, lacked reasonable abortion access (in Maine, a woman may have to drive as many as 9 hours to the abortion clinic)…etc, etc. You get the point. These women, if given the opportunity, would have aborted sooner.

    3) Women do not casually abort a pregnancy that is viable. Viability is generally accepted within the medical community, as 24 weeks gestation. Women who abort at or after this point in their pregnancy, do so because of extenuating circumstances. A pregnancy from incest that was hidden out of shame, a fetal anomaly that prevents viability, or serious medical emergencies. 99.9% of post viability pregnancies, were wanted. These women should be shown compassion. Instead, they are exploited by people desperate to end access to abortion.

    4) We can trust women. How do we know this? Just look at Canadian abortion statistics. Abortion in Cananda is not only unrestricted, it is also PAID FOR by the National Health Plan. Yet, there are fewer abortions, and fewer abortions performed after the 1st trimester, as a percentage, than in the United States. What does that tell us? That women are regulating themselves.

    The medical community agrees that a fetus at 24 weeks cannot feel/sense pain. The most optimistic projections are at best 32 weeks gestation. And even then, it’s questionable. Generally 34 weeks is standard. Abortions that occur after viability, are done so with the use of numbing agents/pain killers. All bases are covered.

    Sentience is irrelevant. But if it were, fetuses are NOT sentient. Do you remember being born? Do you remember your time in utero? Do you remember anything during your first year of life? No, I didn’t think so.

    Abortion rights should be decided on a state level? I think not. States shouldn’t have any more power over the medical decisions of their citizens, than should the Federal government. This isn’t a states rights issue, it’s a civil rights issue.

    For those of you who wish to see the criminalization of abortion, consider the fact that the Roe v. Wade decision didn’t create demand for abortion, or invent the procedure. Pre legalization, it’s estimated that 1.2 million women sought abortion. Women have used abortion since the beginning of time. Making it illegal won’t stop it. It won’t decrease demand. As a country, we’ve seen what happens when a woman is desperate to end a pregnancy, yet can’t find access to a trained skilled medical professional. She resorts to means that are not only unsafe, but often deadly.

    A fetus is a potential life, potential being the important word. An egg is a potential life, so is a sperm. We need to stop being so hysterical about this issue. Increase access to birth control and comprehensive sex ed. Increase access to clinics. Increase the scope of medical professionals permitted to perform 1st and 2nd trimester abortions.

    If none of these facts convince you to be at peace with abortion rights, at least realize that there is a middle ground. You can be personally against abortion, but politically for the right.

    Anyone could end up being in the position of needing this procedure. Anyone.

  26. April 17, 2012 9:03 pm

    Well argued, hummingberd, and I agree with all four of your numbered points. I do think we can trust women to make the right choice, and to make it as early as possible.

    Here’s where we part company, though… You adhere to the classic pro-choice argument that abortion is about a woman’s right to control her own body. I can understand how feminsts would bristle at the notion that men can make laws to impose controls over a woman’s body. But that thread snaps as soon as you acknowledge (and you really have to acknowledge it) that a fetus isn’t simply part of a woman’s body, like her liver or appendix. Unless it was cloned, it’s a genetically distinct being and deserves at least a little consideration as such. A sperm or an egg can’t develop into a human life by itself; a fetus can and will. The longer a fetus develops in the womb, the more human it becomes.

    As for fetuses being sentient or not… well, I would be remiss if I didn’t try to set you straight on this marginally relevant matter. You assert that a fetus has no awareness — because we can’t remember being fetuses ourselves. I think you’re venturing out on thin ice here… especially when you claim that a baby has no awareness because we can’t remember being babies! I’ve raised a baby and, believe me, their little minds are continually absorbing information about their surroundings, their own bodies, and the important people in their lives.

    I have a cousin who can’t remember anything before the age of 7. Does that mean she was unconscious all that time? Of course not… it just takes a while for long-term memory to kick in, and it varies with the individual. (My son and I can remember back to the age of 2.) A fetus might not be able to solve quadratic equations, but after the midway point it’s probably aware of its surroundings. We know they can feel pain, or at least respond to it.

