Facts about abortion history

1. In 1800, there were no formal laws against abortion in the United States, although common law suggested that the fetus had rights after a process of “quickening.”

2. Ten states passed anti-abortion laws in the 1821-1841 period.  De facto there were many exceptions and enforcement was loose.

3. Abortion became a fully commercialized business in the 1840s, and this led to more public discussion of the practice.  Abortion in fact became one of the first medical specialties in American history.  It is believed that abortion rates jumped over the 1840-1870 period, and mostly due to married women.

4. Drug companies started to supply their own abortion “remedies” in the 1840s on a much larger scale.

5. At this time there were few moral dilemmas, at least not publicly expressed, about the termination of pregnancies in the earlier stages.  That came later in the 20th century.

6. In 1878, a group of physicians in Illinois estimated the general abortion rate at 25%.  In any case during this time period abortion was affordable to many more Americans than just the wealthy.

7. Several states started to criminalize abortion during the 1850s.

8. 1857-1880 saw the beginning of a physicians’ crusade against abortion.  By 1880, abortion was illegal in most of the United States, and this occurred part and parcel with a rise in the professionalization of the medical profession.  These policies were later sustained and extended throughout the 1880s and also the early twentieth century.

9. Over the 1860-1880 period, doctors succeeded in turning American public opinion significantly against abortion.  The homeopaths supported them in this.

This is all from the very useful and readable book Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy, by James C. Mohr.

Comments

What arguments did the doctors make against it?

Presumably partly because of the high mortality associated with surgical abortions, especially before antisepsis.

More likely due to the higher profits from fees on overseeing childbirth with higher mortality than abortion, and the profits from overseeing the deaths and disability of children, few really preventable. Small pox prevention did not need doctors, just sick cows and someone with a needle.

To what extent did doctors oversee childbirth at the time? Back in the 19th century that was still a midwife duty for a great many people. Also, most people still gave birth at home (my parents were born at home in the 1920s) rather than at hospitals.

Presumably this one: the oath of Hyppocrates, in its oldest recorded version, says "I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion..."

Was that in the oath because abortion itself was opposed or because the pessaries used at the time where as dangerous as poison?

Don't know. Apparently still debated. Here is just what wikipedia says: "The Oath's prohibition of abortion is also not found in contemporary medical texts. The Hippocratic text On the Nature of the Child contains a description of an abortion, without any implication that it was morally wrong, and descriptions of abortifacient medications are numerous in the ancient medical literature. While many Christian versions of the Hippocratic Oath, particularly from the middle-ages, explicitly prohibited abortion, the prohibition is often omitted from many oaths taken in US medical schools today, though it remains controversial. Scribonius Largus was adamant in 43 AD (the earliest surviving reference to the oath) that it preclude abortion."

Scribonius Largus I see was the court physician to the Roman Emperor. Might a royal physician be under special instructions in regards to both contraception and abortion given how critical heirs are, rules that wouldn't apply to the larger society?

This history is very useful to think through. Scientific understanding changed the understanding of morality. As we learned more, we realized the immortality of things done in ignorance prior.

Consider how Physicians were the leading advocates of abortion criminalization laws. Why? Advances in medical knowledge. Science had discovered that conception inaugurated a more or less continuous process of development, which would produce a new human being if uninterrupted. Moreover, quickening was found to be neither more nor less crucial in the process of gestation than any other step. Many physicians concluded that if society considered it unjustifiable to terminate pregnancy after the fetus had quickened, and if quickening was a relatively unimportant step in the gestation process, then it was just as wrong to terminate a pregnancy before quickening as after quickening.

When one is doing the murdering up close and personal, that same one is often first to begin questioning their conduct...

Interestingly, this more or less parallels the experience of the Church beginning more than 1600 years prior.

Early church teaching was varied on the topic of due to the lack of understanding of ensoulment (very similar to quickening).

Some early Christian texts condemned abortion without distinction (see the Didache, some writings of Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Saint Basil.

Early church councils debated ecclesiastical penalties for abortions as well as makers of abortifacient drugs. However, some early Church Fathers such as Basil of Caesarea, did make distinctions between "formed" and "unformed" fetuses.

While Gregory of Nyssa and Maximus the Confessor held that human life already began at conception, Augustine of Hippo affirmed Aristotle's concepts of ensoulment occurring some time after conception, after which point abortion was to be considered homicide, while still maintaining the condemnation of abortion at any time from conception onward.

Thomas Aquinas reiterated and reconciled Aristotle's views of successive souls (vegetative, animal, and rational) with scientific and Christian understanding.

This would be the Catholic Church's position until 1869, when the limitation of automatic excommunication to abortion of a formed fetus was removed, a change that was an implicit declaration that conception was the moment of ensoulment.

Here to we see that scientific, moralistic, and theological understanding work in tandem. When one advances, it affects the others.

This isn’t mindlessness, cruelty, or other nefarious things that sought to undermine human freedom... it’s the logical conclusion of well structured reasoning combined with observed and experimental evidence.

What is Jesus reported as saying about abortion?

Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.

No cigar! What is he reported as saying about abortion?

You mean he had to use the English word abortion for you to reflect on his teachings?

Jesus never condemned pouring gasoline in my babies bottle either, so clearly he had no problem with me doing that, haha.

Thats bullshit and you know it, hun.

It’s bullshit to suggest that Jesus did need to specifically list every single prohibition rather than laying out a foundation for his Church to care for? How do?

Consider Jesus own words on this type of matter.

For example look at Matt 22... just after the sadduces were questioning various things with respect to marriage, trying to trap him in legalism, checking for inconsistencies in all the various teachings.

After this goes on for a while, someone asks him about the greatest commandment (law you could say).

He replies:

Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”.

Notice, loving ones creator and treating others as themselves contains the answer to many moral puzzles.

He is basically telling the crowd, please people... I don’t have to address every issue at length. This isn’t that complicated.

*its bullsht to suggest Jesus did not need to...

"... about the time physicians began to professionalize." They were driving out competition.

I'll bet the forms of abortion the docs were advocating against were coincidentally the forms performed by non-physicians.

Study the history of doctors vis-a-vis midwives. As they became "professionalized", the docs went on a crusade against midwife birthing, even though the midwives had lower mortality rates. (Which may have had something to do with doctors failing to embrace germ theory).

And this: http://www.methodquarterly.com/2014/11/handwashing/

https://timeline.com/horatio-storer-criminal-abortion-c433606491da

[Excerpts] In other words, the crusade against abortion — and the attendant medicalization of pregnancy — was one major way medical providers solidified and advanced their own expertise about women’s reproductive health, and differentiated scientific knowledge from the folk knowledge of midwives and the moral authority of religious leaders. During this period, according to historian Anna M. Petersen, “Women’s experiences […] were discredited as unscientific and medical doctors became the recognized experts on pregnancy and fetal development.”

Midwives didn’t embrace the germ theory either

True, but they also weren't giving pregnant women physicals after handling cadavers

True, but they were much more likely to wash their hands between patients - just for cleanliness, but it did eliminate more than half the bacteria, less likely to see several patients a day, and much less likely to have been treating patients with infectious diseases.

Enforcement of the feticide statute in California matches the patters -- driven by the state medical association's efforts to limit medical care to US trained providers.

The late 19th century was kind of a reactionary period in terms of social norms. It wasn't just abortion that was getting restricted - this was the end of Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow, the Comstock Law, and so forth.

I recommend Tyler read Marvin Olasky’s more accurate book on abortion history: “Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America.”

The book starts with history from the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1716, New York City passed a law prohibiting midwives from recommending or aiding abortions. A 1719 Delaware law punished those who counseled abortion, charging them as accessories to murder. Many laws passed at this time focused on infanticide, since that was the preferred method of dealing with undesired pregnancies. In 1710, the Virginia colony passed an Act entitled “An Act to prevent the destroying and murdering of Bastard Children”

Early 19th Century:
As the preferred method for killing the infant moved from infanticide (with or without concealing) to abortion, the laws started changing to reflect the change.

Legislatures during this period had to deal with how to contain abortion when there were no corpses, no autopsies, few if any witnesses, second -hand declarations, dying declarations, etc. How could a prosecutor convince a jury that a crime even occurred?

Abortion increased in certain categories: seduced women, prostitutes, and certain married women.

Among married women who had abortions, it was primarily from those who practiced Spiritism.

Abortion was primarily an urban phenomenon concentrated in the North East.

Technology played a role in reducing undesired pregnancies: The vulcanization of rubber.

Late 19th Century:
“For most feminists the answer to unwanted pregnancies was abstinence.” Feminists supported the AMA’s effort to limit abortions.

Between 1880 and 1900, abortion was illegal in the United States. The various states’ laws were unambiguous in their condemnation of abortion.

Much more in his book.

'At this time there were few moral dilemmas, at least not publicly expressed, about the termination of pregnancies in the earlier stages. That came later in the 20th century.'

The Catholic Church begs to differ, but it is true that the influence of Catholics in the U.S. was much smaller in the 1840s than in the 1940s.

One would have assumed that Prof. Cowen's Irish background would have prevented such a sloppy sentence, particularly in light of Ireland's recent abortion referendum - 'Ireland has voted to repeal the eighth amendment – effectively ending its longstanding ban on abortion – by a margin of two to one, official results have confirmed.

