Why does it have to be all or nothing with abortion?

I don’t understand either the pro or anti abortion extremists, why does one always have to completely ignore the rest and not try to find a middle ground?

It’s not even that hard, imagine this, abortion allowed for everyone, but:

  1. In case of teenage pregnancies, violent, medical,etc. reasons it’s automatically done

  2. In cases where the parents simply aren’t sure if they want a baby, if they will afford to be parents and so on, 2 or 3 rounds of therapy meetings are held. If the underlying reasons aren’t solved and the person still wants to go through with it, they are still allowed to.

During these therapies the psychiatrists could try to find the reason why someone wants the abortion and in case it’s just fear of becoming a parent, they try to encourage them or help with any such issues.

Maybe the person doesn’t actually want to do the abortion, but is forced to by poor living standards and poverty. In such cases the therapists could offer the idea of giving the baby up for adoption with or without keeping in touch with it later, maybe even organize meetings with would-be adoptive parents that can’t have kids of their own.

I personally could have ended up just as a tiny number in a black statistic, my birth mother was 43 years old, extremely poor, without a job, living in a tiny apartment with an adult daughter and no husband, in 90’s sanctions stricken Yugoslavia. If anyone had chances of not getting born, it was me. Yet, I was born and given up for adoption, I had a perfectly normal and happy childhood and didn’t even know about all this until I was an adult. Who knows how many other kids could have had equally good or better childhoods if they didn’t just become a statistic.

Allowing women under stress and fear to just walk into a clinic without first going through a therapy session to determine the reason for such a drastic life-changing decision is equally as irresponsible and bad as not allowing abortions at all. It shouldn’t be one extremism vs the other extremism.

Which other rights should we have to jump through hoops to exercise?

It doesn’t. Roe v Wade was a compromise. It allowed increasing restrictions as the embryo/fetus was more fully formed. That’s not all-or-nothing, and the country had that policy for a long time.

Extremists, by definition, are all-or-nothing types. But you don’t hear as much from the people whose preference would be an extreme who are okay with the compromise that’s in place. I would have preferred a law that said no laws can restrict a person’s right to terminate their own pregnancy or prevent the provision of safe services for facilitating that, although the latter can be regulated. But I wasn’t agitating in the streets about it.

Automatically? Don’t see an opt out there, so are you advocating a compromise that includes forced abortions?

Can we bill you for number 2 on your list?

Why can’t women just be allowed to make their own medical decisions?

Possible response: well, there are two people involved, the woman and the fetus.
If you think that, then why would you ever allow abortion, except as a self-defense provision when the woman’s life or health is in danger?

I don’t see how you get around those questions and not come away with something close to all-or-nothing.

That said, I’m sure this thread will finally resolve the issue.

I don’t think it does have to be an all or nothing position, in fact I’d suggest that most people are able to think about it in a nuanced way but of course it does suit those occupying the extremes to paint it in that way and they tend to be most vocal about it.

In an ideal word there would be no abortions but failing that I think the world would be much better if there were exactly as many abortions as there needs to be and that the those who choose it are well informed, well supported and given access to everything they need to make the right choice for them.

If that number of abortions then turns out to be zero, fine, if it is a million, fine.

Imagine a world where, in the US, one party would rather rile up their voters with anti-abortion rhetoric. How would you get your “middle ground”* legislation passed? And if you can’t get it passed, which do you consider the better situation? Abortions banned? Or abortions legal?

So what if your birth mother could have aborted you. My parents could have decided to not have sex that day, and I wouldn’t have existed. That the first feels emotionally different isn’t a good place to start from to evaluate women’s rights to decide not to go through the risks, hardships and (particularly in the US) economic burden of pregnancy.

*I by no means agree that you have presented a middle ground.

My understanding is that there are no abortion laws at all in Canada. They used to have them, they were struck down by their supreme court, and no new laws were ever passed.

I was just there in August, so I can confirm that they haven’t imploded or become some sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland due to the total lack of abortion legislation.

Please, don’t refer to “Pro Choice” advocates as “Pro Abortion” advocates. They are not even remotely synonymous. “Pro Choice” advocates believe that women should have control over their reproductive processes, and having a baby is one of those choices.

Exactly. It’s the hallmark of the fascist mentality.

Because extremists on one side of the issue don’t want there to be a “middle ground”. If you’re someone who thinks abortion is murder, would you ever settle for a middle ground? Would you accept a “middle ground” for any other kind of heinous crime? “Okay, it’s fine to rape someone if they’re drunk enough, but not if they’re a good catholic!”

So they constantly push for greater and greater limitations on abortion. If left unchecked, they will ensure that abortion will eventually be entirely illegal, or at least functionally impossible to access. So if the other side doesn’t push back, they will eventually lose.

As a practical matter, the US already had a decent “middle ground” compromise on abortion in place, but anti-abortion supporters in places like Texas have been chipping away at that for years now, and if the recent draft decision is finalized, that compromise will be tossed out in a flash.

Annnnd there is the rub. It’s a very hard decision to support, from a jurisprudential point of view. What’s so special about 24 weeks that makes it a cut off period. It’s hard not to look at it as something the be the dreamed up as something they could get behind as reasonable.
Problem is that’s not their job. That’s the job of properly elected legislatures. Judges aren’t supposed to legislation from the bench for a good reason

All those that self-descibed ‘conservatives’ deem it necessary to vet despite otherwise being opposed to having government intrude on the private lives of citizens. The paradox is lost in the weeping and wailing over the moral panic of lost souls.