    I’m hoping you can see the moderation in my own arguments. I’m concerned that the rabid right-wing backlash to the pro-choicers’ abortion-on-demand position could usher in a new era of illegal abortions. The backlash has already begun, with some right-wingers actually proposing a ban on abortions even in the case of rape or incest.

    For starters, I think pro-choice people need to drop the “woman’s right to her own body” argument in the abortion debate. Of course women have a right to control their own bodies… that goes without saying. But do they have a right to control the little body that’s growing inside their bodies? The pro-choicers’ staunch refusal to admit that fetuses represent a separate life alienates right-wingers and even reasonable moderates like me. This is why some states are going a little batty with insistence on sonograms for women considering abortion. I think they’re saying, “Why can’t women understand that they’re carrying a separate entity inside them?” Pro-choicers could disarm them by acknowledging that simple truth.

    Whether that entity is a human life or a potential human life will always be a subject for debate. After all, pregnancy and abortion are nuanced issues, and both sides need to ratchet down the rhetoric a little if they’re going to reach any kind of understanding. We moderates are all in favor of nuance.

    • April 17, 2012 10:46 pm

      You seriously prove your misunderstanding of the whole concept of the right to bodily autonomy when you reply with this: But that thread snaps as soon as you acknowledge (and you really have to acknowledge it) that a fetus isn’t simply part of a woman’s body, like her liver or appendix.

      Is a rapist part of my body? No? So, then, why does someone who is being raped have the right to control their body by removing them? This is a typical response by someone who has either absolutely no understanding of the concept or hasn’t even attempted to TRY to understand. The right to bodily autonomy comes into play only when there ARE two separate bodies involved. You can’t claim rape by an organ that IS part of your body, after all, obviously. So, there’s that myth debunked.

      Most pregnancies end in miscarriage. A fetus cannot and will not become a baby if it is separated from the uterus. Just like a sperm or egg will most likely not become a fetus if either one of them is missing from the equation.

      Whether or not you’ve raised babies is irrelevant. Medical consensus is relevant. And medical consensus has proven that fetuses and newborns don’t have the necessary connections for awareness. That is the difference between fetuses and newborns and a seven year old and/or amnesiac. The former is just beginning to DEVELOP their sense of awareness.

    • April 17, 2012 10:54 pm

      Besides, I’ve ALWAYS considered a fetus human life, which is WHY I’m 100% Pro-Choice. But, if it were a separate human life, not just a separate human BODY, abortion wouldn’t even be an issue, because fetuses would be able to develop OUTSIDE of the uterus.

      The backlash of Pro-Lifers makes it THEIR responsibility to calm down their OWN rhetoric. Putting the onus on Pro-Choicers, is simply further victim-blaming.

      Whether or not it is a separate entity is IRRELEVANT, actually. It has nothing to do with making an informed medical decision, after all. Besides, that statement right there, proves that you don’t trust women. Women KNOW what’s inside them is human fetal life. Trusting them means trusting that they know it.

  27. hummingberd permalink
    April 17, 2012 11:32 pm

    There are several points you made, and I want to keep my response short. Your points in quotations, and my responses below them:

    “But that thread snaps as soon as you acknowledge (and you really have to acknowledge it) that a fetus isn’t simply part of a woman’s body, like her liver or appendix. Unless it was cloned, it’s a genetically distinct being and deserves at least a little consideration as such.”

    I actually never claimed that a fetus was “part of my body.” The right to bodily autonomy states the following:

    No one may use my body or its resources, without my continual consent.

    A fetus is using my bodily resources to survive. When one is faces with a violation of bodily autonomy, they are permitted to use the *least force necessary* to end the violation. Once pregnant, removal of the fetus *is* the least force necessary, and the least force available.

    “A sperm or an egg can’t develop into a human life by itself; a fetus can and will.”

    Really? Could you please link me to reputable medical resources that document a fetus in the 15th week of development, that developed into human life, “by itself?” Because to my knowledge, fetuses need women to survive…

    ‘The longer a fetus develops in the womb, the more human it becomes.”