The Yes campaign won with more than 1.4 million votes, it has now been announced.

Returning officer Barry Ryan said the repeal effort had triumphed with a majority of 706,349. The final tally was 1,429,981 Yes votes to 723,632 No votes.' https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/irish-abortion-referendum-result-official-yes-votes-count-latest-repeal-a8370851.html

Is it possible to estimate what fraction of the "yes" vote was narrowly in support of abortion and what fraction was a loud "sod off!" to the Roman Catholic Church? (And similarly for the "no" vote.)

Growing up in Indiana in the 50s and 60s, Catholics were openly dispised by the holy rollers, less so by the methodists, with one line of attack coinciding with the Monty Python skits on Catholics/Irish. JFK was spoken of by my 7th and 8th grade classmates in ways that might seem to support his murder. He had to give a speech stating he was not going to be a puppet of the Pope implementing sharia law.

Abortion was illegal, but good white girls could get their problem fixed, according to the high school rumor mill, without a hint of condemnation, much like wrecking your car while drunk wasn't bad as long as you didn't kill yourself.

A rise in anti-abortion feelings is part of the civilizing process that extends rights to a wider circle, such as slavery abolition, better care for the insane, and the prevention of cruelty to animals.

I'ma have to give this a +1. Very fair point.

After survival (eating and not being eaten), procreation is a biological imperative.

In Genesis, God gives man and all creatures (Biology) the first commandment: be fruitful and multiply.

The Church has opposed abortion for 2,000 years. It was a miniscule phenomenon until, apparently, the 19th century.

The Church teaches human life begins at conception (biology, too) when the gestational human being has its soul. Darwinian evolution is NOT repeated with each pregnancy.

In addition to the two (mother and child) individual victims, society suffers. Women are (even) more objectified (sexual toys for men). Men more readily evade responsibility for their sexual depredations. Marriage as an institution declines. Cultural morals deteriorate.

Our inspired geniuses have convinced many that abortion is a human right and women's health care.

Aaaaaand DtheB goes and takes it way too far.

"It was a miniscule phenomenon until, apparently, the 19th century" Evidence?

Re: The Church teaches human life begins at conception (biology, too) when the gestational human being has its soul.

Biology does not teach anything at all about the soul.
And there is never a point in conception when "life begins". Sperm and egg are both alive too.

There is most certainly a point at which new life begins.

At conception the sperm and egg unite to yield a new genetically intact homo sapien. Prior to that point there was no new genetically intact homo Sapien.

No, you are wrong. There is no such "point". Conception, like death is a process, not a single instant in time. Moreover even the question of "new" life it's hard to say: Sperm and egg are haploid cells after all and they are genetically identical to the organism that produces them (since we are all diploid entities).
The question you should be asking is, When ought we acknowledge that an entity is a human person? It is an ethical question not a factual one.

Erratum: Sperm and egg are haploid cells after all and they are NOT genetically identical to the organism that produces them

"Every sperm is sacred..."

DtheB says: "After survival (eating and not being eaten), procreation is a biological imperative."

Not really. Procreation was a bigger problem when our ancestors were hunter gatherers. The need to procreate (as we know it today) started with the agrarian society when we needed more people to tend to the crops.

Biology does not teach anything about the soul. And your definition of morality seems to be a conditioned response defined by your religion for you.

Yet none of those extensions of the 'circle' comes at the expense of other people. Banning slavery takes away from the rights the slave owner used to have, but then if we assume there was never any natural right to own slaves to begin with there's no valid diminishment happening. Absent artificial wombs, though, you can't expand the rights of embryos without decreasing the rights of women.

"you can't expand the rights of embryos without decreasing the rights of women."

At what point were we bestowed our rights? at birth? 18? 21?

"At what point were we bestowed our rights?" Whatever the law, or popular opinion, says.

This is exactly right. The issue in abortion is a moral question, not a factual one: At what point do we acknowledge the existence of a human person with legal and moral rights? And that's a question we also have to answer at death-- when is this body a corpse not a person? The question about "when does life begin" is irrelevant-- you can't get to "ought" from "is".

At what point do we acknowledge the existence of a human person with legal and moral rights?

Doesn't matter. Let's grant all unborn babies are moral persons. That doesn't change the fact that this would be the only 'expanding circle' of rights that by definition would require diminishing someone else's circle. You make unborn children human by making born women less human.

At what point were we bestowed our rights? at birth? 18? 21?

Are you talking about positive or negative rights? Negative rights you can set at conception if you like. That has almost no implications for abortion in the US unless you can show me cases where the federal gov't is trying to force abortion on someone. You would be better going to China with that and arguing a negative right against being killed by the state means their one-child policy cannot be enforced with mandatory abortion.

If you're talking positive rights again my point holds. We more or less say all babies have a positive right to food, shelter, care etc. If a baby is found on the side of the street somehow we will provide for it. In terms of banning abortion as a positive right of the fetus, though, this would be the only case I'm aware of where expanding the circle for one can only be done by decreasing the circle for another.

I’m on your side of this but this is not how positive and negative rights work.

Positive “rights” are imo nonsense, but granting your assumption okay, they exist and are not nonsense.

You write granting negative rights to the fetus would “have no implications for abortion in the US” because no one is forcing the fetus to have abortions themselves.

This is idiotic. The negative rights granted to the fetus, while an insane policy, would obviously imply that it has a right to not be killed.

"This is idiotic. The negative rights granted to the fetus, while an insane policy, would obviously imply that it has a right to not be killed."

You don't have any 'right to not get killed' under classical rights. You have a right not to be killed by the state, that's it. There were numerous ways to 'get killed' hundreds of years ago from pirates on the open seas, bear attacks, attacks by various microbes. Your 'right not to be killed' only applied to your relation to the state. Is the state taking women and doing abortions against their will? Is the state, for that matter, doing any abortions? No it is not so in terms of negative rights what is the argument to outlaw abortion?

What's tripping people up here is the fetus dies not because the state is killing it but because it cannot live outside a womb. People die because we don't donate our healthy kidneys too. Refusing to sign an organ donar card may result in someone dying as a consequence (so's voting for a politician who authorizes a war against Iraq or defunds some R&D against a deadly disease or lowers the number of cops patrolling a violent part of town) but that has never been viewed as the state killing someone in terms of a rights perspective and doing so now requires a shift in views that would go far beyond abortion law.

Uh no.

Classical concept of negative liberty is not akin to mass anarchy and murder. This is the equivalent of

“Negative rights?! Yeah well go to Somalia, they enjoy the maximum in negative rights !!”

I don’t know where you are getting that classical liberty allows for murder by private persons.

In your example giving negative rights to a fetus would allow the mother to be prosecuted for murder.

Which is why we don’t do that. Because it’s stupid.

I don’t know where you are getting that classical liberty allows for murder by private persons.

Policing is a positive good provided by the state but it is not a right. Back away from abortion. Imagine your town cuts its police force in half. Not long after you are car jacked. The same day your wife calls you and says the mayor and the police chief just came by and impounded your other car because you supported his opponent.

You have every right to sue the town to stop them from taking your car both on your right to free speech and your right to not have your property taken without just compensation. BUT you have no right to sue the town for their failure to prevent your car jacking due to their cut back of policing.

You are thoroughly mistaken.

You are confusing the positive right to demand adequate (however defined) police protection with the lack of negative right to kill another human being.

You don’t have the right to 24/7 police protection to protect you from crimes as a preventative measure. That is a “positive” right and thus absurd.

You do not have the negative right to murder another innocent person. Or rob. Or rape. Or defraud.

Understand ?

Rights are asserted against the state and are limits on state action. When someone who isn't the state harms or wrongs you, you can sue for a tort in civil law but that is not 'asserting your rights'.

Even if you go to the dissents in Roe and in later cases by judges opposed to Roe you aren't going to find some right of babies against mothers. You're going to find talk about a 'state interest ' in encouraging children.

In other words, hate to break it to you but a state could if it wanted 'legalize the purge' and drop laws against murder, rape, stealing etc. Negative liberty confers no right on you to demand anything from the state in terms of protecting you from others, only limits the state in what it can do to you.

"Rights are asserted against the state and are limits on state action."

This is a ridiculously basic error. Please read something about the topic and get back to us.

"Classical concept of negative liberty is not akin to mass anarchy and murder. This is the equivalent of
“Negative rights?! Yeah well go to Somalia, they enjoy the maximum in negative rights !!”"

This is an exceptionally ignorant view of classical liberty. The concern with classical liberty was preventing tyranny by the gov't. Hence the state is restricted.

If you have a place with no gov't does that address the concern? I suppose in Somalia or the Mad Max world you don't have to worry about gov't overreach. However negative liberty doesn't require there be no gov't, only that the gov't have borders around its powers.

"if we assume there was never any natural right to own slaves to begin with there's no valid diminishment happening"

And if we assume there was never any natural right to murder babies... ?

Right?

People die waiting for kidney transplants every day. I could donate one of my working kidneys and possibly save multiple people (via donation chains). Am I mass murdering dialysis patients?

