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Elder andersen on abortion


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7 hours ago, The Nehor said:

I’m not even talking about those. Many miscarriages occur before the woman even realizes she is pregnant. If those are all lives then saying that it is not deliberate is not really a defense. Someone dying of a disease is not deliberate but we try to prevent it. I just wonder how the “life begins at conception” people can sleep at night while doing nothing about all these deaths. If they are right that those are human lives it is the greatest healthcare crisis ever and it is being ignored.

Yes and while perhaps many of those are the body's way of selecting for best outcomes, there are still many cases of wanted pregnancies which are lost or put at greater risk due to poverty, unhealthy working conditions, and inadequate prenatal care.

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7 hours ago, Calm said:
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But what if a young mother is having difficulties with her newborn?  Do we as a society take a 100% "hands off" approach and let her do whatever she wants?  Drug the baby so that he sleeps at night?  Strike the baby when he's crying?  Kill the baby if he's inconvenient?

No, no and no.  Why?  Because the child's personhood is acknowledged, and the government has a role in protecting the child.

But society has more options to care for the newborn child because the baby can be acted upon without acting upon the mother

Does this reasoning presume that the life of the child has value?  That the child has a right to live?  That the child is worth protecting?  It sounds like it.

7 hours ago, Calm said:

where when a woman is pregnant, anything having to do with the baby inherently has to do with her as well.  

I think that's a fair point.  But can abortion be seen as non-interference as well?  

And when balancing the competing interests (the right to life of the unborn child v. the right to bodily autonomy of the mother), should the latter prevail?  If so, what are the parameters?  What are the limiting principles?  If the answer is "bodily autonomy," then when does that right become superseded by the right of the unborn child to live?  And why does that supercession take place?  What event causes it?

7 hours ago, Calm said:

Newborns and babies in the womb still are not equivalent cases.

What do you see as the the distinctions between the two cases?  And how are they material?

Thanks,

-Smac

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14 hours ago, The Nehor said:

I’m not even talking about those. Many miscarriages occur before the woman even realizes she is pregnant.

I am aware.

 

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If those are all lives then saying that it is not deliberate is not really a defense.

Well, it kind of is when the accusation is genocide.

 

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Someone dying of a disease is not deliberate but we try to prevent it.

I get that. 

 

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I just wonder how the “life begins at conception” people can sleep at night while doing nothing about all these deaths.

Regardless of our best efforts, people die all the time - from all sorts of things. If loss of life were to prevent people from sleeping we would all be insomniacs. 

 

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If they are right that those are human lives it is the greatest healthcare crisis ever and it is being ignored.

The medical community is working to find ways to prevent spontaneous miscarriages, so it isn't as though "nothing" is being done.

Maybe someday we will get to a place where such things never happen at all. And, if we're really lucky, that place won't be Gattica. ;) 

 

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12 minutes ago, Amulek said:

The medical community is working to find ways to prevent spontaneous miscarriages, so it isn't as though "nothing" is being done.

Um, many are already understood as preventable already. Increasing access to pre-pregnancy and prenatal care does not require more medical discovery, just political will.

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15 hours ago, california boy said:

If a Catholic or an LDS or anyone else in the world could definitively say when the spirit and body of an embryo becomes one, THEN an argument could be made using words like murder and personhood could be made.  Until then, it is just a culture war of opinions, neither side having a moral foundation to base their argument on.  It is for that reason that this should be strictly a personal choice.  Forcing another persons ideology on another runs counter to every other concept of government and religion. We certainly know that point at death.  We do not know that point of when the process starts.  This issue will always remain just a personal opinion until some definitive proof can be offered showing exactly when the embryo and spirit unite.

I could be wrong but doesn't the Jewish faith consider life to begin with breath?

Of course, what may be definitive for one religion won't be definitive for another.

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13 hours ago, california boy said:

There seems to be quite a large group of people that are trying through force of law to outlaw abortion based on their own personal belief.

Well, yeah...that's how laws work - all laws "force...belief[s]" on others. 

Some people want to use the force of law to outlaw certain kinds of medical procedures, or specific kinds of guns, or select drugs, or whatever.

That's just how society works.

 

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12 hours ago, california boy said:

 I think we all can agree that a child is the combination of a body and a spirit.  If there is no knowledge of when a spirit enters a body, then one can not claim that children are being murdered or that they need legal protection.  If you can't prove a murder has taken place, then  you can't really punish someone for murdering a fetus.

I personally have no knowledge of when a sprit enters an embryo, so I actually don't have an opinion on abortion.  Every child that I have helped conceive has been brought to full term.  

