Has abortion made killing babies more tolerable?

We recently had another mother found guilty of killing her own baby.
She got 2.5 years out of a possible 37 and it wasn’t even a plea bargain. Story.
What’s telling is this line from the DA;

I’m quite shocked by that statement. Some punishment? Some deterence?
And then the second part where he says, “what ever people feel about what to do with the child before they are born, everyone says after the child is born it’s entitled to protection.” He’s distancing himself from an actual position. He’s a gutless weasle. Unless he’s a strong proponent of abortion and believes that mothers should be given leniency in cases such as this.

So, it’s a natural and very strong urge to rationalise. We all do it. The mother could have been thinking, “You know, I could have aborted you two weeks ago, but I didn’t, and that would have been legal. Now I don’t think I want you anymore. I think I’ll drown you in that toilet over there and take my chances with the legal system.”
You have to be fooling yourself if some of the jurors hadn’t thought the same thing. The judge too. And probably some of you on this board.

If you think I’m crazy, then ask yourself if she would have recieved the same sentence if the child was two years old…four?..ten? I don’t think so.
This poor defenseless human being was killed by the person who was to be the foundation of her existence. Instead, her soul was effectively flushed down the toilet.

So, the crux of the OP is this;
Has legalised abortion, especially the passive acceptance of late term procedures, made killing babies more palatable?


The war on abortion has made more people who would otherwise seek abortions draw back from that option until it is too late, and so they resort to infanticide.

Count up the proportion of gals from conservative Christian families who do the infanticide thing to the ones where such a background is not mentioned. Compare the number from so-called “red states” to the ones who hail from states where there is easy access to relatively unimpeded abortion. I’m just going on what I recall, but it seems to my memory that in a great number of such cases the pregnancy was hidden, the girl was afraid of what her parents would do if they found out, and abortion was considered by the household to be a sin.

And killing the baby isn’t a sin? I understand your (sort of) position, but the legal system is applying leniency to these cases more often than not. How do you account for the lean sentences?

Two and a half years of prison, plus an additional six and a half years of “extended supervision” as your link indicates, does seem like a low sentence. However you’re reading an enormous amount into one statement by the DA.

How about someone who was actually responsible for choosing the sentence, like a judge or a jury? Perhaps we could hear something from them before you take a giant logical leap to the conclusion that the sentence somehow had anything to do with the legality of abortion? Your entire argument rest at its base on your interpretation of a single statement…which didn’t even mention abortion…made by someone who’s not even ultimately responsible for the magnitude of the woman’s sentence in the first place!

Passive acceptance of late term procedures?” On what planet have late term abortion procedures been passively accepted by anyone, pro-choice or pro-life?

I think a deeper understanding and common defense usage of post-partum depression has made the sentences decline, and it has nothing to do with abortion.

This is a repugnant thing to say (the first of a couple). I was unaware that the pro-choice lobby had a position on drowning babies, much less that they were against it.
Incidentally, we don’t know that he was involved in prosecuting the case, and it was a statement made to the media, not in court. I don’t think the DA will use the “we almost got the baby-killer off!” as part of his re-election campaign.

This is probably even worse. If she went for an abortion at 8 1/2 months, I think the doctor would probably have told her it was safer to have the baby and give it up for adoption, but nevermind that. I’d like to see real evidence of the slippery slope you’re discussing here. Show me that infanticide is up, or that mothers who kill their babies are getting consistently lighter sentences, and then prove that it’s linked to abortion. (I would think that legalized abortion would lead to a decrease in infanticide.) This is just a lot of projection, and offensive projection at that.

Emphatic no.

Every society has a history of infanticide. Moses was sent down a river- do you think his mom really thought anyone would find him? In the middle ages the reason why they made such a fuss over leaving babies at churches is because it was an alternative to infanticide. Even in Victorian times it was fairly common in Europe- most often the method involved leaving the kid out to die of exposure, but other methods involved chucking the babies off bridges or refusing to nurse. It’s still widely tolerated and practiced in rural areas around the globe.

Abortion provides an alternative and has made infanticide rare and unacceptable in our society.

If the mother had been thinking that, she would have been completely wrong. There is no legal abortion-on-demand in the ninth month of pregnancy (or at any time in the third trimester or part of the second, for that matter) available anywhere in the US.