Not if you believe, as all right-thinking people do, that people should be free to sell their redundant organs. But if you agree with the existing ban, then yes, you are killing dialysis patients.

"A rise in anti-abortion feelings is part of the civilizing process"

Or, it represents a reactionary process against the the granting of broader rights to groups that did not have them before, in this case women.

Steve

Your explanation is most unlikely. The opposition to abortion began before women had the broader rights you mention. The radical advocates for those broader rights were precisely the ones advocating against abortion (e.g. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote about the "murder of children, either before or after birth"). Likewise when you look who actually passed the laws it was typically the radicals of the day:

1861 in Great Britain it was Palmerstone and the Liberals
1873's Comstock law was introduced by Sen. Windam, who made his name on railroad regulation and was an ardent radical regarding interstate commerce.
1810 in France by Napoleon

There were a few, mostly anti-Catholic, radicals who supported abortion, but by far more most of the abortion legislation of the 19th century was authored not by the reactionaries, but the radicals.

There is no law of economics that says allowing organ sale will ensure everyone who needs a kidney will get one. In fact odds are they probably won't so my decision to not sell my own spare kidney even in that world is contributing to someone's death indirectly by keeping the price just high enough for some marginal need to go unfulfilled.

And that’s obviously not the same as stabbing someone in the kidney or poisoning someone so that their kidneys fail.

It’s not passive or negligence.

Prof Singer is by far the most logically consistent.

Women have the right to an abortion, they derive more utility out of life than an unthinking fetus. The fetus essentially gains zero utility out of life because it has no self awareness or emotional state, whereas the woman suffers great loss in utility due to lack of bodily autonomy and choice.

Surely what matters here is lifetime utility, not the instantaneous utility at a point in time. If you want to follow the utilitarian path, you need to compare the expected values of the sums of their lifetime utilities, applying appropriate discount factors.

And that’s obviously not the same as stabbing someone in the kidney or poisoning someone so that their kidneys fail.

The fundamental thing that makes an abortion an abortion is not killing or stabbing the fetus but removing it from the womb. The fetus dies because it cannot live without a womb just as a person who needs a kidney cannot live without one (technically we have dialysis but let's disregard that for hypothetical purposes, anyway dialysis is very hard on the body and tends to shorten lifespans so it's not as good as a kidney transplant in the long run). Hence the right to an abortion is not a right to 'kill babies' anymore than my right to say no to donating my organs is a right to kill disabled people.

IMO a game changer would be artificial wombs or the ability to transplant from one womb to another. In that case the right to abortion would be revealed to really be a right to body integrity that ends once the bodies are separated.

"The fundamental thing that makes an abortion an abortion is not killing or stabbing the fetus but removing it from the womb."

False. By the way I guess I can go around sending babies into space now, since it's not the killing that defines the action but simply removing the baby from the Earth's atmosphere, which is totally fine and morally justified if they're an inconvenience.

And yes there is a difference between someone who is careless and gets impregnated (the vast majority of abortion cases) and their obligation to the human being growing in their body as a result of their own actions, let's say FIVE MONTHS after conception (when abortion is still perfectly legal), and your obligation to any random person who needs a kidney.

False. By the way I guess I can go around sending babies into space now, since it's not the killing that defines the action but simply removing the baby from the Earth's atmosphere,

Do you own the Earth's atmosphere? What set of transfers ended up with your convenience as the only factor to consider for use of the earth's atmosphere? I think that's a much harder case of property rights to make than the internal organs of your own body.

I think you could develop and obligation type case but it does lead to some odd conclusions. For example, rather than supporting laws that say minors need their parents permission to get abortion it would become the opposite since presumably an older woman should know better than a younger woman you'd have more restrictions on a 25 year old woman than a 15 year old one!

Or you basically come down to Roe.v.Wade framework where you leave it up to the woman to decide with some restrictions on late term abortion which are really not necessary since almost no one has ever been identified having 'recreational' late term abortions.

"A rise in anti-abortion feelings is part of the civilizing process that extends rights to a wider circle, such as slavery abolition, better care for the insane, and the prevention of cruelty to animals."

But those most opposed to abortion are also the most opposed to paying for good health care, food, housing, childcare, education for lower middle class to poor children, instead seeking to impose corruption of blood on the children of immoral girls and women who got pregnant while not being at least middle class (and able to get an abortion if it would result in poverty).

While Trump wants immigrants from the Nordic nations, those nations are the most immoral, providing expansive welfare support to the bastard children of women who abandon their children to work, aided by a massive welfare state that provides for all the needs of children.

Sailer's argument does not work because, except for African-American Baptists, those who are most against equal rights for gays, African Americans, transgendered people, and immigrants tend to be the most against abortion.

Tell it to the 40% of Democrats who oppose abortion.

Except oddly enough, contraception to prevent abortion was not part of that civilizing process. After all, that was part of the Comstock Act at a national level, and here is a brief overview of the background - 'Contraception was not restricted by law in the United States throughout most of the 19th century, but in the 1870s a social purity movement grew in strength, aimed at outlawing vice in general, and prostitution and obscenity in particular. Composed primarily of Protestant moral reformers and middle-class women, the Victorian-era campaign also attacked contraception, which was viewed as an immoral practice that promoted prostitution and venereal disease. Anthony Comstock, a grocery clerk and leader in the purity movement, successfully lobbied for the passage of the 1873 Comstock Act, a federal law prohibiting mailing of "any article or thing designed or intended for the prevention of conception or procuring of abortion" as well as any form of contraceptive information. After passage of this first Comstock Act, he was appointed to the position of postal inspector Many states also passed similar state laws (collectively known as the Comstock laws), sometimes extending the federal law by additionally restricting contraceptives, including information about them and their distribution. Comstock was proud of the fact that he was personally responsible for thousands of arrests and the destruction of hundreds of tons of books and pamphlets.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birth_control_in_the_United_States#Birth_control_before_20th_century

The date 1857 sounded suspicious, so I downloaded the book, and there it was: the "crusade" was initiated by a young Boston "activist", Dr. Storer, and is instantly recognizable to any student of modern progressivism (p. 164):

[The anti-abortion crusade] provided the exhilaration of helping once again to make public policy, as well as the feeling that physicians could begin to "minister" to the larger needs of their society as before. Indeed, the messianic tone of the physicians' crusade was striking. Storer's AMA report of 1859 had a sermon-like quality in its exhortation to try to change society, and so did the numerous articles, reports, and editorials that followed for the next twenty years in the medical journals. Some writers, including E. P. Christian and John P. Stoddard, two of Michigan's anti-abortion stalwarts, stated explicitly on different occasions that what the doctors were doing was in a real sense "missionary" work; it was time for the enlightened once again to come forward and guide the benighted public on a key question of social and moral policy. In that way the medical profession might recapture some of the luster of its golden past, when the physician had been a major voice in his society and enjoyed the status of a "god." ... The fact that this belief [that abortion was morally wrong] coincided nicely with their professional self-interest is no reason to accuse physicians of hypocrisy on the issue[.]

Indeed.

Well, so laying out a major money maker for American doctors involving a practice that also can be traced to the 1870s with a considerable amount of subsequent moralizing is simply beyond the pale.

Always entertaining to see what is allowed and what isn't here.

Yeppers. The doctors discovered morality about abortion in pure coincidence that it allowed them to hammer non-doctors. Unlike, say, eugenics, which was the result of deeply-seated innate morality, since everyone knows that inferiors shouldn't breed, and ought to be castrated instead.

Here's a nice rule of thumb: if one's economic well-being benefits from one's stated moral position, others ought to be skeptical of the purported moral position.

Hello "Prosperity Gospel."

Why hello, Jesse Jackson!

Hello 1988!

Don't think he was particularly a flim-flam man in '88. I think 2001 was his most lucrative year (Toyota). He was working Silicon Valley as late as last year.

Yeah you're probably right. I was just being snarky.

Not sure exactly when Jackson overtly monetized his cred in earnest. But that's a good guess.

But of course, the 00's was the golden age of monetizing everything.

So sad to see conservatives playing class warfare. Bad conservatives, bad.

You're suggesting immigrants and African-Americans have different class interests? A rather surprising admission.

"I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion. But I will keep pure and holy both my life and my art. "

Many early Gentile Christians, with Christianity's roots in a small Jewish sect, believed they had to be Law observant, including circumcision, but St. Paul taught Gentiles they would be denied Grace if they were Law observant. This no doubt contributed to Paul's popularity among adult males.

The rise of laws prohibiting abortion in the 19th century coincided with the rise of women's roles outside the home. The rise of opposition to abortion in the 20th century coincided with the rise of women's roles outside the home. Paul taught that wives must submit to their husbands as they submit to Christ, that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church: "Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything". This no doubt contributed to Paul's popularity among adult males.

In the ancient world, child bearing wasn't so much a choice as it was a necessity to maintain the population, and existence, of the tribe.
The death of mother or child, or both, during childbirth was so common that every woman needed to have at least five to eight pregnancies just to maintain the population of the tribe. The life of a woman in the ancient world has been described as one of sex, birth, death, and decay.

In the ancient world infant abandonment was not rare. And the practice continued right up until the early 20th century, though in later times infants were generally abandoned where it was hoped they would be promptly found and cared for-- though all too often some babies still died.

