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Abortion Doctor Shooting

Megan McArdle I think has some interesting thoughts on the matter.  Abortion is one of those topics where you just can’t win, so I don’t dare wade into it often.  Who I am I to say where life begins?  My skins cells are alive, and with the proper application of the right chemical compounds, at the right times, could turn into another one of me.  Do I commit murder the shower each morning because each cell I scrub off is a potential me?  But if human life isn’t defined at the cellular level, where do you draw the line?

I think Megan brings up some good points.  If the line is drawn at conception, and a woman takes a morning after pill, should she have to face the possibility of having a needle stuck in her arm for premeditated murder?  If the answer is no, then why?  If the act of killing an abortion doctor isn’t defense of another, then why? I don’t condone the murder of Dr. Tiller, but I also don’t think abortion is infanticide.

Where does life begin?  I don’t really have any special insight into that.   But I’m pretty sure judges don’t either.  If abortion is to be regulated, then it should be done by the legislatures of the several states.  But I’d be surprised if even the most conservative state legislature were willing to treat it as premeditated murder.  That is why I suspect that the vast majority of people, even those who are pro-life, think murdering abortion doctors is wrong.  But if that’s the case, can you still really say abortion is murder?

18 Responses to “Abortion Doctor Shooting”

  1. Justin Buist says:

    But I’d be surprised if even the most conservative state legislature were willing to treat it [abortion] as premeditated murder.

    Err… in how many states is it considered double homicide if you kill a pregnant woman again? I don’t think it’d be that hard for some states to just lump abortion in with murder at all.

  2. Sebastian says:

    It’s possible, but I think most people’s intuition tells them the acts are distinctive. The question in my mind is why? If someone says abortion is murder, that’s certainly a valid opinion, but since it would be premeditated, why wouldn’t execution, or at the very least a life prison sentence, by in store for the mother and/or doctor? Would someone then be justified in shooting a doctor who was performing an abortion?

  3. Phil says:

    The problem here is that women who get abortions and doctors who perform them don’t think that they are wrong. So it’s really not premeditated murder. It’s more like a mentally challenged individual hurting someone and not realizing what they had done was wrong at all. No rational person would want to see a mentally handicapped person charged with premeditated murder, but then some of those same rational people might shoot a mentally handicapped person who was threatening someone’s life.

  4. Phil says:

    One other thing, (and I like you do not care to get into a heated debate, but I felt the need to point this out) your skin cells, if left to normal biological processes, will not turn into another you.

    Even sperm and eggs (separately) will not form another human naturally, so using a condom isn’t even the same thing. For me the grey area begins when you intervene on a natural biological process and otherwise would bear a child.

    If the pro-choice side wanted to come to the compromise of 8 weeks being the cut off (the point at which the cells of the fertilized egg stop dividing and distinguishable types of tissues, heart lungs, nervous system, etc start to form) I could probably live with that.

  5. Jaded says:

    If a child can live outside the womb and we know they can at 21 weeks then anything after that is MURDER! and stabbing an infant in the head in the birth canal is MURDER! I of course would not have wanted the man to be murdered because it taints the Religious Right which it should not because we are not to taint all Muslims because 19 chose to kill 3K and we are not to taint the entire left who hate the military because one person killed a soldier today. Abortion beyond the the first trimester to me is indeed MURDER!

  6. Alex says:

    Actually the “morning after pill” is not an abortion pill. It works by preventing a pregnancy from occurring; the egg is never fertilized if you take a morning after pill.

  7. Mad Saint Jack says:

    I be interested to know if the doctor had a CCW. As far as I can tell KS does not allow carry in church. Also as far as I can tell the shooter was a prohibited felon.

  8. Wolfwood says:

    My understanding of the morning-after pill is that if fertilization isn’t prevented, implantation is: if life begins at conception, then a morning-after pill has extinguished that life.

    I think we have to use what Jimmy Akin calls the “Deerhunter Principle.” When you’re hunting, you don’t just fire at any movement you see. You don’t even fire if you see a patch of brown. You only fire if you’re absolutely sure of your target (…and what’s behind it).

    We don’t know for sure when life begins; IIRC, even St. Thomas Aquinas believed it began after birth. However, because we don’t know, we need to have some standard that can be followed. The two most logical points are birth and conception; there’s no determinable point where we know for sure if a fetus is viable between those two points. However, we do know that prior to birth a fetus can be viable. Thus, the only reasonable solution is to assume that life begins at conception.

    As for “Dr.” Tiller, it’s a shame that he couldn’t have been executed as the murderer he was. Regardless of what the Constitution and the laws say, abortion is murder and should be punished as such. If the law said that self-defense was illegal we’d all say that the right was inherent and can’t be legislated away. Tiller got exactly what he deserved.

  9. N.U.G.U.N. says:

    Many pro-lifers are also against the death penalty. But many are not…

    That said, many have issue in that they don’t want more bloodshed.

  10. Justin Buist says:

    The two most logical points are birth and conception; there’s no determinable point where we know for sure if a fetus is viable between those two points.

    Well, no, but 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage before the end of the 1st trimester. After that the odds of a miscarriage drop off considerably.

    Then there are ectopic pregnancies, where the embryo implants somewhere besides the uterus. They require an abortion to save the mother’s life.

    So, no, I wouldn’t consider conception to be the best spot to place the beginning of life, because there are myriad of reasons why it would never be born at that stage.