    A human fetus is always human. It doesn’t become more human, the longer its in the womb. No one is questioning the type of DNA of a human fetus. Both a fetus and a woman have the same right to bodily autonomy. However, if a woman becomes pregnant, and doesn’t want to be she only has two choices. 1) carry to term 2) abort. If you take away option 2, she has no choice. What *some* people want, is super rights for the fetus. They want women to suspend their right to bodily autonomy, for up to 9 months, to allow a fetus to continue to use her body even if it’s against her will. There is no other demographic, who is asked to do the same.

    “You assert that a fetus has no awareness — because we can’t remember being fetuses ourselves.”

    No. I’m asserting that it’s irrelevant. You used sentience as an emotional motivator. I’m telling you that the contrived existential crisis of a hypothetical fetus, is not grounds to ignore a woman’s right to bodily autonomy.

    And to your last quip. This one really irked me.

    “The pro-choicers’ staunch refusal to admit that fetuses represent a separate life alienates right-wingers and even reasonable moderates like me. This is why some states are going a little batty with insistence on sonograms for women considering abortion.”

    The current barrage of anti abortion legislation has *nothing* to do with the unwavering position of women’s rights advocates. It has everything to do with either extremist fundamentalism, or a lack of understanding on the issue. Either people believe that there should be no separation between church and state, or they see abortion as an issue of morality. Either way, both are wrong. We don’t legislate morality. We legislate based on civil rights.

    Forced sonograms laws aren’t designed to educate women. (I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t know what’s in her uterus.) They are designed to manipulate women in vulnerable circumstances. To guilt and shame her. To pour on the emotion. To possibly persuade her from choosing to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. What would you do, if the state mandated you, against your will, to donate one of your vital organs to someone who needed it? Would you be interested in finding some common ground? Would accept being emotionally manipulated and shamed over your decision? Would you expect to have to endure invasive and unnecessary procedures, to scare you away from your choice? Would you expect the medical professionals to lie to you? Or to harassed going in and out of the clinic, by people who morally disapprove of your choice? These are the circumstances women are facing.

    For you to blame women and abortion rights advocates for the current wave of anti abortion legislation, is misguided at best. There is no “common ground.” Either you support the right to bodily autonomy, or you don’t. I’m tired of people telling me that I need to “meet in the middle.” No. I won’t compromise. And I won’t compromise on defending *your* right to protect and maintain your bodily autonomy, either. I understand the reservations some have regarding abortion. My original post, should put those misconceptions at ease.

    • August 28, 2012 11:11 am

      This is somewhat bizarre logic. Rights always have limitations- as in the old “my right to extend your arm ends where my face begins” sort of thing. If the foetus is indeed a human life, then presumably it has a right to that life, and if exercising one’s right to bodily autonomy needs must infringe upon that right, then what? One usually considers the right to life to take precedence, except in extreme circumstances. (And comparing this to organ donation seems awkward- for one thing not donating one’s organs is not a direct violent act killing a person, merely letting them die as they would anyway- secondly, it might impair one’s own right to life- you might only need one kidney whilst you’re healthy, but what if the other gives out?)

      As to the whole mandatory ultrasound thing? Emotional appeal maybe, I don’t think guilt and shame. If you can see something that looks recognisably human, it seems more human than “just a collection of cells” you can’t see.

  28. September 5, 2012 2:07 pm

    The lines you drew are arbitrary and almost meaningless so how about we let the folks who truly see this as a black and white issue continue to battle this out. In the meantime let’s try and make sure that key offices are not chosen based on this issue or any others don’t have a significant impact on most people’s lives.

  29. September 5, 2012 2:17 pm

    Whoops. I’m rescinding that last comment. Abortion rates are high as shit. WTF America? You’re given a little freedom to make your own poor decisions and you abuse the hell out of it. Still not a clear issue though.