It is always interesting to me that the early feminists like Alice Paul and Elizabeth Cady Stanton made such good predictions about abortion. They believed that abortion lead to women being exploited for sex, that it would disrupt marriage, and that it would disrupt desired childbearing.

Which is pretty much what happens today.

Marriage rates are far lower than women's preferences indicate. Desired childbearing lags significantly below women's preferences. And the expectation of easy sex with low male investment has rarely been more common. Only about 9% of women actively desire friends-with-benefits per Kinsey a few years back ... yet something like double that number are currently in such a relationship.

Revealed preferences are tough.

Especially when we have garbage survey data that always so neatly conforms to social desirability bias.

Econ tells us watch what they do, not listen to what they say.

Women clearly rather have abortion rights and a career. By a landslide.

Women always find a way to be dissatisfied; that dissatisfaction blows in different directions over time.

s/Women/People/

"Women clearly rather have abortion rights and a career. By a landslide."

Mansplaining? Are all women given an option, blue pill or red pill, abortion rights and a career or the opposite? Otherwise how could you say "clearly"? Do we ignore the survey data that women's happiness is going down over time?

First of all - ignore survey nonsense. Social desirability bias infects these to the point of uselessness unless it aligns with what you are surveying in a parallel manner (this is why polling is still useful). And even if it were not, happiness research is such obvious bullshit it would mean nothing anyways. Gonna do a bunch of econometric analyses to determine what causes happiness ? Talk about angels on a pin.

Second of all - the point is that we should let their actions speak for themselves in regards to utility maximization. They choose careers and limit their fertility in EVERY country where they have been given the freedom to choose. This is not remotely controversial.

Name one country in the world where women have the freedom to limit their fertility and have equality in occupational opportunity and decide in mass to choose having 12 children.

We will all be waiting.

*en masse

Autocorrect

Woman also choose to limit their fertility in all countries where abortion is illegal. They even did so in countries that made it legal and the recriminalized it (e.g. Poland). A secular decline in childbearing occurs regardless of abortion policy.

What we do find is that pretty much everywhere in the West is that the number of children desired by women exceeds the number born.

As far as choosing careers, actually no. Niger, Kenya, China, and oddly enough the US since 2000s have seen decreased female labor force participation during liberalization.

Regardless I seem to have missed the memo indicating that women could only want children or a career. Merely placing them in a ranked order does nothing to indicate the central truth that women want more children than society lets them have at an acceptable cost.

Nor, frankly do I see how abortion's popularity, or lack thereof, changes the fact that the pro-life feminists (e.g. Stanton) were correct in predicting that abortion would not lead to women having the number of children they desired. They were not believed in their time, and frankly mocked ... yet they were correct.

I suppose we could just say woman cannot know their own minds or be brave enough to communicate that effectively ... except the surveys all mirror my experience treating women. I have had hundreds of patients lament being unable to have as many children as they liked during their reproductive years. They cite a lack of good husbands, the need for income to cover housing/schooling costs, and the difficulty of being a single parent (or dating as a parent) in our society.

If we are not willing to accept the data about desired fertility, then we certainly should not accept similar data about gay marriage (where opposition has literally cost people their careers), immigration, or any other political issue.

So thanks, but I will continue to believe that woman can function as capable adults and express their preferences.

And they are expressing their preferences, although it’s clear you have no idea what revealed preferences are.

Their preferences happen to line up with having abortions. And having below replacement fertility. And having careers. And delaying marriage. That’s what the data show.

Econ says think on the margin and conceptualize indifference curves. When people make decisions that means they preferred A over B at the current price points. Not that they wouldn’t rather have all of A and B for free. And asking people in a survey or in your office if they rather have A and B with no cost to themselves is...great...and useless.

I’m not sure what your point is other than you have the right to decide what a woman does with her body. Seems like gay marriage strikes a nerve too.

What do they say about god complexes and doctors?

I am fully aware what revealed preferences are. Saying that women reveal a preference for A > B does not invalidate "Women desire B".

Just because I am unwilling to pay a specific price for a good does not mean I have zero desire for that good.

Perhaps women's ranked order preference (the only thing revealed preference can tell us here) is: career > children > abortion, children > abortion > career, abortion > career > children, or some other permutation ... so what? Woman can want all three of those things. What is prescient about the suffragettes is that they foresaw that abortion would lead to fewer children.

The fact that our current state of affairs might be what women want given some set of constraints does not invalidate that remarkable and counterintuitive prediction from being right. After all Sanger et. al were promising women complete control of their fertility; women would have as many children as they wished - no more and no less.

Yet this has not happened. Consistently, regardless of methodology or time frame, women have been undershooting desired fertility. They have also been undershooting predicted fertility.

The only option you appear to endorse is "woman cannot be trusted in surveys". Maybe surveys are garbage ... but do you apply this heuristic to other data? Like say about gay marriage? Or immigration? Or healthcare? Exactly when should I discount survey data, focus group data, or interview data because of social desirability bias?

The data regarding desired and intended fertility is much more robust than most of the data I have on psychiatric medications for treating things like depression and schizophrenia. Should I stop prescribing escitolapram?

Its data is based entirely on this sort of survey. It has much stronger desireability bias in the questions (e.g. how many times have you thought about harming yourself, how many times have you thought about harming others), and is based on people who have known psychiatric issues.

If I am supposed to ignore the sort of data that undergrids basically all psychiatric pharmacotherapy what should I use to replace? My own expert judgment and god complex?

There's something like one abortion provider in Texas meaning you have to drive a few hundred miles to get one. In contrast abortion is much more available in many blue states.

Hence you should be able to back up your theory by pointing out much higher rates of marriage in Texas along with higher numbers of children, greater happiness reports from women etc.

there is at least 14 in Texas: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-center?location=TX&limit=14&service=abortion

"... something like one" = 44 in 2014

https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/state-facts-about-abortion-texas

There are plenty of places in Texas where, if you get bitten by a rattlesnake, you are looking at a drive of couple hundred miles ...

Possibly true but not really relevant. Any hospital and many clinics and doctors offices could handle someone bitten by a rattlesnake. If you need to drive hundreds of miles it's because you're hundreds of miles away from *anything*.

More than half of Texas counties have no pediatrician or gynecologist or obstetrician, either.

Not ideal but a regular doctor can help a pregnant woman in labor or a child who is in distress. This isn't much of a counter unless you want to tell me that more than half of Texas counties lack any type of professional medical providers of any type.

I am not sure how driving across multiple counties to take a child to see a doctor is less of a hardship than driving across several counties to get to a planned medical procedure, but I assume the difference to right-thinkers lies in the particular nature of the planned medical procedure. It has a social benefit.

But we're not eugenicists, oh no ...

I'm not sure why you are trying to tell me there is no medical professionals in over half of Texas.

The argument made was that abortions availability alters the marriage market and the relationship market for men and women (namely improves the lot of men while hurts women). Fact is while abortion is technically not illegal in Texas, it is a lot less available than it is in many other states. If the thesis is correct why put all this effort into nitpicking about how many miles one would have to drive to find a pediatric rattlesnake bite specialist in Texas rather than checking the actual date to confirm the hypothesis?

It was your notion that there was "something like one" abortion provider in Texas that interested me. (Is something like one: zero, two, five?). Sorry, I confess I didn't pay attention to your ruminations based upon that, er, statement of fact.

Let's say there's 44. Leave aside that was 2014 and since then there's no doubt been additional laws and protests that might have decreased the number of available places to get abortions.

Texas is pretty big and I suspect at any given time it has plenty of pregnant women in it. For example, I'm showing there's 407 hospitals in Texas alone. So 1 or 44 it does seem pretty clear abortion is for all practical purposes not as available in Texas as it is in more Roe friendly states.

I think the burden is on you if you want to assert no abortion is exactly equally available in every state no matter what as long as Roe stands. Clearly with the efforts pro-life and pro-choice groups put in state races they both seem to be under the impression such things make a difference. Perhaps they are wrong so since you are unable to present data on whether or not Sure's thesis pans out in the real world, you can make a case that your personal little theory is worth any consideration.

Sure and I are not the same commenter - did it seem like that? Bear of little brain here, I didn't process his original comment. "You sure didn't!" :-)

Roughly half the births in Texas are to Hispanic mothers, many of them immigrants, many from Mexico, where abortion is - believe it or not - less accepted and common than in Texas, apparently. So for a great many pregnant women, perhaps nearing half, Texas is a step closer to the utopia you envision, rather than farther away.

So the 14 or 44 locations in all of Texas is serving not just Texas's population of women who want abortion but also Mexican immigrant women who want abortion. But then again blue states still have more abortion providers so Sure's thesis should hold when comparing to blue states. It would be extra credit if you then compared to Mexico to see if the pattern held.

For the record I'm not clear the two are comparable as I suspect Mexico may have strict anti-abortion laws but not necessarily strict enforcement of those laws.

But we're not eugenicists, oh no ...

Wouldn't a eugenics program require actual state intervention in procreative decisions? Exactly how do you have eugenics if procreative decisions are left to individuals?