 

One can if they believe that God has told them that.  

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I just answered this for Nobis and I will ask you the same question.

If someone believed in abortion, do you think it would be morally right to vote for a law that forces people to have abortions under certain circumstances? 

A person can believe in the rights to decide if someone should have an abortion.  But imo, it is quite a different thing to vote for something to force that belief on others.  

 

No, I don't think that would be moral.  So I would never vote for such a law.  If someone else believes that is the moral thing to do they would vote for it.  Both of us would be doing what we believed to be the morally right thing.

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PSA: Like most political contention, abortion debates thrive when one believes they hold a moral high ground, along with an assumption that it should grant them power over others. Negative feelings follow when that power doesn't really achieve anything except to further drive the debate.

In my personal experience, the drive to control others usually stems from deep, persistent feelings of helplessness.

That is all. Thank you for coming to my Chum Talk.

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14 hours ago, california boy said:

 I think we all can agree that a child is the combination of a body and a spirit.  If there is no knowledge of when a spirit enters a body, then one can not claim that children are being murdered or that they need legal protection.  If you can't prove a murder has taken place, then  you can't really punish someone for murdering a fetus.

But some people can know something that some other people do not know or believe.  Including when a spirit enters a body.  And nobody can make others believe or know something just by telling those others what or how they know what they know because others are always free to say "I don't believe that" and "that is just your opinion" regardless of how much evidence they are shown.

14 hours ago, california boy said:

If someone believed in abortion, do you think it would be morally right to vote for a law that forces people to have abortions under certain circumstances? 

I would vote No to that option.  But I'm sure there are some other people out there in the world who would vote Yes.

14 hours ago, california boy said:

A person can believe in the rights to decide if someone should have an abortion.  But imo, it is quite a different thing to vote for something to force that belief on others.  

I agree.  It is a different thing.  But all votes are expressions of what each voter believes is the right option to vote for and it is usually the majority that wins.  And those who didn't vote for that option are still not forced to believe that is right.

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I wanted to relook over his talk in writing before responding. I was gardening the first time I heard it so I wanted to make sure I was hearing it correctly. When I have concerns nowadays I like to first start with what I agree with. 

And there's plenty that I agree with. I agree that women sacrifice a lot to bring a child into the world even when the child is very wanted. I had a front row view of that recently with a client. Her barriers included emotional past trauma that effected her ability to connect with her growing child, family issues, health concerns, being high risk, and dangerous medical neglect. She is one of my low key super heroes. With that I agree with our need to make sure we're doing all we can to support prospective moms, particularly when the pregnancy is unexpected. We can individually do that, but I think that's something that needs to have more societal implications as a whole as to how can we better support women. It's well known in fields like international developments that the success and health of a child is strongly correlated with that of their mother. If we want a health and stable future, we cannot neglect the present mother in her needs.

 I also agree that when and how many kids is a decision between the couple and god and no one else. I had a conversation with my SIL who doesn't feel fully ready to have a baby but has a very very eager MIL (my step-mom).

I also agree with this...though I get from the context I assume Anderson and I would like interpret the implications of this differently:

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Some may question if life begins with the formation of an embryo, or when the heart begins to beat, or when the baby can live outside of the womb, but for us, there is no question that spirit daughters and sons of God are on their own personal journeys coming to earth to receive a body and experience mortality.

Overall I think there's more that I agree with than disagree with in this talk. My concern is more into the narrative it feeds. I remember my discomfort wasn't really about how I live or perceive these principles. It was how others likely would. 

The talk circles with a specific set of narrative that's common within LDS circles and validates more conservative interpretations of what this should mean beyond personal choice. Which isn't bad, it's just limited. It means there's stories and experiences that aren't really being tackled with and incorporated into what this means. It reminds me of a conversation I had with a previous bishop who asked my help in better understanding certain topics that may come up in his office. We got talking about one (not abortion) where I had a view that differed from the common assumptions. While exploring this he realized that due to the nature of his calling and the cultural position surrounding the topic, he would likely only hear from people who’s stories and feelings matched the common narrative of guilt and shame and problems assumed to follow this certain act.


That’s what elder Anderson’s story from his adopted G-DIL especially pointed to for me. It felt strangely parallel to my own. It was similar to mine in that I too found myself contemplating a lot of things while pregnant around growing a human life and the sacrifice it took and such as a woman born from a single young mom (not that young luckily). But almost every other experience in there differed from hers (minus having my own kiddo and from what I can tell marrying in the temple) which likely because of that some of my conclusions differ too. This doesn’t mean to me that her experiences are invalid. Far from it. It can be a positive hope for teen moms and people who’ve given their kid up for adoption. But her start with life as an infant adoptee of a teen mom is the minority of unplanned pregnancies now. And the lines that at best suggest single moms and unmarried parents are small and without examples of what the minimal advice pointed their way even looks like.