  30. March 14, 2013 3:33 pm

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  31. April 21, 2013 10:12 pm

    Roe vs. Wade was a very strange interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, and “the right to privacy” is a noble concept but no where mentioned in the document. Rather than inventing a new constitutional right by judicial fiat, it should have been left for the people and their elected legislators to decide the how abortions would be regulated in their respective states. The pro-choice advocates have pushed for zero regulation of the industry. We will never fully agree on this issue, but there is a very strong argument based on DNA alone that a new and distinctive life begins at conception. It is a grave undertaking to end that life. 22% of pregnancies end in abortion, and data from the CDC shows that about a 1/’3 of those abortions are for economic reasons. Somehow we must find common ground to show compassion while reducing abortions in America.

  32. Kelly Jacob permalink
    June 6, 2013 11:07 pm

    Count me in so far.

  33. Dan permalink
    September 21, 2013 7:08 pm

    Whether you’re for or against, here is some data. Abortion cuts crime according to economist Steven Levitt, “Freakonomics”. Unwanted children, are more likely to become criminals in later life. Higher abortion rates from the 1970s onwards help to explain why crime rates fell in America about two decades later. There is data to support this theory and based on my own personal experiences and “as logic would have it” a la Mr. Spock, I have to agree.

  34. December 28, 2013 8:59 pm

    The hypocrisy on the right concerning a woman’s reproductive rights is breathtaking. Force a women to carry to term with no prenatal care and then when she gives birth tell her, “you and your kid are on your own.” Don’t even think of going to the state for help with post partum care for you and your kid.

    The knee jerk response on the right only serves to stifle debate regarding the sanctity of all life, not just human life.

    Furthermore whoever advocates the death penalty in the criminal justice system cannot be “pro-life” when it comes to abortion. If you are for the death penalty in the criminal justice system then you are anti-life and are simply using peoples lives for political gain. There is no gray area here.

  35. January 23, 2014 9:25 am

    What are factual considerations?
    1. Human population has more than doubled in the last 70 years. We don’t need more people. Humans increase pollution. We should be reducing populations.
    2. There is no net difference between … Preventing a pregnancy … Aborting a pregnancy … Humanely euthenizing a new born.
    3. Every human cell has the genetic material needed to produce another human being. So, removing a cancer with clear edges (non cancerous cells) results in killing hundreds or millions of cells which are potential human beings.
    4. Unwanted teen pregnancies is a huge problem in the USA. And too many fathers never take responsibility for their actions.

    1. If a fetus has a soul, would not a benevolent God take that soul into heaven along with babies that die during childbirth. Of course! God would not send that soul to hell.

    I am not in favor of abortions, or unwanted teen pregnancies. But, I believe a woman should have the choice.

    Our problem is primarily a social one. We have unleashed the sexual genie on children who are unprepared to deal with the consequences. Children today feel “obligated” to have sex at an early age.

    Hollywood and the entertainment industry must share a considerable blame here because it will produce anything and everything for the mighty dollar.

    Get rid of porn. The kids see it at a young age.
    Promote families. We need mothers “and” fathers who hold the family in high esteem.
    Eliminate abject poverty. Uneducated unwed mothers have a very difficult task.

    Come on America! Stop fighting about abortion. Start fighting to prevent kids from having babies.

  36. June 5, 2014 5:31 am

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  37. Tamm6 permalink
    July 27, 2014 12:07 am

    First, I LOVE what you’re attempting with this site! The voice of moderation is the voice of reason and needs to be heard! Compromise is not weak–it takes strength to maintain a position that has no “popular” support, which always seems to favor one or the other of two extremes.

    Second, I like your compromise here, and I especially like the way you emphasize the fetus’ awareness and ability to feel pain. The only difference I would make if this were my post (which it isn’t of course), is that for me any abortion after the fetus reaches the point where it is aware and can feel pain shouldn’t be elective–it should only be legal in cases of dire necessity such as risk to the mother’s life–AND I think even in those cases an effort should be made to mitigate the fetus’ pain and suffering. We have the technology to inoculate a fetus; the only reason it’s not done is that doing it acknowledges something the abortion doctors and pro-choice advocates don’t want to acknowledge–the fetus’ awareness and ability to feel pain. The fact that we’re needlessly allowing sentient beings to be ripped limb from limb, as part of an elective surgery, is to salvage the weak political argument of pro-choice feminists.