If, as Tyler once said, "An especially controversial conservative nudge is all the policy steps and regulatory restrictions and funding cuts that make it harder for women to get abortions" - then are not parallel efforts by the left a nudge? A socially sanctioned way of getting rid of babies no one really wants? But I'm not a baby person, one of those women who goes berserk at the sight of a random baby, never was, so I don't trust myself to know the love other people, left or right, may be feeling towards unborn babies. It is certainly possible that although it was progressives who brought us eugenics, the left really has closed the door on that history, and does care about all those babies, and wish that they were in the world, but for a continuing and singular devotion to the right to privacy.

I guess, if abortion is, at its simplest, a way for women to be happy, not a blunt way to manage population, then China and Russia have much to teach us, if we are ready to learn.

Except this doesn't really answer my question. The problem with a eugenics program that leaves all the procreative decisions up to individuals is that what ensures the 'baby no one wants' won't be wanted by its mother? Even worse, since liberals tend to support things like universal health care, daycare subsidies, childcare credits, any 'nudge' the supposed target for eugenics would get by abortion being legal would also be getting counter-nudges in the opposite direction. On the other side of the eugenics problem is if abortion is just legal then what about the babies you do want? They could just as easily end up aborted.

There's not one eugenics program in history you can point to applied to humans or animals that was premised on individuals deciding procreation for themselves (even with 'nudges'). Can you?

Also you should be able to show evidence of male migration out of Texas to blue states and female migration from blue to red states. After all, wouldn't the blue states be the states of easy sex for men while red be the states where women aren't oppressed by 'friends with benefits' relationship statuses?

Why exactly would that be?

The burden to the male cads of saying "here's cash to travel to El Paso" is pretty low; maybe crossing $1000, but I doubt it. The wage premium to work and live in Texas is much higher. The cost, at most, of procuring abortion is a plane ticket and some hotel stays. I suspects very few people make decisions about where to live over four figure expenses.

This being the case, I suspect there is not that much psychological distance between TX and CA on this issue. What we do see, in spades, are women migrating from the most pro-choice states (e.g. CA, NY, CT, IL) to the most pro-life ones (e.g. TX, TN, NC, SC).

In reality, I suspect nobody bases their living decisions all that much on expenses that are a rounding error on a home purchase.

So you crafted an argument that legalized abortion had profound sociological effects, but then you spin a whole bunch of side theories about how any barrier to abortion that can be overcome with less than $1,000 will result in this cause effect relationship being cloaked in the statistics.

It's not a great sign that rather than supporting your argument you preemptively start setting us up for a plea to take your argument on pure faith.

This being the case, I suspect there is not that much psychological distance between TX and CA on this issue. What we do see, in spades, are women migrating from the most pro-choice states (e.g. CA, NY, CT, IL) to the most pro-life ones (e.g. TX, TN, NC, SC).

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f3/US_state_historical_population_FRED_SMIL.svg CA seems to have enjoyed more population growth than Texas which would belie your idea of a pro-life exodus from pro-choice states.

BTW, before Roe getting to El Paso or NYC wasn't all that hard. If $1000 is the barrier, for that matter, both Canada and El Paso would be quite accessible.

I did not "craft a theory". Suffragettes over 140 years ago made predictions.

Those predictions have been right.

Maybe they were right for the wrong reasons. But it is striking that they are more accurate today than the proponents of legalization in the 60s and 70s.

I would also note that the economics change drastically when it is not a plane ticket and vacation costs to get an abortion. It is far harder to maintain a casual sex ethic if one party has to face either a child or a crime without a backstop. As they like to say, the biggest leap is getting from zero to one.

CA's population growth is drive entirely by immigration from abroad. Intra-state migration according to the Census is negative, has been for some time, and looks to continue for some time. Why am I no surprised that someone who cannot look at the right data series to measure intra-state migration expects there to be measurable affects to costs that are a rounding error to cost of living calculations. Though, I mean seriously, why would you look anywhere else but the intra-state migration factors to see if people are moving between states?

Migration from where? Keep in mind the US has more border with Mexico along Texas than CA, and there's more 'wall' along CA.
Per http://www.ppic.org/publication/californias-population/ only 10% of CA's population can be linked to Mexican origin. Other nations are much less. This isn't enough people coming in to account for what you say is an intrastate exodous to pro-life states.

"I would also note that the economics change drastically when it is not a plane ticket and vacation costs to get an abortion. It is far harder to maintain a casual sex ethic if one party has to face either a child or a crime without a backstop. As they like to say, the biggest leap is getting from zero to one."

This isn't well thought out economically. Decisions are made along a continuum, very few binary functions exist. What does that mean?

There are some people who will not smoke pot unless it is 100% legal.
There are some people who will not some pot unless there's a 99% chance they can expect to get away with it.
There are some people who will not smoke pot unless there's a 98% chance they will get away with it.
etc.

Each person above is quite binary. If Pot is totally legal, the 3 people above will smoke. If pot is illegal with only a 90% chance of getting caught, only 2 of the above will smoke. As you increase or decrease the negatives, the number of pot smokers will go up and down. (This is simplified, of course, the punishment also matters. If the punishment is 5 years in jail that's a lot different than a $500 fine. A lot of people will roll the dice on a $500 fine but not on a 5 yr jail sentence).

You almost never will see the population respond in a binary fashion like you depicted....namely everyone has abortions regardless of what the circumstances are in Texas because "it's just a $1000 plane ticket" unless/until abortion is totally illegal and then everyone stops except for a few who are ok breaking the law.

Errr no as abortion becomes more expensive and less available, whether it's just the market or gov't regulation, more and more people will alter their behavior. If the dynamic you depicted existed, then it should be evident in Texas even though abortion is not technically illegal.

And it is always interesting to see how such an early feminist like Elizabeth Cady Stanton would still need to be fighting for women to have unhindered access to birth control.

Preventing abortion is not that hard in the main, but it seems as if many of the anti-abortion advocates refuse to accept the solution many of those early feminists proposed for preventing it.

I hear people say that a lot, but I don't see much evidence of it. For example, I don't see people standing outside the Supreme Court with signs saying "ban contraceptives now." (I do see controversies over whether people should be forced to *subsidize* contraceptives, but that feels like a different issue to me. I don't see much opposition to *legal access*.)

'For example, I don't see people standing outside the Supreme Court with signs saying "ban contraceptives now."'

That is because the action is inside the Supreme Court. Hobby Lobby comes to mind - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobby_Lobby#Opposition_to_Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act - though if you wish to say their refusal to provide birth control to employees through employer health insurance is somehow not an indication of how women still face a burden in this area, well, what can one say?

'I don't see much opposition to *legal access*.'

Any guesses how this will play out when it appears again in front of the Supreme Court (and one can be confident that it will, even without protesters outside the Supreme Court)? 'The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has rejected a case brought by Washington State pharmacists citing religion in refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception.

SCOTUS’s refusal to consider the appeal leaves in place regulations adopted in 2007 by the Washington State Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission specifying that pharmacies must dispense all FDA-approved drugs to customers regardless of religious or moral reasons.

In 2012, US District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton ruled that the 2007 policies violated the religious freedom of pharmacy owners by requiring pharmacies to stock and dispense emergency contraceptives. However, the unanimous 3-judge federal appeals court panel overruled Leighton’s 2012 ruling on July 23, 2015.' https://www.pharmacytimes.com/news/supreme-court-rejects-pharmacists-refusal-to-fill-appeal

And of course, abstinence education seems to reject the very idea of educating students about available birth control options. Which sounds pretty much like the Comstock era, actually.

There is a big difference between saying "I shouldn't be forced to do X if I don't want to" and saying "X should be illegal."

The political issue here is not so much abortion as the legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court. For even some pro-choice activists recognize that the U.S. Constitution is silent on the subject, and thus no honest Court would have found a right to it there. Nonetheless, the political investment in Roe vs. Wade is so large that it poisons the process of selecting a new justice.

Agreed. I am not pro-abortion - in that strange sense of taking a delight in it, which some people do - but I am against outright bans. Nonetheless I think Wade-Roe was a judicial putsch - a disgrace to the idea of a republic of laws.

Of course, the UK itself is a disgrace to the idea of a republic of laws from an American perspective, but then, maybe you are a republican relishing the chance to finally toss the monarchy on the ash heap of history, along with removing your state church at the same time.

The only issue here is the woman. Does an adult person have a right to control their own body and their own future?
A. The prevalence of abortion in number 6 shows that, before contraception, women were availing themselves of the chance to have more for their living children and themselves.
B. The statement that "In the ancient world, child bearing wasn't so much a choice as it was a necessity to maintain the population, and existence, of the tribe" is ridiculous. It is fallacious to believe that 10k-20k years ago, women reasoned that "I must have 10-20 children because my knowledge of population dynamics, sustenance economics and intra-tribal psychology dictates such reasoned behavior.
C. Few people discuss the woman herself. Woman has known about pregnancy, its dangers for her, the unborn and live children for millennia. Yet, she had little choice because of religious pressures, sexual pressures within the relationship, doctor-patient pressures, etc. Interesting how almost all of these are male dominated.
D. A large number of studies showing that childbirth is the single most detrimental factor in a woman achieving more.
E. Many aphorism and songs refer to the concept of minding one's own business, walking in my shoes, throwing stone, etc. Yet people want to forget that, like the First Amendment, liberty means tolerating behavior in others that you may find abhorrent, as long as they are not hurting others.
F. stop right there. There are thousands of examples where some suffer to help others and society applauds it, and even creates it where it doesn't really exist. So the destruction of something the size of my fingernail that has no consciousness or reason to benefit what does have consciousness and reason is no moral quandary

"The only issue here is the woman. Does an adult person have a right to control their own body and their own future?"