 

My other concern around abortion specifically is that this single narrative can foster strong/reactive judgment in members. I have a friend that I recently had a discussion with on this. He was surprised by my position because he assumed my religiosity meant similar position (again....that problem with a single narrative also means there's only one way active believing members would believe about this). His description and assumptions of the women who abort was extremely judgmental and based on a really flat picture of these people and the pressures put on them. This narrative is common and assumes that most of these choices around abortion are truly 100% elective and without really much of a merciful picture of the women and their circumstances. It also ignores what we need to do as a society to truly alleviate the pressures that lead to these decisions. It also means that when potential exceptions do come up, women are less likely to take up that as an option to even entertain because the messages on abortion have been so extremely negative and the messages of grand maternal sacrifice to bring a baby into the world are so prevalent. Even if they really really need to think about it. Even when if they died or were irreparably harmed it would effect their ability to mother their other children. 

 Again, I don't have a huge problem with Anderson's talk. It just wouldn't be at all how I would have written about the same subject. 

 

With luv,

BD

Edited by BlueDreams
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18 minutes ago, BlueDreams said:

Oh one other story concern was the use of the story of the woman who felt God tell her to have more kids. It's another very common story when talking about family planning in the church which gently ignores stories that go against the idea of having several kids. I have yet to hear a talk where the couple assumed they'd have 8 kids, she realized she has really dangerous pregnancies and after prayer  and pondering, they stop at two. The over arching principle is still the same (the couple in their own circumstances plans their family with the help of God). But the outcomes are very different. When only one outcome is highlighted all the time, people are more likely to assume that the only right answer will entail more not less children.

People experience what they experience so it is sometime difficult to talk about experiences they have not experienced.  And I would guess that generally speaking it is better to have as many children as possible if all are likely to be healthy and well cared for.  My wife and I are probably in the minority, I'm guessing, of people who were told that it was better to not have any children other than the 2 she had from her previous marriage.  And she stopped at 2 with him, at the age of 23, because she had almost died after the second and was told by doctors that was likely to happen again, whether or not she would survive.  So when we married with her at age 40 we felt God telling us that it was best to play safe than take that risk again.  

But I wasn't the one who was giving that talk.  Elder Anderson was, based on his own experiences.  

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1 hour ago, BlueDreams said:

I have yet to hear a talk where the couple assumed they'd have 8 kids, she realized she has really dangerous pregnancies and after prayer  and pondering, they stop at two.

You've only yet to hear such a talk because (1) you are not in my ward and (2) when my wife and I tell the story we had originally planned on having 5 kids - not 8. 

 

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2 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

have yet to hear a talk where the couple assumed they'd have 8 kids, she realized she has really dangerous pregnancies and after prayer  and pondering, they stop at two.

That would be me, though it was going to be likely 4 or 5 unless pregnancy was much easier on me than expected. It was harder. 
 

Mom semiabandon us kids for a few years due to the health issues that came with the last kids.  I wasn’t going to do that to the ones I brought into the world. 
 

Neither myself nor my husband have talked about this in Church.  

Edited by Calm
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3 hours ago, Zeniff said:

People experience what they experience so it is sometime difficult to talk about experiences they have not experienced.  And I would guess that generally speaking it is better to have as many children as possible if all are likely to be healthy and well cared for.  My wife and I are probably in the minority, I'm guessing, of people who were told that it was better to not have any children other than the 2 she had from her previous marriage.  And she stopped at 2 with him, at the age of 23, because she had almost died after the second and was told by doctors that was likely to happen again, whether or not she would survive.  So when we married with her at age 40 we felt God telling us that it was best to play safe than take that risk again.  

But I wasn't the one who was giving that talk.  Elder Anderson was, based on his own experiences.  

I find this true and not so much at the same time. Today, for my job I talked to a person struggling with his feelings towards armed service. I don't know his context at all. I've never served in the military at all. But by listening and having a bit of personal humility on my blindspots I can still learn from them and help them in their own emotional pain. Being open to more experiences and seeking them out generally starts to expand your own understanding and allow you at least windows into people. When I do so I am not just my own set of experiences. 

