Contract Hits on Babies

If abortion is murder, then to procure the services of an abortionist is to hire a hit man. It is to take out a contract on another human life. Who signs such contracts, or pays for them, is then as much a murderer as the knife man who does the cutting.

This is hard, but that’s how truth is.

The question then is whether the Law treats abortion as murder. If it does, then women who abort are legally murderesses, and ought in justice to suffer the full legal penalty for murder.

There has for decades been honest confusion about this. Even when the Law still recognized that abortion is murder, women who aborted were not generally treated as murderers simpliciter. And under the present law of the land, abortion is not treated as murder to begin with. On the contrary. In its considered judgement, society has authoritatively instructed us that abortion is no big deal. Because of this confusion, many people labor under the illusion that abortion is not, in fact, murder. So there have been lots and lots of such murders. Reduce the costs and penalties of anything, and you are bound to get more of it.

Therein lies the efficacy of the Law as teaching authority. Precisely because the Law does teach, so those who make it bear moral responsibility for the acts of their students, insofar as they have been influenced by the Law. Where legislators err morally in their lawmaking, they are themselves at fault for what their dimmer subjects then do in response to erroneous legislation. Better for any legislator then who has thus led his flock astray to be cast into the sea with a millstone about his neck.

All this goes for custom, as well; for custom is just law that is taken so widely for granted, that no one much considers it, and that therefore calls for no formal notice. Those then who propagate the custom of abortion, or the promiscuity and breakdown of sexual order that it enables – as Hollywood or the Academy – are as culpable as if they had legislated it. They abet murder.

To the extent that a woman honestly credits the dictates of the legislature or the propaganda of the chattering class as morally authoritative permission for her procurement of an abortion, she is less culpable than she would be if she had acted in full consciousness of the evil of her act. Who has been taught from infancy by her elders that abortion is no big deal can hardly be blamed for acting as if that were so. And she ought not therefore to suffer the full penalty justly due to murderers.

But guilt is conserved. Penalties from which the innocence of her error excuses her ought therefore in justice to fall instead upon those who abetted her crime of murder – who taught her to do it, who urged and guided her to it, and encouraged her. Who exculpates sin takes to himself ipso facto its meet ontological cost.

But whatever the Law says, Nature and her God are the final judges of our acts, and they will exact from sinners the penalty ontologically due to their moral crimes even when they seem to suffer no legal punishment. You can argue with the Tao, but you might as well beat your head against a mountain. And indeed, that’s just how disagreement with Mother Nature generally works out: disastrously. This is why it is so important that the Law should echo and resonate to moral reality; should, i.e., be just; should be True. Where laws lie about moral reality, they addle and so ruin us; they betray us by means of our own misdirected acts to passion of evil, to illness, squalor, poverty, and death.

62 thoughts on “Contract Hits on Babies

  1. Pingback: Contract Hits on Babies | Neoreactive

  2. Indeed. The recent Trump and Cruz abortion and pony show reveals just how incoherent “conservative” Americans are about abortion — and just how unserious politicians are in treating abortion as if it were what they call it — namely, the murder of innocent human life.

    A question for readers: what percentage of Republican elected officials who claim to be pro-life/anti-abortion would significantly restrict or ban abortion (even with the standard exceptions) if they had the chance? Forgive me my cynicism, but I suspect that they only offer token gestures to pro-life voters to keep the money, votes, and campaign organization power rolling in and on. Yes, useful laws have been passed to limit abortion, and maybe that’s all that they can do (the art of the possible, OK). However, the abolitionists were not content to improve the slave’s quality of life; they wanted the institution destroyed. If politicians truly considered abortion murder, they wouldn’t pansy-step around repeating “abortion has two victims” like they do (the same holds for every crime). I used to respect Cruz, but his opportunistic responses to Trump’s campaign “errors” have disgusted me. I am no longer sure that I w/could ever vote for him. Ditto for Kasich.

    • “I used to respect Cruz, but his opportunistic responses to Trump’s campaign “errors” have disgusted me.”

      I’ve hated Cruz ever since this: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/coppage/ted-cruz-crashes-defense-of-christians-summit/

      If any Christian defends that, you immediately know where they stand.

      ” Ditto for Kasich.”

      Kasich is an effeminate scold who blubbered on stage when describing how he attended some queer sodomarriage. Absolutely disgusting, I would want nothing to do with that fraud. By the way, Cruz hangs out with the pro-gay types himself while decrying “New York Values” which he likes to place upon Trump instead of the Israelis he cherishes so much.

      This is really nothing more than a political maneuver to try to derail the Trump train.

  3. Oddly enough, in many jurisdictions a man who beats a woman so badly that she miscarries can be charged with murder. While she cannot be charged with murder for aborting the same fetus. Women, therefore, have the Godlike power to make the law treat a fetus as unwanted tissue or as a human being by a nod of their head.