Yes. It's the only issue other than the baby - the other issue is the baby, does it have a right to life? You forgot about that one!

We had a long talk about this in a thread a couple weeks ago. You either think a tiny clump of cells is a person, or you do not, and there's really no room for compromise.

Personally I agree with belisaurius, the fingernail size thing is not a person. But I disagree with hard core choice advocates and I think abortion should be illegal after the 3rd month. This is a moderate kludge not based on pure reason and logic. It just feels correct to say a 2 month old thing is not a person, it's not even an animal.

But as I said, there's no room for compromise. stasi thinks it's a baby, belisaurius does not. End of discussion.

It would be the end of the discussion but for belisarius's denial of your point! (But you are of course completely correct.)

msgkings is correct, but the problem lies in the "I think" "he thinks" and "she thinks" part. We all have our thoughts, beliefs and justifications about this issue. Fine, that is what free expression and liberty are. The problem for me is when someone else tries to tell me how to live my life. How can anyone presume to tell another person, you became pregnant, out of ignorance, inability to get or use contraception, forced sex, immaturity, etc. whatever reason and feels they cannot handle the responsibility, to dictate that the pregnant person is forced to suffer through pregnancy and years of sacrifice (disregarding adoption). That seems the height of self-importance and the exertion of power of those less fortunate. For all the posturing about caring for those who are helpless, many anti-abortion people see no problem with condemning those other than fetuses to many of the unpleasant aspects of life.

But again, no amount of avoiding 'sacrifice' can justify murder, and if a fetus is a baby then you are committing murder. And note you just casually disregarded adoption...to the anti-abortion crowd, if it's such a problem to raise a child, one can give the child to another family to raise.

So we are back to person or not?

I didn't casually disregard adoption, but once again, reality invades our biases. We are continually bombarded with stories of how there are never enough people who want to adopt, the difficulty in placing any child who isn't very young and many other bureaucratic nightmares that have been created by well-meaning people.

Person or not.
1. If it is murder, judge not lest thou shall be judged.

Not sure I understand that last bit. Murder is wrong in any moral code, what does that have to do with judging others?

Read on with that verse...

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

That verse doesn’t mean one cannot judge a persons actions at all... it means don’t be a hipocrite.

Student:
Right, we will be judged by God. So if abortion is murder then it is up to God to do the judging and punishing rather than self appointed guardians of the faith (or at least for a tax deduction). I don't think God is overbooked, he can probably handle the load.

Really, you're going there? So, nothing is illegal then, God will mete out punishment...

I didn't bring God into this. I don't think we should use mythology to create our laws. It's the anti-abortionists who cannot create an argument without using God. And please note that Student wished I was dead. So much for caring about life

"But again, no amount of avoiding 'sacrifice' can justify murder, and if a fetus is a baby then you are committing murder. And note you just casually disregarded adoption...to the anti-abortion crowd, if it's such a problem to raise a child, one can give the child to another family to raise"

So the state can take control of your body to use for its purpose but then you can always 'outsource' parenting to someone else?

Why not outlaw adoption? Why not let the state enslave people to parenthood? After all we do have a problem with aging populations and worker to retiree ratios perhaps the state could randomly 'draft' women into a 'procreation army' where they will be required to have and raise, say, at least 5 children.

If the state has power in one direction, say outlaw abortion, then what limits would you put on its power, if any?

And this is why the issue is intractable. I am IN FAVOR OF early abortions. But at some point a fetus is a viable human and after that point we should not allow aborting. The state has no control of your body in those first few months. Once the fetus is reasonably assumed to be a person, the state is protecting that person.

If you can't decide whether to carry a baby in the first few months, then the decision is no longer yours.

So one side tries to say a fetus is never a person, it's always a growth inside a woman. The other says the day of conception you are dealing with a person.

The moderate middle is tough to find on this issue but dangit I will try.

I get what you're saying. My 'jurisdiction' way of thinking about this does make it tough to justify banning abortion in later terms...although I suppose it could be done if you argue early term abortion being available creates some type of 'presumption of consent' later on for the pregnancy to just go to term.

However why the need to 'not allow'? Just suppose abortion was not regulated all the way through birth. Might there be some woman who manages to find some doctor to do a very late term abortion for totally frivolous reasons? Quite possibly but the fact is almost no woman goes through the bulk of a pregnancy only to get a late term abortion absent some really critical problem. Simply trusting women here might be the best policy.

Consider the reverse problem, people deciding to have kids who probably shouldn't be having kids. There is zero gov't regulation here. Even a 12 year old can have a baby...yet as problematic as that may be we leave people be when it comes to deciding to have kids. We may take the baby from them at birth but we aren't forcing anyone to have abortions no matter how much we just know them having a baby is creating a huge problem.

Yet despite the law allowing individuals to make all sorts of bad calls, most babies are born in ok circumstances. Most of the time we do ok.

I agree most of the time things work out. I'm simply making my case for reasonable moderation on the issue. Your 'jurisdiction' idea is superseded by the personhood one. The state most definitely has jurisdiction to protect the lives of people. So the only debate is whether/when a fetus is a person. It's actually pretty simple.

Well except they don't just automatically have jurisdiction to 'protect the lives of people'. The federal gov't, for example, had no jurisdiction to put OJ on trial to 'protect the lives' of people. Plus most criminal law works after the fact. Putting people on trial for murder may protect other lives by deterring future murders but by definition it hasn't protected the lives of the victims.

What would yo do if a state decide to just not have any laws against abortion at all?
And is your position really moderate? Zero regulation on who has a baby but 'moderate' regulation on who has an abortion? If being a moderate means splitting the difference then we'd end up with regulation on late term abortions and mandatory abortions for some people in very marginal circumstances. Yet that 'moderate' solution would probably leave both pro-choicers and pro-lifers aghast.

So you're saying we have to absolutely allow all abortions because there might be some edge cases that are difficult to parse?

And jurisdiction on abortion is indeed heading for the states. Once Kavanaugh is on the Court, Roe v Wade is getting struck down and the states will decide how to regulate it. Blue states will allow it, red ones will ban it. Each blue state will decide what the parameters are. I vote for early term ok, late term not (except for very rare medical reasons).

How is your way better?

Also, ALL laws are ex post facto. A thing is a crime when it is done, so crimes are illegal. Laws say you cannot do something in advance, and some criminals then do that thing. If a fetus is a person at 7 months, it is murder to terminate then. Don't be stupid.

But rights are not ex post facto. Your right to free speech, for example, means you can sue to have an injunction placed against a law that violates freedom of speech before you are actually directly impacted. The state cannot charge you for 'about to commit a crime' but only for actually committing one. This is why, IMO, arguing that making abortion illegal using 'rights of the fetus' language doesn't work.

OK now I see you are being intentionally obtuse to troll me. At least I hope so. Note I'm completely troll-proof.

It's not a language game. It's not charging anyone before it happens. It's simply prosecuting for murder of a person. The only question is when do we deem the fetus a person. That's it, you aren't even making abortion illegal you are simply prosecuting for murder. The cutoff has to be a kludge, and that's a little difficult when dealing with life and death. But that's where I am on the issue.

This has nothing to do with rights again. Gov'ts prosecute people for murder because gov'ts have jurisdictions and that gives them the right to prosecute crimes that happen inside their jurisdiction. But that's not a right you have to 'not be murdered'. If you are murdered outside the jurisdiction of any gov't that wants to prosecute, you are out of luck. That is why criminal cases have names like "The State of CA versus OJ Simpson". OJ was accused of killing two people in CA. If he had killed the same two people outside of CA then CA would have no jurisdiction. It's nice that CA tries to create a place where there's fewer rather than more murders but in terms of negative liberty you are on your own. CA is inhibited by negative rights from murdering you.

"The only question is when do we deem the fetus a person."

The only way I see to get here using traditional rights based reasoning is to argue "equal protection of the laws". Basically saying *IF* CA is going to prosecute murder then it must prosecute all murders and not just murders of those who are already born. If you go there though it has to be murder. Abortion can't simply be illegal but must be treated the same. Trump briefly stumbled into that rhetorical trap early in his campaign when he noted that mothers would have to be punished too....but no mainstream pro-life group has gone there or appears willing to go there so far.

It seems to me that denying another genetically intact distinct homo sapien that they do not have the right to grow and develop, to breath and consume nutrition and achieve their potential for economic conscience is the height of self-importance and exertion of power on the less fortunate.