You are likely right that you are in the minority per se when it comes to that specific set of circumstances. But accrued all together a  large chunk of people will likely be the exception at some point in their life when it comes to family planning. I know active church members who range from 1-5 younger children currently. They've all had exceptional circumstances at some point in their decisions with having and caring for children. They've all made decisions about how many kids to have and when to do so that they weren't entirely expecting, including myself. And it hasn't always or even mostly been to have more or have them sooner. Sometimes it was to wait, to stop, to induce, to have a homebirth, to let go of adoption dreams for the time being, etc. 

With luv,

BD

 

Edited by BlueDreams
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3 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

Oh one other story concern was the use of the story of the woman who felt God tell her to have more kids. It's another very common story when talking about family planning in the church which gently ignores stories that go against the idea of having several kids. I have yet to hear a talk where the couple assumed they'd have 8 kids, she realized she has really dangerous pregnancies and after prayer  and pondering, they stop at two. The over arching principle is still the same (the couple in their own circumstances plans their family with the help of God). But the outcomes are very different. When only one outcome is highlighted all the time, people are more likely to assume that the only right answer will entail more not less children.

I had this discussion with my Mom earlier this week. She knew a family where, this was 1930s-1940s so little if any birth control. Anyways they had children every year and they were dirt poor farmers and the mother died. My Mom said she just wore out. He was left with a farm to run, all these kids, babies and basically the community had to raise the kids, he had no time to date or anything to find a wife. Every situation is so different. You look at Pres. Joseph F. Smith and how many kids did he have and yet you see people Like Pres. Harold B. Lee, Pres. Monson and Elder Renlund all had less than 3 kids and can we tell the spirituality of either of those couples? more kids doesn't mean more righteous, everyone is so different.

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3 minutes ago, BlueDreams said:

I find this true and not so much at the same time. Today, for my job I talked to a person struggling with his feelings towards armed service. I don't know his context at all. I've never served in the military at all. But by listening and having a bit of personal humility on my blindspots I can still learn from them and help them in their own emotional pain. Being open to more experiences and seeking them out generally starts to expand your own understanding and allow you at least windows into people. When I do so I am not just my own set of experiences. 

You are likely right that you are in the minority per se when it comes to that specific set of circumstances. But accrued all together a  large chunk of people will likely be the exception at some point in their life when it comes to family planning. I know active church members who range from 1-5 children currently. They've all had exceptional circumstances at some point in their decisions with having and caring for children. They've all made decisions about how many kids to have and when that they weren't entirely expecting, including myself. 

 

With luv,

BD

 

Interesting.  Something like empathy and compassion, I'm guessing.  But I would still say you are you and only you even if you have what seems to you to be a really good view of another person through that person's windows, so to speak.

But now back to my point, I was thinking Elder Anderson expressed the views he did regarding having children and abortion because of what he had seen in his own experiences.  Friends he knew who decided to have more children, prompted by God (they told him) to do so.  And the experience he had heard about from his daughter-in-law whose mother had decided to give up for adoption rather than aborting that pregnancy.  Experiences of others who told him their stories of things that had happened to them, which he then tried to understand and share with us in that experience of his talk during a session of General Conference.

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20 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

In the wedding cake situation, you say that the baker doesn't have to act contrary to their beliefs, they just have to pay the price if they act according to their beliefs. They refuse to bake the cake, they lose their business license. That's the price of acting according to their beliefs. So, if they act according to their beliefs, they can no longer work in their chosen field. That's a big price to pay, which seems tantamount to forcing them to act contrary to their beliefs. It's like telling someone: you're free to do whatever you want, but if you don't do what I want you to then I'll ruin your life. Your definition of freedom seems pretty academic, meaning that it doesn't really apply in real life: Sure you're free to choose, but make the wrong chose and your life is ruined.

Boy have you blown this completely out of proportion.   You can still be a baker.  You can still make cakes.  You can still make every single other baking goods you want. It is the owners choice whether to also bake wedding cakes which at times may be for a gay wedding, or not offer wedding cakes at all.  Is that such a high price to pay for keeping your beliefs?  

Do you think LDS should refuse to serve coffee if they work at Starbucks?  

 

20 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

Imagine this law: Any healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, etc.) who is involved in an abortion loses their medical license and can no longer practice medicine.

Do you support this law? It allows the healthcare providers to perform an abortion, but then they pay the price and lose the ability to work in their chosen field. They are not forced to act contrary to their beliefs -- they can still provide the abortion. They just have to pay the price and lose their license. They may be pro-choice, but losing their ability to work in their chosen field is, as you say "the price for holding that belief."

What's the difference?

Well Novis, this is another false scenario.  Not every doctor can perform an abortion jsut like not every doctor can be a heart surgeon.  You have to be trained in the field of medicine you are interested in.  So if you don't want to do abortions, well then don't take training on how to do abortions.  No doctor is required to do procedures that they have no training in.  