    This, and the (in light of this, highly ironic) labeling of pro-life activities as “hate speech” and “hate crimes” (when they largely are not, though in some rare cases they are) makes me more sympathetic to the right on this issue, even though my position is *almost* exactly as moderate as yours. And I’m an agnostic, as if that should matter.

    • Tamm6 permalink
      July 27, 2014 12:17 am

      To clarify, I agree that abortions in the first trimester are fine since the fetus is not yet a sentient being. Add to this that any woman should be able to figure out that they’re pregnant, decide what to do about it, and obtain an abortion if that’s what they want, within the first trimester of the pregnancy, and any elective abortion that takes place after that point is just the result of procrastination or indecision. It’s a woman’s choice, but there’s a deadline on the choice, and for me the deadline on any elective abortion should be that moment when the fetus becomes sentient.

      • Tamm6 permalink
        July 27, 2014 12:37 am

        Why is it so hard for people on the left to see that a woman’s right to “bodily autonomy” (i.e. her right not to have to carry to term, her right to avoid something that in itself is not dangerous but only inconvenient and very common/natural/routine) is trumped by another human’s right to live (to not be torn limb from limb in order to save her the trouble of carrying to term)?

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  39. bookscrounger permalink
    January 11, 2016 5:02 pm

    I agree with a lot of this. And, I agree that the issue is tough, and drawing a line seems ridiculous. 20 weeks? What about 20 weeks and a day?

    An additional problem: when there is neurological activity, does that automatically mean suffering? We anesthetize people, their brains are still active, but they do not suffer. (Or, as I have seen as both an MD and as a patient, there are weird drugs, ‘amnestics’, that simply leave no memory; you respond to pain during a procedure, but don’t remember it; so did you suffer??)

    The one thing you didn’t mention is the problem of overpopulation and starvation, which means children starving. What is the path that leads to the least amount of total human suffering? Abortion, or birth with slow deterioration?

    Both sides are so unreasonable in this discussion.

  40. leo permalink
    March 23, 2016 11:48 am

    when was this article written?

    • March 24, 2016 11:18 pm

      2007. My views haven’t changed much since then. I still take a moderate position: a woman should have ready access to abortion during the first half of her pregnancy… and that access should be restricted during the second half (unless the mother’s health is endangered). I don’t buy the too-glib “Hands off my body” argument of the pro-choicers; they conveniently neglect to mention that there’s another body inside that body, and the big question is whether that smaller body has rights.

      • Ron permalink
        November 1, 2016 8:52 pm

        Interesting that men who cause a woman to lose a baby are charged (at least sometimes) with murder. Also interesting that the father has no rights according to the prevalent liberal view … But if a woman keeps the child he should be responsible for supporting the child. Just ides for thought.

  41. Ron permalink
    November 1, 2016 8:46 pm

    Every cell has the genetic information necessary to create a human. An embryo must undergo cell differentiation and what appears to an accelerated evolution through all the phases that humans went through … Fish to tadpole to reptile to etc etc to finally human infant. I believe our biggest problem is that there are so many unwanted pregnancy. I wish our society could concentrate on effective birth control and the stability of a two parent family. That, I believe, is our biggest failure.

  42. Dennis Gauss permalink
    November 13, 2016 5:06 pm

    In most States abortion is legal up to 24-26 weeks of a pregnancy. The vital word in this is LEGAL.It is the woman’s choice whether she sees her pregnancy through to term.No one has the right to dictate what a woman should or should not do .

  43. Anonymous permalink
    December 19, 2016 9:55 pm

    In other words: Roe v Wade.

  44. Anonymous permalink
    April 13, 2017 2:47 pm

    hey i think the abortion is bad

  45. Anonymous permalink
    May 5, 2017 7:39 pm

    The opinion that “it is the woman’s choice whether she sees her pregnancy through to term. No one has the right to dictate what a woman should or should not do” simply doesn’t convince me. It would be like saying “My 2 year old is a pain in the ass. It is my choice whether to see my parenting to adulthood. No one has the right to dictate to me what I should or should not do”.