If you were not telling someone else what to do with their body (something like, you know, don’t exist because I would rather you didn’t) then your argument might have some merit.

parents and society do that all the time. A person goes to jail for driving drunk. He has never adversely interacted with another person, yet he loses his freedom, the ability to drive, maybe his car, and his job. A parent condemns their child as stupid or weak and the child is not able to grow and develop. The sins of the parent are never discussed. Besides, humans don't have "right to grow and develop, to breath and consume nutrition and achieve their potential"

"But again, no amount of avoiding 'sacrifice' can justify murder, and if a fetus is a baby then you are committing murder."

But this question is actually secondary. Government has jurisdiction and outside its jurisdiction it has no power. Why didn't the Federal Gov't charge OJ Simpson with murder? Because absent some element that would bring the case under Federal jurisdiction (like a bank robbery, crossing state lines, etc.), homicide inside CA is under the jurisdiction of CA's government.

Question: Does the gov't have jurisdiction over the interior of a woman's body? I'd say no it doesn't. The woman does. This means to enter this world, absent cloning or hyper-realistic robots, one has to go through a woman...and probably a very young and immature woman at that.

Scary thought? Yes. If you were designing the system from scratch is that how you would set it up? Probably not. But then that system has worked for humanity and the majority of multi-celled animals since almost the beginning of life on earth. I'm unaware of any successful reproduction due to committees of men in robes or groups of politicians. Perhaps we should consider that even though there is no guarantee that keeping jurisdiction over human reproduction within women will always produce the best results, no replacement should be even considered unless and until it is as equally successful as the current system.

Thank you Boonton for some well thought out, thought.

No, did not forget, because it isn't a baby. It might be a baby an might be a child and might be an adult, sometime in the future. Just as we cannot punish adults for what they might do, we cannot punish mothers for what their fetuses might become. Look at the reverse of your illogic: one day the technology becomes available to determine the likelihood that a fetus will become a murderer, or (horror of horrors) a drunk driver. Will it then be okay to about the future criminal? It is quite likely.

B. The statement that "In the ancient world, child bearing wasn't so much a choice as it was a necessity to maintain the population, and existence, of the tribe" is ridiculous. It is fallacious to believe that 10k-20k years ago, women reasoned that "I must have 10-20 children because my knowledge of population dynamics, sustenance economics and intra-tribal psychology dictates such reasoned behavior.

Sure, but societies where they did not do that died out, and other societies where they did replaced them. So there has to be some mechanism ensuring it- either a biological drive for the woman, social pressure in the society, religion, whatever works over the long term.

D. A large number of studies showing that childbirth is the single most detrimental factor in a woman achieving more.

Achieving more what? Living descendants? I doubt it.

E. Many aphorism and songs refer to the concept of minding one's own business, walking in my shoes, throwing stone, etc. Yet people want to forget that, like the First Amendment, liberty means tolerating behavior in others that you may find abhorrent, as long as they are not hurting others.

,,, and that's why I full-throatedly favor murder!

Re anonymous. If childbirth and replication is the primary redeeming factor in a person being alive , then humans are no better than other mindless animals. This reasoning is not quite reasoning. We cannot make the needs of the individual and the survival of a species or nation-state an either-or proposition. Both live and die in their time. Blindly clawing one's way through the morass for an ethereal requirement not of one's own choosing is to obviate all of humanity's achievements. I thought our society was beyond placing worth on someone based upon how many kids they can have. Are we sentient beings or breeders?

then humans are no better than other mindless animals.

What do you mean by "better"?

to obviate all of humanity's achievements.

They will be obviated in the future regardless.

Are we sentient beings or breeders?

We,meaning humans, are both. Reproduction is a necessity for all forms of life. Reducing reproduction to an economic calculation or matter of inconvenience is a demonstration of Spengler's critique of modernity.

Reproduction cannot be a necessity for all forms of life since many women and men cannot have children. Are they unnecessary?

There is no point in communicating with a person who responds to things you didn't say and does not respond to the things you do say.

Sure, but societies where they did not do that died out, and other societies where they did replaced them. So there has to be some mechanism ensuring it- either a biological drive for the woman, social pressure in the society, religion, whatever works over the long term.

This doesn't get us very far. If it's a biological imperative then it's absurd to debate it legally. No one goes around advocating laws against people holding their breath, for example.

It's also a fact that human history has both an imperative to reproduce and one to control reproduction. There is no society known that did not also attempt to put some control over reproduction...for example by limiting mates, putting up barriers to getting married, etc.

Remember the original statement:

"'child bearing wasn't so much a choice as it was a necessity to maintain the population, and existence, of the tribe' is ridiculous"

By definition, the populations existing today were successful in reproducing in the past. In the future, those societies which fail to do so will eventually (a blink of the eye geologically) be replaced by those who do not fail. Not ridiculous, just a tautology.

Belisarius, I am pro-choice but I find this argument very weak. Either you consider that a pregnant woman is made of two bodies, the one of the mother and the one of the kid, but then abortion is not about control of a woman on its own body -- or you consider (absurdly) that a pregnant woman is made of only one body, but then, after a few months of pregnancy, it is a body with two heads, two beating hearts, two livers, four legs, etc. and I do not see why *human* rights should apply to such an entity.

This makes total sense to me. The value of human life has consistently risen as we became more wealthy. We used to be ok with kids working (and being exposed to life threatening situations) and as we became rich that ended. Of course, there are always interests around any change, and you can have a callous / conspiratory view of any change, but overall this just matches many other social improvement movements we have had in the last few centuries.

The question of when life begins, or more accurately, when does a fetus get a soul, has vexed us for centuries. . I decided to look into the scientific and theological issues this question raises.
Biology
First look at science. I am an astrophysicist whose last job was at the NIH’s Human Genome Research Institute, where I learned the latest biology. In short -- biology gives us no answer. There are no binary black and white characteristics in biology.
When does a child become an adult? Do you mean sexually, physically, intellectually, or emotionally? Even if you chose one, other than sexual, there is no clear boundary.
For years, Lamarck's theory that children can inherit acquired characteristic from their parents ( e,g a blacksmith's son will be born with strong arms ) was considered pure nonsense. Now it turns out that while life experience cannot change your DNA, it can change the epigenetics that control your DNA’s expression, and under some conditions can be inherited for a few generations. Another sharp boundary broken.
Some argue that since a fertilized egg contains all the requisite DNA ( and epigenetics ) that this makes it a complete person. Almost every one of the trillions of cells in your body contains all your DNA. We are close to being able to clone a person’s delayed identical twin from a single skin cell. (This ethical issue is a totally different discussion ) When you scrub your hands and send large numbers of skin cells down the drain, does that make you a mass murderer?
The question of when a soul enters is even more vexing, as there is no biological definition of a soul.

Theology
For over 10 years, I have gone twice a week to bible classes. In one class, we read and discuss a section in English. In the other, we read it in Hebrew and discuss it in English. I am familiar with the Hebrew Bible.

In the Jewish tradition, following Gen 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, man became a living soul" (King James ), the soul enters at the first breath.
This does not mean the Rabbis are in favor of abortion, just that it is not a life-or-death matter. They frown on abortion because of the injunction in Gen 1:28 “Be fruitful, and multiply” (KJ). However, if there is any question of danger to the mother, abortion is indicated.

I took one class in the Christian scriptures and read some of it, but do not claim any level of knowledge. Instead, I will look at Catholic teaching as a proxy.
I know little of Catholic theology, so I will depend on Professor Wikipedia. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ensoulment)

Abortion has always been a forbidden moral evil, but until the fetus was ensouled it was not murder. Some early Christians held that the soul entered at conception. Following Aristotle who stated that the fetus did not have a soul until it was formed, the later prevailing view among theologians, including Aquinas, cited this teaching. The 1312 Council of Vienne affirmed Aquinas’s view.

In 1588, Pope Sixtus V issued a Bull which equated all abortion with murder, but three years later Pope Gregory XIV limited the excommunication to abortion of a formed fetus.
Pope Pius IX in 1869 issued a Bull, Bull Apostolicae Sedis, and re-enacted the penalty of excommunication for abortions at any stage of pregnancy. That ended the issue for practicing Catholics.

I do not know the history of the issue for the Orthodox. Protestants are obviously split on the issue.

The main point is that, unlike homosexuality, on which Scripture is very clear about, teachings on fetal ensoulment have varied over the centuries

Mohr's book does not hold up well after 40 years. Joseph Dellapenna's "Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History" (2006), while sometimes over-the-top in its push back against feminist histories of abortion, is a useful corrective. Abortion was far more rare and dangerous in the nineteenth century than Mohr portrays it. Physicians estimating the rate of general abortion conflated spontaneous abortion and elective abortion. There is *no way* the rate was anywhere near 25%. Surgical abortion was associated with a very high risk of infection and death. Botanical abortifacients did rarely worked and often poisoned. Etc.

One thing to consider about laws, by themselves they tell us very little outside of the context of enforcement.

Reading a bit about Roman history, it was common for the Emperor to make a very dramatic and sweeping decree (i.e. "Everyone shall stop offerings to this god"). You would think that would be a dramatic social change but at the same time there was no police force, there wasn't even a very reliable army (raising an army was a risky policy move since their commanders had a habit of turning them around and trying to take over the Empire). As a result a lot of 'laws' were more like 'strong suggestions'. Yes you could get yourself in a lot of trouble if the local governor was trying to make a name for himself with the Emperor....still laws weren't quite the same then as they are now. The state was more tyrannical but much less effective.