  4. “Women are victims, too!” is a canard of the pro-lifer movement because they imagine that, by fudging the cultural issues, they can score legal victories (by, e.g., not alienating the feminists that already hate their guts by accusing them of murder). This is of course the exact opposite of how it works, as witnessed by how the pro-SSM movement won, by changing the culture to the point that they could convincingly call people bigots for simply for supporting what the then-existing law plainly said, whereupon all legal resistance simply crumbled.

    I wonder what a culture-changing anti-abortion movement would look like sometimes.

    • A truly culture-changing anti-abortion movement would be one which frontally attacks the west’s fornication culture. Statistics have consistently shown that 85-90% of abortions are performed on unmarried women. It’s no accident that the push for legal abortion came directly on the heels of cultural acceptance of fornication. Destroy fornication, and you’ve destroyed abortion. Abortion, much like divorce, is usually seen as a ‘necessary evil.’ Not so with fornication. It’s positively glorified by every cultural outlet you can find. Christians do at least openly call abortion evil. Not so with fornication. On that issue, they blandly opine that ‘true love waits,’ and that you can be a ‘born again virgin’ if you don’t wait. Christians need to get over their fear of being called ‘slut-shamers’ and actually begin treating fornication as a great evil.

      • Most of the pro-abortion drivel is an extension of “individual liberties” -defined and regulated by, nothing less, an authority capable of using force-: an idol upheld even by deluded “Christians”.

        It’s somewhat parallel to the self protection issue; If you maim or kill a dangerous intruder, it’s a crime, never mind compelling evidence. If you kill a baby, it’s a medical procedure. Who said so?

        Yet, most of the pro-abortion crowd would never concede the same credits to ethnic cleansing and mass deportations (which would prevent most unwanted pregnancies, in fact)

    • Proph, a culture changing anti-abortion movement is called a civil war. That’s what it would take. Forcing women to be accountable will not happen without an ocean of blood and probably the destruction of our convenient way of life. Maybe we’ll be sensible and repent of women’s suffrage while we’re at it.

  5. Pingback: Contract Hits on Babies – CHRIST THE MORNING STAR

  6. Very well said, Sir.
    I find puzzling the notion of women as victims in this debate. We are not victims for we choose to kill the baby after pondering the matter. In fact, most young women know in advance they will kill the baby should they get pregnant before the “right time” arrives. Abortion is not something inflicted upon us.

    • I find puzzling the notion of women as victims in this debate.

      It’s partly a misplaced chivalry — sin — on the part of men. We men have a natural proclivity — it’s not too strong a word to call it a need — to protect women; but, like any natural good, it can be sinfully misdirected.

      It’s partly a cowardice — sin — on the part of men. We men don’t like to engage in conflict with women — we’ll put up with all manner of outrages from a woman that we never would from a man — and women instinctively know this and use it to their (frequently short-sighted) advantage. In this circumstance, it is the feminists (who *hate* men in any event) using this fact about men to silence the few male voices who do dare to mention the fact that women are moral agents equally with men.

  7. Since I don’t know much about criminal law, Kristor, I wonder why the mother would be a murderess instead of an accessory to murder. Tell me, would you?

    • I’m no expert either, but in most jurisdictions it would seem that hiring a killer who carries out the killing is treated as murder: both the killer and his employer can pay the penalty due to murder, even up to capital punishment.

      In logic, assisted suicide, too, would be contract killing.

  8. Just speculating. women are a biologically scarce resource. The thought of punishing, locking up, or executing women en masse just *feels* wrong. This is probably one reason conservatives ar so irrational on this subject.

  9. I suppose it’s a “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” sort of proposition, but I have long thought that abortion culture (if it may be called that) has very far-reaching, negative impact on the moral senses of young women in particular. This I consider tragedy because once one’s character and habits are formed, it takes nothing short of the miraculous to change or alter them. Since societies consist of individuals (the whole is exactly equal to the sum of its parts), the entire culture is polluted by lawlessness of this sort. Lawlessness being another way of saying immorality; immorality being rebellion against God’s authority. The “law of the land” notwithstanding.

    That abortion is legal, therefore “moral” (the oft-used phrase “if it’s legal and moral” is, to my mind, a distinction without one, for all intents and puposes), and on the spurious basis of “a woman’s right to choose over her own body,” this has the broader effect of teaching young women, and of their imbibing this maxim, that there is virtually no behavior they could involve themselves in that is not, in point of fact, her “right” – to choose how she dresses and conducts herself, and so on and so forth.

    “Lawful” abortion is, therefore, lawful fornication, lawful divorce and etc. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the one does not ultimately lead to the other.

  10. In its considered judgement, society has authoritatively instructed us that abortion is no big deal.

    It wasn’t society who did this; it was a small set of those who would rule us.

  11. Had a recent dustup with Matt Walsh over this, along with FreeNortherner who pressed the case against him. A mother who hires an abortionist has effectively murdered her child. There is no equivocation here.

