Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Temper-Tantrum Tuesday Follow-up edition

Finding time for follow-ups

When I originally started the “Temper Tantrum Tuesdays” and “What we know Wednesdays” I had planned to include “Follow-up Friday” to respond to any comments I got on those posts. Then I realized Friday is a time (or should be) to plan on relaxing and getting set to have fun, and possibly look around and see what you can do to make your little spot in the world a better place, not to look back on the week. So I’m looking for a spot to do follow ups, Thursday is out because I’ve been getting really good comments that take a couple of days research to do them justice. So this week I’ll do a follow-up temper tantrum.

Follow up to the Heisenburg Abortion

In response to my post “The Heisenburg Abortion” Jen from Redhead Ranting said, “If you don't want to have a baby then don't have sex. It's pretty simple.”

I promised her a follow-up as that post only dealt with the first 5 days after conception. I kind of have to cover my view on the whole subject before I can talk about the first 5 days without sounding like an idiot.

In the abortion debate I seem to have a radical stance, I believe that over the nine months of pregnancy the zygote then the embryo then the fetus then the baby undergo radical changes and each stage needs to be treated differently.

I also don’t care if and when it is considered “alive”. If you want to consider it alive fine, but in that case it doesn’t deserve any more rights than any other human being.

With that being said, I’ll take the devil’s advocate position and say that it is alive and deserves all the protections that any other human is entitled to. In that case Abortion should still be legal.

The legal argument on abortion has to stem from the “Attractive Nuisance” position in the law. Basically this position states that you are not liable for injuries to a trespasser on your property unless you have created an “Attractive Nuisance”, something so irresistible to a passerby that they can’t help themselves. The classic example is an unfenced pool to a 10 year old.

You can still have a pool and not be held liable for a trespasser falling in if you’ve taken reasonable steps to keep them out.


In the first 4 to 5 days after conception the zygote only responds to some very basic chemical stimuli, one might argue that all of consciousness is responses to chemical stimuli but in this case it isn’t any more complex than oxygen being attracted to hydrocarbon molecules. A woman’s uterine wall gives off the chemical stimuli that attracts it and makes it try to bond. So in a way a woman’s uterine wall is an “Attractive Nuisance” (and you thought beauty was only skin deep).

If a woman takes the morning after pill the uterine wall no longer gives out the chemical stimuli to make the zygote attach itself to it. Legally, this is like knowing some kids might be stopping by next door and locking the gate to your backyard so the kids can’t get into your pool. You’ve taken care of your legal duty to make it difficult for the kids to get to your pool, whether or not kids show up next door.

In the case of the zygote there is also the little matter of habeas corpus “Show me the body”. The zygote is no larger than the bodies other cells so searching threw a woman’s used rags for it would be million-dollar lab hunt.

Those that “Legally” try to argue against abortion at this stage are doomed, as it would mean throwing out almost every property right precedent ever.

Now morally is a different thing, the moral equivalent would be if a naked person walked by your house in a snowstorm. If you knew they were going to die if you didn’t let them in your house the moral thing to do would be to let them in, but you are under no legal obligation to do so.


The next stage, the Embryo, happens roughly 5 days after the zygote until about 8 weeks after conception. This stage is a little more complicated legally, but we can use the same two examples.

Even if a trespasser is on your property because of an “Attractive Nuisance”, that doesn’t give them the right to move into your spare bedroom. To use the pool example, if you walk out and find some kids playing in your pool, you can tell them to leave. If they don’t leave you can call the police to force them to leave.

Even in the most anti-lethal force states you have the right to use lethal force against a trespasser that refuses to leave, (although the with a 10 year old the courts would wonder why you didn’t just pick them up and toss them over the fence).

It’s the same with an embryo, even though they got on your property (your body in this case) you have no legal responsibility to take care of them.

Morally, this is like if you found a naked person huddled up against your heater during a snowstorm. It would be moral to take care of them but the law can’t force you to.


The next stage, The inviable fetus, 8-26 weeks. This is where the law gets tricky. By 8 weeks a woman should know if something is living inside of her, although with the abstinence-only education crusade some women might not have access to the fact that if she misses a period she should get that checked out. So the fetus is no longer a trespasser but legally considered a guest.

You can still legally force a guest to leave your property, but you are supposed to show some consideration. To take the naked person during a snowstorm example, If you found them huddled around your heater and you gave them clothes told them to make themselves at home, you have assumed some responsibility for their welfare. Kicking them out and making them leave the clothes would warrant some serious investigation.