    I agree that this is a difficult issue. How about considering erring on the side of being pro-life and advocating for adoption, etc., but not advocating for abortion to be illegal. Everything that is bad in life does not have to be illegal. Being obese is a horrible idea, but we do not make it illegal.

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  48. March 27, 2019 12:46 pm

    Judge just ruled 20 week limit on abortions illegal.

    So trying to put aside the emotional response and asking a logical question requiring an unemotional response, howndoes a federal judge decide 20 weeks is illegal, but 26 weeks is O.K. NC had an abortion bill for years and it was OK. Now with 20 weeks, its illegal.

    So 22 weeks is the shortest jestation to survive (2/20/2007 Miami) that I could find. Would 22 weeks pass the test for legality?

    I dont know how one can decide legality or not.

    • Jay permalink
      March 27, 2019 3:54 pm

      From your link:

      The judge “Osteen wrote that he was not creating any new precedent but simply following other federal legal decisions. He pointed specifically to cases out of Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota and Utah that dealt with this or similar topics.”

      Check out those six opinions for precedents…

      • March 27, 2019 5:40 pm

        Jay I understand what they based the ruling on,. Just because I support Trump policies does not make me a moron. How did the other judges decide 20 weeks was bad, but 24 OK.

        I ask because infants are surviving 22 weeks more frequently with advancements in medical care, So I wonder if 22 would pass legality.

        Now, does an infant at 22 weeks have to show they can survive without medical care and if so, what percetage need to survive to allow a 22 week abortion law?

        What is considered active medical care? Being in an incubator with no other treatment?
        Receiving oxygen therapy?

        So I guess 24 is good 20 is bad and some of these states will test 22 and 23. And then when medicine advances and 21 become more survivable,would 20 become a legal limit?

        Very interesting decisions to be made by the courts to come.

      • Jay permalink
        March 27, 2019 8:05 pm

        I don’t know the answers to your questions, which is why I suggested you track down the other state opinions…

      • March 27, 2019 10:36 pm

        Jay, I know you would not have the answers. None of us here would. I was really trying to get a conversation goin on something other than our president.

        I just guess the further the parties move left and right, the more they will infringe on individual freedoms. ie, conservatives controlling womens rights, liberals controlling land owner rights due to environmental issues like wetlands in farming territory. etc, etc.

        And then the courts become more involved in political issues to reign in states resulting in appointments to the judiciary becoming political issues.

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  51. September 20, 2019 7:44 am

    Your position is well to the Left of Center. A month-old human embryo certainly is not “a clump of barely differentiated cells.” That’s abortion industry propaganda.

    We know that the baby’s heart begins pumping blood within 2-3 weeks of conception, and the heartbeat may be detectable by vaginal ultrasound as early as 4 weeks from conception. By the time the mother realizes that she is pregnant, her baby’s heart is beating. Every abortion stops a child’s beating heart. There’s nothing “moderate” about supporting abortion-on-demand for the first three months of pregnancy.

    • Jay permalink
      September 20, 2019 10:59 am

      “We know that the baby’s heart begins pumping blood within 2-3 weeks of conception,“

      You mean a rudimentary 2-3 week FETUS heart.
      You anti abortion bozos have difficulty differentiating the two.
      It has the sentience of an appendix.

      Those who want children, good luck to them.
      Those who don’t, abort abort abort abort.

  52. Ms. Lois permalink
    April 7, 2020 3:12 pm

    Oh goodness, as a fellow thoughtful moderate, I applaud your courage for stepping into the cesspool that is reproductive politics. There is very little in the way of thoughtful consideration by either side about this topic. I agree it is a nuanced problem and should be treated as such. My stance is that while children are hungry, in foster care, or being abused, all the well-meaning proselytizing on both sides is hyperbole and/or hypocrisy. Priorities, people.

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