This discussion is getting a bit out of hand.  I know that you are against abortions.  Well, then, don't have one.  It is that simple.  And don't make the claim that an embryo has a spirit at some point in the pregnancy when you have no proof of when that occurs.   And no, I am not in favor of late term abortions.  I think there is room for compromise in this issue.

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9 hours ago, bluebell said:

One can if they believe that God has told them that.  

No, I don't think that would be moral.  So I would never vote for such a law.  If someone else believes that is the moral thing to do they would vote for it.  Both of us would be doing what we believed to be the morally right thing.

Has God told you when the spirit enters the embryo?

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2 hours ago, california boy said:

I know that you are against abortions.  Well, then, don't have one.  It is that simple.

It's not that simple. And the fact that you think it is that simple, that you reduce the whole controversial issue to a solution that is completely on your side of the issue, and then call it simple, means you have little or no understanding of the pro-life side. It's unfortunate that you are unwilling to try to understand us, and instead dismiss us so easily out-of-hand.

I don't need to continue this conversation further, so I'll let you have the last word, if you want it.

 

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15 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

Oh one other story concern was the use of the story of the woman who felt God tell her to have more kids. It's another very common story when talking about family planning in the church which gently ignores stories that go against the idea of having several kids. I have yet to hear a talk where the couple assumed they'd have 8 kids, she realized she has really dangerous pregnancies and after prayer  and pondering, they stop at two. The over arching principle is still the same (the couple in their own circumstances plans their family with the help of God). But the outcomes are very different. When only one outcome is highlighted all the time, people are more likely to assume that the only right answer will entail more not less children.

My parents wanted twelve, but for the mental health of them both, had to stop at 8. We may see these stories locally, I heard them and witnessed them firsthand, but that is not the same as what is taught from the General Conference pulpit. In a church with a belief in continuing revelation and a living prophet and apostles, nothing is. In my family, because my parents were overwhelmed, church became all the more influential, too. Even though I went to public school and had non-member friends, it all revolved around the church and church revolved around the prophetic teachings. 

And so I did as Elder Anderson suggested for many years, going forward in faith and bearing many children. And I almost lost my life three times, and we almost lost a child because of it.

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On 4/7/2021 at 3:36 PM, smac97 said:

I'd like to better understand this.

Sure.  But carrying a child does not terminate the mother's personhood, whereas aborting the unborn child does negate her personhood.

I agree.  

I hold the concept of bodily autonomy in high regard.  The only reason I think about abortion is because it involves the life of a baby.  

I am curious as to your thoughts about sex-selective abortion.  Are you okay with it?  It almost always occurs in the context of the fetus being female.  We previously discussed this here about a book written by a pro-choice woman who was somehow opposed to sex-selective abortion.  An excerpt:

What are your thoughts?  How can the pro-choice folks stake out a "choice is paramount" position with a caveat of "unless you want to abort the child because it's a girl, in which case that's not acceptable?"  

Is there a limiting principle to what you are saying here?  Or is abortion right up to the moment of delivery is, for you, acceptable?

I agree that education and persuasion is better in the abstract (and prior to pregnancy), but once the baby is in utero, we have to make a legal and moral decision about whether the mother can kill it for any reason or no reason at all.  

Thanks,

-Smac

Terminating a pregnancy does not negate personhood. Castle doctrine, self-defense, conscripting and sending soldiers off to war does not negate their personhood either.

In answer to your question regarding gender selection, I believe a woman has the right to not continue a pregnancy for any reason. It's not our business why.

In answer to your question about limiting principle, I would say that not continuing a pregnancy does not always have to necessarily involve killing the unborn.  That said, I think that there is a prevalent myth that there are women wanting to abort full-term babies. There are cases when women elect to induce delivery when they know that the unborn has such physical problems  that they have no nonneglible chance at survival even full term, but those are still classified as abortions. Women should be allowed to make that choice, which is often done not only to reduce their own misery but also to reduce the suffering of their child.

I kinda look it it like this: whoever lives inside a woman's body is not under the jurisdiction of the state. They are under her jurisdiction, her laws, her own sense of morality.

 

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On 4/7/2021 at 9:18 PM, MiserereNobis said:

But the "fruit" is an innocent child! Imagine telling a child that she needs to die because she would cause more harm to her mother than the man who raped her mother.

I have a real problem with this kind of thinking.

But a pregnancy can lead to harm to a woman, not just directly but also indirectly. 

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

Terminating a pregnancy does not negate personhood.

That begs the question though.

The question is about when personhood begins, because that's when the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution vests.

 

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