Now, if after you let them in they started threatening you, or abusing your hospitality, then you would have every legal right to kick them out or use lethal force against them.

Ideally, most women will have figured out they are pregnant and have made a decision as to if they will keep it or abort it before the 8 weeks. I know this isn’t always the case with teenage girls as they are insane (the constantly shifting hormone levels make all teenagers clinically insane, boys and girls) and the pregnancy amplifies this.

If between 8 weeks and 26 weeks the life of the mother is threatened more than the normal 1 in 7,000 chance of dieing during childbirth, then she has every right to have the fetus removed.

26 weeks to birth: This stage varies greatly by the individual but around 26 weeks the fetus becomes semi-viable outside the womb, and all analogies are off. Doctors used to try and save the fetus at this stage but unfortunately they were sometimes successful. Those that survived had a painful existence in permanent Intensive Care. Now it is considered kinder to kill the fetus than let it go through a few months in that state.

There really is no comparable legal analogy, maybe a fight for the oxygen mask at 60,000 ft. One person will be ok and one will be a vegetable, but even that breaks down petty fast.

For the 26 weeks on I feel that there should be strict legal guidelines governing abortion. The mother’s life should take precedence over the fetus, but the tricky part is by how much. If there could be a reasonable debate on this we could have a reasonable guideline like if the mother’s chance of dieing was 1-50 or something, but Washington will never debate it. We’ve got one side saying the Mother is only good for carrying babies, so she is expendable. On the other side we’ve got people wanting to make the law apply to all the different stages.

In my humble opinion both are wrong. For the first 8 weeks the zygote or embryo is legally a trespasser plain and simple. After 26 weeks the consequences are so great that it should only be done as an extreme last resort. In between I can see there is a large gray area.

As always I welcome comments, however on this topic I reserve the right to ridicule anyone who tries to treat a zygote and a 26-week-old fetus as the same thing without a good explanation of why they think that. (That goes for either side).

5 comments:

Stephanie B said...

I tend to agree with you. Sorry I missed the earlier discussion. 8-14 weeks is a struggle for me because usually it's a challenge to get genetic testing done prior to 12 weeks. A CVS can go on at 10-11 weeks, but it's a tad bit riskier than an amniocentesis (so you could spontaneous abort when you didn't want to) but an amnio isn't doable really until the first couple of weeks of the second trimester.

If you're the sort of parent who isn't thrilled about saddling a wanted child with a life-long and often crippling disability, you may struggle to do what you consider a responsible thing.

Project Savior said...

I can always count on you to bring up a good point I hadn't thought about. I had selfishly concentrated on just what the legal responsibility was for a woman, not taking other factors into account before 26 weeks.

louise kurtis said...

The scientific facts are at all stages from Zygote, embrio, foetus to birth the fertilized egg is a human being.it can't be disputed as it's true. The number of pregnancy's ending in abortion amounts to a modern day holocaust upon our most vulnerable members of society. The unborn! Fact abortion ends human life at whatever stage it is performed. Therefore it makes murderers of mothers. How can it make logical sense to allow a mother to murder a baby before it is born but yet 5 or 4 months later put her in prison for life or even give her the death penalty for killing that same newborn person?

Project Savior said...

Louis,
I did a post a few years back about the liberal bias of the dictionary. You seem to believe in that so I will sum it up. The definition of Murder is "The illegal killing of a human being."
Abortion is legal therefore by definition not murder.
If you believe it is "Killing" a human being I won't debate you on that as I don't believe life or death has a clear starting point, so I will take your POV.
The post went through and discussed the stages of pregnancy (and pre-pregnancy) with that POV.
As far as your statement about a mother willingly ending a child's life the day before it is born, (or a week before) that is illegal and is considered murder.
Once the Fetus has a reasonable chance at leading a normal healthy life the same care must be taken as it were born.
To turn your logic around, How does it make sense that a mother can stop taking care of a baby one hour after it is born, but be forced to care for it against her will for the nine months prior to that?
Bottom line is the government can't force someone to take care of another person against their will.

Project Savior said...

BTW Louise,
Sorry about the typo on your name, I didn't hit the e hard enough and didn't catch it before I posted, sorry.
I did want to thank you for taking the time to set up a new blogger account just to post on my site.
I really appreciate that extra effort.