  11. Dock says:

    “Regardless of what the Constitution and the laws say…”

    *blink blink*

  12. Alex says:

    Wolfwood:

    There is no evidence that it prevents implantation. It is only known to prevent fertilization. For further info you may want to look here:

    http://www.morning-after-pill.org/

  13. malco says:

    Abortion as a debated issue tends to drive people to extremes, which is part of the problem. I myself err on the pro-life side–even in my teens and early ’20s I strove to be extremely careful, and had a vasectomy after my second child. At the same time, I’m fully aware that outlawing abortion would only drive it underground, which is not a better solution. Both sides need to accept the limitations of their argument–at some point in the life of an unborn baby (assuming a normal, healthy pregnancy), abortion is morally equivalent to infanticide. On the other hand, teenagers are not going to stop having sex, and treating like children people who are functionally adult if anything results in girls compelled to fall back on abortion. As in the above comment, I’d accept abortion-on-demand through the first 8 weeks, especially if every high school and college bathroom in America had a condom machine and every abortion opponent got halfway reasonable about the realities of sex. I’m not entirely sure what to think of a guy like Tiller–it’s one thing if he was strictly performing late-term abortions on fetuses with established medical or developmental problems, quite another if he’d treat a late-term abortion as routine birth control. He didn’t deserve his fate in either case, but simple opprobrium may or may not have been in line.

  14. Wolfwood says:

    “Regardless of what the Constitution and the laws say…”

    *blink blink*

    Rights trump laws. The Constitution was meant to recognize existing rights, not to grant new ones. There is no natural right to abortion or any other form of murder. There is, however, a right to defense of self and of others. Tiller belongs in the same category with Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and many other mass-murdering ****heads (as many prominent historians define the term…). What sorrow I have over his death is due to how it reflects on the failure of our society to honor the intention of the Constitution to let such a man walk among us freely and how the end of his killing had to come extra-legally.

  15. RAH says:

    Science can and does increase atrocities. Late term abortion is one of those. Abortion is killing a potential human life. No child until birth has rights acoording to secular law. Moral law says that abortion, the deliberate killing of a human fetus is an abomination and should not be approved.

    The prolbem that prochoice people have is that also due to science that many preterm fetus have been saved and can be viable, that undercuts their arguement that abortion is just a destruction of cells. A fetus is not an unnatural cell growth but the precursor to a new person.
    Tiller was a monster but the laws could not touch him. That is common. Other monsters were beyond the laws reach. However the murder of Tiller is also wrong and two wrong does equal a right.

    Judgement of Tiller’s crimes is to be left to secular judges or GOD. Not to a singular human

    The murderer will have to be tried and judged under secular law and he can appeal to his higher judge when he dies as we all do.

    Many states laws are inconsistent in that a murder of a pregnant woman can be double homicide. But they leave that the woman can choose an abortion. An insitutionalized double think.

  16. Arnie says:

    Wow! Another incredible, thought-provoking post! Every commenter had some good points. I love you folks! I love people who think through issues to their probable CONSEQUENCES and then base their conclusion on their best judgment of those consequences. THAT is the America I love. Even some of the points I disagree with, I still admire the thought process behind them. No thoughtless party-line pontification, but well-reasoned conclusions based on what facts and medical opinions are availabe, as well as known lrights and laws. You have done Thomas Jefferson proud! And I also appreciated the humility most of you expressed, especially in being honest about the many uncertainties and unknowns surrounding this issue. Such humility is how a society can survive even the most divisive of issues. How I wish I could vote you all into the Congress and Supreme Court. We’d be far better off as a nation if you were deliberating these issues rather than the partisan hacks we have there now.
    As far as my position on abortion: I agree morally with Phil – innocent human life begins at conception. The DNA proves the child to be a distinct, individual human being at that very moment. And the fact that “it” naturally grows proves (at least to me) that he or she is alive at that moment. So it seems evident that we have an individual human life here. Plus, the only way to “terminate” that process is to snuff out that life – that can only be sensibly described as killing. Unless that life is directly and incorrigibly threatening the very life of the mother, it is innocent. Even in cases of rape or incest, the baby is innocent and should not be the one put to death. Since killing an innocent human life without just cause amounts to some form of homicide, well then….
    But legally, I have to agree with Sebastian: the Constitution clearly provides that this issue must be determined by the people within each State. What I stated above is soley my opinion. It requires a majority of opinions to determine State constitutional law. I must abide by the majority opinion in my State as expressed in its laws. If I can’t, then I shall repair to a different State where I can. That is the beauty of our constitutional republic. And that is the tragedy of allowing our Supreme Court to violate its constitutional limitations and treasonously atempt to make law and then to impose such upon all the sovereign States. And wimpy Congress lets them get away with it. O how I wish people like the contributers to this website would populate the halls of our goverment!
    Blessings to you all! – Arnie

  17. NJSoldier says:

    I too try to avoid the issue. I find the idea of abortion as a form of birth control very distasteful. Like an earlier commentor, I feel that once a fetus has reached the point of being viable outside the womb, “elective” abortions become something more sinister than “choice.”

    I am somewhat relieved that early details on the shooter include a criminal record – so there can be no blow-back on law-abiding gun owners for this murder.

  18. PavelRicardo says:

    Alex, I think you should re-read your cite. The point is made that it prevents implantation, and doesn’t abort an already implanted fetus, as the RU-48 does. That does not conclude that fertilization is prevented, only implantation. So, it’s only by semantics that the conclusion is reached that there is no termination of a life.

    By the way, the Constitution is supposed to be a document based on Common Law that protects and defends human life and rights FROM public opinions and legislative efforts to the contrary. That is why our founders gave us a Republic, not a Democracy. But I guess that was lost along the way. Well, then, no Republic, then we shouldn’t pledge allegiance to one, I suppose.

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