It should be noted thar while there are people who are genuinely opposed to legal abortion based upon religious or philosophical views, the general furor over it has been stoked by agitators who could care less about ‘saving’ or protecting children but recognize how readily it can be made into a polarizing political issue in which there is no compromise or middle ground.

The o.p. puts forth a reasonable-sounding proposal of “2 or 3 rounds of therapy meetings” with a psychiatrist because there are apparently too many of them running around with nothing better to do. Setting aside the history of psychiatry is ‘diagnosing’ and stigmatizing behaviors such as homosexuality and personal choices like deciding no to marry, this counseling approach has already been taken in many states where it is required by law and used as a way to make access to abortion onerous for women in poverty or who do not have the means to travel to and attend multiple hearings which often consist of pressure to choose an ‘alternative’; and these are the women most vulnerable to the costs and impacts of unwanted and unplanned pregnancy.

Of course, few advocates of restricting or outlawing abortion have little interest in erecting social and financial ‘safety nets’ for mother and child even while they are fine with spending obscene amounts of money prosecuting and imprisoning women seeking abortions and providers of the procedure. Gotta have your ‘big nanny government is evil’ priorities, I suppose.


First of all, parents who “aren’t sure” if they want to have a kid aren’t the people who are having abortions. It’s women who have decided they do not want to carry a child to term. The decision has been made.

Secondly, “Abortions are totally legal, but only if the government gets a chance to directly intervene to convince you otherwise” . . . is a pretty ridiculous concept. If all it takes for it to be legal to take action X is to talk to a government agent whose job it is to make sure you really want to do it . . . maybe the thing shouldn’t be illegal in the first place.

The reason why abortion tends to be an all-or-nothing matter is because of how high the stakes are for both sides.

If you’re pro-choice, then things that infringe on a woman’s autonomy and control her uterus against her will, are huge overreach and tyranny against her body.

If you’re pro-life, then compromise on abortion means allowing “baby murder.”

With those stakes, it’s hard to give ground on anything. It’s not as if people are discussing marginal tax rates or gas prices.


Sometimes extremism of view lends itself to pragmatic compromise in adjacent areas. I wasn’t horribly bothered by the problematic nature of the decision, although I would have preferred a ratified amendment guaranteeing abortion rights. That’s because securing abortion rights is more important than the purity of the Court, which is not a level of priority that much of anything else would rise for me.

Simplistic answer.
Pro-life: from the moment of conception it is a human and shall not be murdered.
Pro-choice: the embryo/fetus is a part of my body and the government cannot tell me what to do with my body.

IMO the pro-choice side does allow for some flexibility (when is the product of conception no longer YOUR body) but pro-life is pretty inflexible. For example I am pro-choice (yes Republican, we do exist) and have no problems with abortions before viability BUT I would outlaw partial birth abortions.

You’re right . . . except, of course, that for many, it’s “baby murder” . . . until the moment they decide they want an abortion themselves. I think it’s safe to assume that the high stakes, absolutist position that pro-life folks as a group take in public is one that many of them are willing to throw away on a dime when it comes to being able to make choices about their abortions.

It’s related to their Fundamentalist Christian views (I think). I have found that the more Conservative Christian holier-than-thou a person is, the most hypocritical they are when living a Christ-like life themselves.

[@Eonwe: I’m just adding to your post, not taking issue with even a syllable of it]

In the mid-80’s, I was in the back seat of a car with a buddy (driving) and his then-girlfriend (passenger).

We passed a giant billboard with something like “abortion stops a beating heart.”

I – not knowing better – blurted out, "Well, then, I hope you’re ready to support all those unwanted kids.

My (driver) friend slammed on the brakes and pulled off the road.

“Get out” was all he said.

Apparently, I’d struck a nerve. I didn’t know him quite as well as I thought I did.

Despite being some eight miles from home, I got out and walked home, obviously severing that friendship.

A year or two later, that friend called me. His girlfriend – the one who was in the car with us – was [wait for it] pregnant, and – while they were not choosing to have an abortion – they were desperately glad to have had abortion as an option.

He apologized. We reconciled.

Guttmacher says that some 13% of abortion recipients are self-titled Evangelicals.

Think about that.

Can I say with certainty that they are at least superficially and overtly anti-choice, and that they nearly always vote for the anti-choice candidate ?

I can’t.

But it’s a bet I’d be willing to make.

Unplanned pregnancy is a bit like cancer: it tends to be way too democratic, cutting across basically every demographic line.

So … yeah … the hypocrisy element thwarts reasonable discussion on this one, too.

It’s all or nothing because our democratic process heavily favors extremism and division.

I believe the ‘abortion problem’ in this country in it’s current state is the inevitable result of the SCOTUS establishing the law for abortion after declaring all existing abortion laws unconstitutional. My opinion may not be popular, but I think the SCOTUS should have struck down all the old laws then returned the issue to the states to work out the law for the future. This is because new abortion law is not the kind of issue the SCOTUS should have taken such control over, removing it from the democratic process, even as faulty as it is. In comparison, the Miranda decision was made at a similar time and the court established the law requiring people to be read their rights when arrested. Establishing that law was appropriate because the actions of law enforcement officers and the entire justice system as officers of the court should be in the purview of the SCOTUS, not only structurally but because the SCOTUS is assumed to have expertise in the law that allows them to construct new law in the matter. Medical decisions such as abortion are not in that category, the SCOTUS is not assumed to have a background in medicine and science to make such decisions. Clearly the legislatures are in no better shape in that regard, but our system is based on having decisions like that made through the democratic process. I think in the long run that process produces a better result. It may have resulted in a patchwork of abortion laws around the country, but wouldn’t have led to the political assault against legal abortion and the effect of that on almost other political decisions that we have now.