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The Politics of Abortion in the Church


1. I read somewhere that Louisiana *does* have an anti-abortion law already, just not as broad as the one just proposed. And I think the existing law does not make the mother criminally liable.

2. An abolition statute needs to be written carefully. If the statute just says "A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus counts just like a born person in criminal law," then it may be that leniency for the mother or birth control pharmacist is disallowed, because typically first-degree murder (premeditated homicide) has a minimum sentence-- perhaps 5 years in prison. So it would be better to create a special statute for abortion allowing judges more discretion, from probation to a month in jail to the death penalty, depending on circumstances.

Indiana Abortion Law

Biology of Abortion


I should write on this. Finnis is on a good track, but after skimming, I think he's missing a lot. The essential question is whether a state law permitting a father to kill his six-year-old would violate the U.S. or state constitutions. If not, then surely he could kill his unborn baby. If so, maybe not. And it is not clear at all that the U.S. Constitution This kind of thing very likely came up before 1865 with slavery. Could a master kill his slave? In general that was murder, I recall, but was that true at every time in every state? What about in the absence of statutes?

Section 1 of the 14th Amendment says

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.

No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;

nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;

nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

I don't see that that requires a state even to have a law against killing adults, much less against parents killing their children. It just says the state government may not kill people.

  • The 2022 Indiana Monroe County case docket. An amicus from CCFL might be appropriate on the preliminary injunction technicalities. The decision ignores balancing the equities. Also, public policy should be on the side of the legislature. On balancing the equities, we could suggest the Posner approach of the 7th Circuit. We would not talk about the merits. Make it individaul: Eric Rasmusen, as Treasurer of CCFL.

Religion and Abortion

The Bible

*"Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." Genesis 9:6. 
  • "As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all." Ecclesiastes 11:5.
  • Exodus 21:22


  • Quickening. Aristotle started the 40-day idea.

Judaism and Abortion

  • A good summary article. "As currently construed, Orthodox conceptions of Jewish law do not support a woman's right to choose an abortion for reasons of her own." It looks like the only reason for abortion Judaism allowed before, say, 1950, was to save the life of the mother. Linda Greenhouse and a professr who went unchallenged at Roger Pilon, in one week in talks at Indiana University, both said that in Judaism the fetus is not a person until after birth, which is false-- but they were apparently sincere. No links, tho some specifics.
  • This liberal article is evasive. It says that under Jewish law, a fetus "was not a person", evading the question of whether abortion was allowed or not. It wasn't-- except to save the life of the mother. They say that abortion was not treated as "murder"--- while not noting that it was nonetheless contrary to Jewish law. They actually lie at one point, unless they're talking about Jewish sources of the past fifty years: "Yes, Jewish sources explicitly state that abortion is not only permitted but is required should the pregnancy endanger the life or health of the pregnant individual. Furthermore, “health” is commonly interpreted to encompass psychological health as well as physical health." No links, hardly any specifics.
  • This is the best article. It has links and specifics. The Reform Jews started allowing "mental health" abortion in 1958, and the Conservatives in 1983. The Orthodox still disallow it, as all Jews did before 1958.

Roman Catholicism and Abortion

  • Evangelium Vitae (John Paul II): "I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being." Since 1917, punishable by excommunication.

Late Abortions

"“I put my baby down,” Kate Carson, who’d gotten an abortion at Hern’s clinic in 2012, told me. She’d been 35 weeks into a much-wanted pregnancy when her doctor diagnosed multiple brain anomalies. Carson’s daughter, the doctor said, would have trouble walking, talking, holding her head up, and swallowing. “It’s euthanasia. That’s the kind of killing this is,” she said. “But I would do it again a million times if I had to.”"
"Many of the clinic’s teenage patients receive later abortions because they had no idea they were pregnant. Some sexual-assault victims ignore their pregnancies or feel too ashamed to see a doctor. Once, a staffer named Catherine told me, a patient opted for a later abortion because her husband had killed himself and she was suddenly broke."
"He had bad dreams too. In the 1970s, physicians did not induce fetal demise during abortion, and once or twice, during a procedure at 15 or 16 weeks, he used forceps to remove a fetus with a still-beating heart. The heart thumped for only a few seconds before stopping. But for a long while after, a vision of that fetus would wake Hern from sleep. He could see it in his mind, the inches-long body and its heart: beating, beating, beating. In one dream, Hern angled his own body to shield his staff from catching a glimpse."
"Hern had told me about a woman who’d sought an abortion because she didn’t want to have a baby girl. I thought he had refused. But when I followed up to ask him why, I learned that I had misunderstood. Hern said he had done abortions for sex selection twice: once for this woman; and once for someone who’d desperately wanted a girl. It was their choice to make, he explained."
"“So if a pregnant woman with no health issues comes to the clinic, say, at 30 weeks, what would you do?” I asked Hern once. The question irked him. “Every pregnancy is a health issue!” he said. “There’s a certifiable risk of death from being pregnant, period.”"

Man Made in the Image of God

  • Mayo Clinic has good pictures of each week of development. The embryo does not look human until week 8. The heart starts forming in week 6. Blood cells start being created in the liver in week 11.

Trading in Body Parts