So with legal history the twin questions are what were the laws and how were they enforced?

JD
"There is *no way* the rate was anywhere near 25%. Surgical abortion was associated with a very high risk of infection and death. Botanical abortifacients did rarely worked and often poisoned. "

I'm not so sure. Rome probably did have a botanical contraception that was actually effective. Statements like this to me sound like doctors thinking too inside the box. To a modern doctor surgical procedures sound highly risky and dangerous absent modern medical practices, but it's a leap to assume ancient people just did what modern surgeons did minus the proper techniques and sterilization. I would suspect there probably was a lot of 'medical' knowledge known and lost. No doctor today can intelligently comment on botanical abortifacients because no one is going to perform an abortion with one when modern techniques are better known. I'm not going to argue that ancient people had mystical 'lost knowledge' superior to modern medicine but I wouldn't be surprised if they did have medicine and a surprising amount of it worked.

Surgical abortion was dangerous. Having birth is now more dangerous to the mother than an abortion.

True but the fact that we are here indicates even if abortion was widely available for much of our history the bulk of women at some point carried children to term. I don't think it is as simple as saying they were forced or coerced into it, although that did indeed happen in our history.

You know we actually have records of the stuff used in many cases. Which of these do you think would have a remotely safe dosing regimen:
Lead oxide, oil, and fenugreek
Terpenes
Ergot
Cardiac glycosides

Particularly when grown in the wild and processed in ancient apothecaries. Of the actual historical "botanical" recipes for abortaficients that we can measure, 100% of them are either complete frauds or have a vanishingly small therapeutic window.

Or maybe you think vaginal suppositories of crocodile dung was a healthier idea ... of course that was the Egyptians rather than the Romans.

You know we actually have records of the stuff used in many cases.

You're assuming these records are good and comprehensive. I tend to doubt it. Medicine, like cooking, for much of history has been a master and apprentice type setup where you learn by doing under the supervision of someone who already knows. The textbooks and cookbooks are just supplemental materials.

Particularly when grown in the wild and processed in ancient apothecaries.

I think you're a bit biased here. You're judging this by today's 'herbal supplement' market which is mostly full of marketing and nonsense. Today people that are serious about solving medical problems will turn to the modern medical knowledge first leaving Back then there was no industry and mass marketing and nowhere for people serious about solving problems to go but to develop and grow traditional knowledge. We know today that traditional tribal people often have a massive local knowledge of 'botanical' solutions that are quite effective. I'm not saying they can compete with modern medicine but your kidding yourself if you think the history of medicine was snake oil salesmen from year -1000 BC up until the AMA was founded.

Having worked with tribal peoples who have this "botanical medicine" I can assure you that is not effective. Unlike most people I have worked with people who actually do use botanical medicine. Their dosing is terrible because plants are variable. What they do are use things which have extremely wide therapeutic windows. This is great for pain killers, and anti-septics. It is harder for abortificients as you are looking to kill something with human biology while not killing something else with human biology. Outside of hormone disruptors (not often found in nature, and never found in therapeutic doses naturally) and prostaglandin analogues you are basically playing roulette with giving enough toxin to kill, but not kill mom.

Even if we had a magical botanical with EC-50 worth talking about, natural viability is going to be terrible. Growing marijuana at consistent THC is perhaps the most studied plant variability issue ever. Now that we have had "commercial grow" for some time, we find that it takes modern selective breeding (e.g. establishing inbred lines and maintaining multiple hybrid crosses), climate control, and nutrient control are needed for consistent dosing. None of these exist in ancient (i.e. pre-1700) times.

What I know is the surviving records contain things known to be useless and known to be toxic. Shockingly I have seen a couple of cases of kids actually trying these ancient recipes. Ingesting plants with large amounts of cardioactive glycosides will abort a fetus; it will also do a great job of mucking up the rhythm of a teenage girl's heart, leading to her brought to the ER where her life can be saved by cardioversion.

When you look through the surviving manuscripts they contain obvious snakeoil like plants that I regularly tell pregnant patients to eat and obvious toxins like lead. 100% of the descriptions I have read have been toxic or frauds. 0% have been something that looks like it has a nice therapeutic window. Do you propose that some historical censor went through the records in the middle ages and magically burned all the records that had effective treatments? Do you believe that the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, and Chinese all just decided not to write down any of the effective treatments?

My assumption is the descriptions for things which we cannot decode or are extinct is not going to be different than the ones immediately following in the text which we know to be toxic. So yes, show me an example in the surviving documents that works; otherwise I will assume that all of them function like the dozens I have studied and the hundreds other people have examined in the modern literature.

hockingly I have seen a couple of cases of kids actually trying these ancient recipes. Ingesting plants with large amounts of cardioactive glycosides will abort a fetus; it will also do a great job of mucking up the rhythm of a teenage girl's heart, leading to her brought to the ER where her life can be saved by cardioversion.

What do you think would be the result of a few young people who catch a Youtube video on doing a relatively simple surgical procedure and then try to replicate it?

I think what you should consider here is:

1. The recipes are incomplete. Only a fraction of the written records from the Roman era were preserved in any form. On top of that they were also 'trade secrets', so it wouldn't be surprising if key ingredients were excluded or fake ones added. This is how people made a living back then and the trade worked as a master-apprenticeship style system. The idea of 'free information' and publishing for the masses is a more modern mindset.

2. Practice. I suspect back then the physician would use the ingredients to induce a miscarriage. He probably learned through training an experience how to add or subtract critical ingredients to induce a crises in the woman's body but not so much that it caused death. Like with cooking, measurements were often not written down or were more suggestions than hard and fast absolutes.

3. What we consider working in light of modern medicine is a much higher bar. Suppose using 1 and 2 above a doctor in the ancient age was able to induce a miscarriage 70% of the time, 20% of the time cause no miscarriage and no lasting bad outcomes for the patient and 10% of the time cause death or serious harm to the patient. Any modern abortion clinic would be shut down tomorrow with those rates but in the ancient world that would 'work' all things considered.

On #3, it could even be worse. Imagine an ancient doctor could induce miscarriage only 25% of the time. Say 70% end up with no response and 5% die or have other problems.

From a modern POV this is a complete utter failure as a procedure. You wouldn't even bother testing the compound against modern drugs that work 90%+ of the time. When that is all that was available, though, such a doctor could make a living easily. Different times.

Reasonable people can have differing views on abortion and at what point a fetus is entitled to the same legal protection as a human being but the US Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade decided that there is only one right view and that the electorate is too dim to figure that right view out. Harry Blackmun wrote the opinion for the Court and he had been the former General Counsel for the Mayo Clinic so he understood a lot better than the rest of us when life begins.

The fact that the state may be limited in how it bosses individuals around is hardly the same as saying that's a view that's to be enforced on everyone.

You have a right to free speech. is that saying the electorate is 'too dim' to regulation your speech? No it isn't. If that was the case then at some point you could argue an exceptionally smart electorate should be able to limit your speech. Instead it's a limit on state power so it applies regardless of how intelligent the voters or politicians of a particular state happen to be. It's also not a verdict on the morality of your speech. There's quite a bit of things you could say that would be immoral while never being illegal. You simply bear the responsibility for figuring that out rather than your local prosecutor or committee of judges.

Southern Baptists were once pro-abortion

Resolution On Abortion, adopted at the SBC convention, June 1971:
WHEREAS, Christians in the American society today are faced with difficult decisions about abortion; and
WHEREAS, Some advocate that there be no abortion legislation, thus making the decision a purely private matter between a woman and her doctor; and
WHEREAS, Others advocate no legal abortion, or would permit abortion only if the life of the mother is threatened;
Therefore, be it RESOLVED, that this Convention express the belief that society has a responsibility to affirm through the laws of the state a high view of the sanctity of human life, including fetal life, in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves; and
Be it further RESOLVED, That we call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother

Resolution On Abortion And Sanctity Of Human Life, adopted at the SBC convention, June 1974:
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically held a high view of the sanctity of human life, and
WHEREAS, The messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis in 1971 adopted overwhelmingly a resolution on abortion, and
WHEREAS, That resolution reflected a middle ground between the extreme of abortion on demand and the opposite extreme of all abortion as murder, and
WHEREAS, That resolution dealt responsibly from a Christian perspective with complexities of abortion problems in contemporary society;
Therefore, be it RESOLVED, that we reaffirm the resolution on the subject adopted by the messengers to the St. Louis Southern Baptist Convention meeting in 1971, and
Be it further RESOLVED, that we continue to seek God's guidance through prayer and study in order to bring about solutions to continuing abortion problems in our society.

It's not unusual to be lacking in laws regulating behavior that is rare and most often unseen and untalked about. This doesn't imply that the populace accepted it. No one would have openly admitted doing this. No one "turned public opinion" against something that would have shocked the conscience of every moral and decent person at the time.

It's interesting to see how many men made comments on this subject and how few women, although some names are androgenous.

Also, very interesting how many people know about religious teachings and practices.

In other words, the systematic banning of abortion occurred at the same time as the anti-slavery movement and decades before the era of professional monopolies.

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