Roe v. Wade establishes a woman’s right to choose an abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy, as well as the right to have an abortion when necessary to protect her life or health later in pregnancy. But as the fetus develops during gestation, its rights as a person are considered to increase, and after viability the fetus’s rights are considered to outweigh the mother’s right to choose an abortion at will. States may constitutionally deny women access to late-term abortions for any reason except to preserve their life or health, and all states do so.

I know of no documented case where a healthy 26-year-old with a normal pregnancy, such as the mother in the OP, could walk into an abortion clinic two weeks before giving birth and be able to obtain an abortion. Forget the horror stories about “an epidemic of partial-birth abortions”. The sort of scenario that you hypothesize here simply is not happening, and if you claim it is, you need to provide a cite.

Ditto for sven. Using rare cases like this as indicative that things are getting worse shows a gross ignorance of history.

ExACTly. Abortion has not made killing an infant more tolerable to society, an understanding of the chemical imbalances caused by giving birth has caused more judges to take other criteria into consideration when sentencing. It’s comparing apples and oranges.

Only a fragment of one percent of all abortions occur in the third trimester and even then it’s only for compelling medical reasons (often, the fetus is already dead).

No. Reproductive rights for women has not made it any more acceptable to kill babies. The OP’s notion that abortions are performed two weeks short of a due date is completely without merit and no sane person thinks that the legality of abortion justifies murdering babies.

The Senate Judiciary Committee would disagree with that. After an exhaustive study of the matter, they concluded that there are “no significant legal barriers of any kind whatsoever exist today in the United States for a woman to obtain an abortion for any reason during any stage of her pregnancy.” (Report, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, on Senate Resolution 3, 98th Congress, 98-149, (7 June 1983), p. 6.)

It’s true that late-term pregnancies can only be aborted for the “health of the woman.” However, the Doe v. Bolton decision declared that the term “health” must be defined in the broadest possible terms – “in light of all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age – relevant to the well being of the patient. All these factors relate to health.” (Doe v. Bolton 410 U.S. 179, 192 (1973).) In other words, even emotional distress would be considered sufficient grounds to protect the mother’s ‘health’ – and what unwanted pregnancy wouldn’t cause emotional distress?

The Senate Judiciary Committee recognized that. That’s why they concluded that the “health of the woman” barrier is effectively no barrier at all.

Well, technically, he was sent down the river as an attempt to escape government enforced infanticide. Plus she did send him with a lookout.

Still, as to the OP - absolutely not. As even sven and others have also said, infanticide isn’t new and people aren’t going easier on sentencing because abortion may have been legal during parts of the pregnancy. If anything, I’ve heard the opposite - that the mothers should be more harshly punished because it could have been avoided in early pregnancy.

All that sounds like to me is that the law isn’t making the rules for a doctor’s decision about what is necessary to preserve a woman’s life or health—in other words, the choice of an abortion is totally a judgement call by the doctor, with no separate “legal barriers” constraining how s/he may decide.

Clearly, the doctor’s judgement in such cases is forming an effective “barrier” to the frivolous use of late-term abortion, since as Dio pointed out, late-term abortions are extremely rare.

And by the way, do you have any more information on that alleged Senate Judiciary Committee report? The only things I can find about it by googling are innumerable quotes of exactly the same material you quoted, all from right-to-life organizations. (I looked on the THOMAS legislative history website, but 1983 is too far back for their committee report archives.) Heaven forbid that I should accuse anti-abortion organizations of misrepresenting or misquoting facts, but such things have been known to happen on both sides of the abortion debate, and it would sure be nice to have some independent confirmation of what’s actually in the report.

I have to call this as misleading. Like Kimstu I cannot find further info on this (my Google-Fu fails me today it seems) but it does smack of not being the whole story. What I can find however are statistics. In 1983 abortions occurring at 21 weeks gestation age or over accounted for 1% of all abortions. In 2002 that has crept up to 1.4%. ( Data for those numbers from the CDC )

So, even if we accept there were no meaningful barriers to getting a late term abortion it would seem they were rare nonetheless and have been pretty steady at that low number. Pick your reason for this…doubtless there are many factors playing into it but remember some notable portion of those later term abortions will be for legitimate reasons (save the life of the mother, severe deformity of fetus, etc.). I also think barriers do exist (rightly so) but since I cannot cite them just now I’ll stick with the data.

That’s not what they said, though. The Senate Judiciary Committee did not say, “Doctors may have to make judgment call in order to preserve a woman’s life or health.”

Rather, they specifically said that there are “no significant legal barriers of any kind whatsoever” to having an abortion “for any reason, during any stage of her pregnancy.” Their wording is as strong and as clear as you can get. Trying to say, “Well, it’s totally a judgment call” is really stretching the words beyond recognition.

Why should a woman have to risk any part of her health whatsoever for a pregnancy if she doesn’t want to?

This objection is rather disingenuous in my opinion. When a woman is forced to terminate a pregnancy in the third trimester it is NOT for trivial reasons and if the baby can be saved doctors will try to do so. Purely elective or whimsical abortions in the third trimester are not a reality in the US. and it’s unlikely that a doctor would perform such an abortion, legal or not.

The bottom line is that the government has no business making medical decisions for women or making determinations as to what is or is not necessary to protect their health. Since there is no practical way to write legislation in such a way as to circumscribe what constuitutes a sufficiently grave or serious health risk (and who but the doctor can make that judgement anyway?) then they have no choice but to either leave the health exception completely open or completely remove it, the consequences of which are too repugnant to bear elaboration.

But it does not reflect reality in the United States.

Numerous states (my own among them) restrict abortion after the fetus is considered viable. The courts have found such restrictions to be valid. From this source:

"The Supreme Court’s articulation of the concept of viability has required further elaboration, particularly with regard to the critical question of who defines at what point a fetus has reached viability. In Roe, the Court defined viability as the point at which the fetus is “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid.” Such potentiality, however, must be for “meaningful life” and this cannot encompass simply momentary survival. The Court also noted that while viability is usually placed at about 28 weeks, it can occur earlier and essentially left the point flexible for anticipated advances in medical skill. Finally, Roe stressed the central role of the pregnant woman’s doctor, emphasizing that “the abortion decision in all its aspects is inherently, and primarily, a medical decision.”

Similar themes were stressed in Danforth, in which a Missouri law, which defined viability as “that stage of fetal development when the life of the unborn child may be continued indefinitely outside the womb by natural or artificial life support systems”, was attacked as an attempt to advance the point of viability to an earlier stage of gestation. The Court disagreed, finding the statutory definition consistent with Roe. It reemphasized that viability is “a matter of medical judgment, skill, and technical ability” and that Roe meant to preserve the flexibility of the term. Moreover, the Danforth Court held that “it is not the proper function of the legislature or the courts to place viability, which is essentially a medical concept, at a specific point in the gestation period. The time when viability is achieved may vary with each pregnancy, and the determination of whether a particular fetus is viable is, and must be, a matter for the judgment of the attending physician.” The physician’s central role in determining viability, and the lack of such definitional authority in the legislatures and courts, was reaffirmed by the Court in Colautti v. Franklin.

In Danforth, the Court ruled that fetal protection statutes were generally overbroad and unconstitutional if they pertained to pre-viable fetuses. Such statutes require a doctor performing an abortion to use available means and medical skills to save the life of the fetus. In Colautti, the Supreme Court held subsequently that such fetal protection statutes could only apply to viable fetuses and that the statute must be precise in setting forth the standard for determining viability. In addition, the Court in Colautti stressed that in order to meet the constitutional test of sufficient certainty, fetal protection laws had to define whether a doctor’s paramount duty was to the patient or whether the physician had to balance the possible danger to the patient against the increased odds of fetal survival.

In Ashcroft, the Court found that the second-physician requirement during the third trimester was permissible under the Constitution because it “reasonably furthers the State’s compelling interest in protecting the lives of viable fetuses . .”

In answer to the OP…no. I’d agree that judges and juries are taking into account perceptions of mental illness in weighing punishment in infanticide cases.
It is a debatable point whether killings of infants would increase if legal abortion was abolished in most of the country.

Where does that say that abortion itself is effectively restricted? Where does it negate the “health” clause established by Doe v. Bolton? Quite simply, it does not.

Once again, that only addresses the issue of viability. It does not negate the “health” exception.

Previable fetuses are not what we are discussing. And once again, where does this decision state that the Supreme Court’s “health” exception is nullified?

Perhaps, but that is hardly a significant legal barrier toward obtaining an abortion. Any abortion clinic is likely to have more than one physician on hand… and even if they didn’t, this would merely be a practical limitation, not a legal one.

We could certainly debate whether a woman’s health should trump another human being’s life, but that’s beside the point. The point is that there are no significant legal barriers to obtaining an abortion at any time during pregnancy. Whether a woman should “risk any part of her health” is an interesting question, but irrelevant to the matter at hand.