  12. Ed Peters, the canon lawyer, is no liberal goofball — so how do you explain this:

    “I have argued for years that the correct application of canon law visits censures on abortionists and NOT on women seeking abortions. See, e.g., my ‘Exemption from a penalty’ and ‘Excommunication for abortion’, in 2010 CLSA Advisory Opinions 169-174 and 178-182 respectively. Might be worth recalling, given Donald Trump’s idiotic call for criminal punishments of women seeking abortion.”

    • Well, I’m no lawyer, but like I said in the post:

      To the extent that a woman honestly credits the dictates of the legislature or the propaganda of the chattering class as morally authoritative permission for her procurement of an abortion, she is less culpable than she would be if she had acted in full consciousness of the evil of her act. Who has been taught from infancy by her elders that abortion is no big deal can hardly be blamed for acting as if that were so. And she ought not therefore to suffer the full penalty justly due to murderers.

      Canon 1324, §1:

      The perpetrator of a violation is not exempt from a penalty, but the penalty established by law or precept must be tempered or a penance employed in its place if the delict was committed … 9/ by a person who without negligence did not know that a penalty was attached to a law or precept …

      Notwithstanding all that, if we say what is much more, that *no* penalty *ever* ought – i.e., ever in justice can – redound from the Body of Christ and her Law to women who procure abortions, then we say in effect that procurement of abortion is spiritually harmless. We say that in the economy of salvation it is utterly inconsequential. This seems an odd thing to say of a mortal sin.

      Than which to say, it were better … millstone, neck, sea, and so forth.

      • What a frightening verse that is to all who have the responsibility to cultivate children’s character! Every parent, teacher, pastor, youth minister, camp counselor, et cetera — yes, and every legislator, judge, and executive — should have the Lord’s warning on a visible sign placed in a prominent place (in my ideal world, there would be no A.C.L.U. to object , of course).

        And what explains Peters’ comment about Trump’s “idiotic call”? Politically (in the Machiavellian sense) idiotic, in our age, I can see. But it is not essentially idiotic — rather, it seems just. Modern Americans baffle me to no end. It’s as if I don’t even share a culture with my fellow countrymen — they might as well be Bantu witchdoctors, as alien as they are.

      • That verse has always terrified me. When I learned the Israelite attitude toward the sea – as a salient of the primordial chaos, the abode of monsters and demons – it frightened me even more.

        Nor is it only those in offices of particular authority whom it should cause to tremble, but all of us who speak or write. Little pitchers have big ears. That kid standing in the shopping cart ahead of you in the checkout line will absorb every word you say. God forbid that any of my blithe offhand utterances should be for any such little one an occasion of sin.

    • Jeffrey just came here to get a line in on Donald Trump because W4 has taken hard to shilling for Cruz (notice how he forgot to mention that Trump posted a clarification on the stance that fell in line with the old pre Roe v Wade law). This also the site that shills hard for the NRO (going as far as to quote well-renowned mediocrity Jonah Goldberg as an authorty), the writers over there aren’t really in any position to dictate what is “conservative” or not. Especially considering the fact that they’ve said that neoconservatism, a movement well-known to host crypto-Trotskyite subversives was a part of the historic American Right even though it’s neither Right, American, or historic.

      The reality of the matter is that Donald Trump has no position on abortion and that is just not what his platform is about. Lots of pro-lifers like Rod Dreher (who is just another hipster trying to find his own way of being unique) say that this proves that Trump hasn’t thought much about the issue of abortion. They would be completely right because he’s not running as a deluded one-track mind pro-lifer, he’s running as a nationalistic populist focused on actual, real political issues. He’s leading the Middle American Revolution that was predicted a long time ago by Sam Francis and he doesn’t have time to waste on issues that he can’t do anything about.

      Abortion really needs to go as a political issue. I’m getting sick and tired of this crap, some Christians actually think that I shouldn’t vote DT because hasn’t proven his pro-life bonafides. It really is nothing but a way to signal virtue for these types (the same way signaling pro-choice is for the Left) and not about real issues. They’ve got to realize that Roe v Wade isn’t going to be repealed anytime soon and no President has the ability to do so. They just want another Reagan-type con man who’ll give lip service to the idea of a pro-life amendment while shilling for Big Business and letting things like amnesty pass through. Oh, and giving the neoconservatives a foot in the door and completely take over.

      The only way abortion will end is the same way abortion and infanticide ended in Ancient Rome: the cultural mindset has to change via a spiritual awakening and the widespread adoption (or in this case, readoption) of Christianity. And until the pro-lifers focus on that instead of being as much of a pestilence as their left-wing counterparts by injecting their monomaniacal obsession into everything (like the MAR), they’ll never get to that point.

      • It’s sad that we’ve come to a place where being an honorable man is no longer a prerequisite for being a freely chosen leader. I agree with Epictetus that a person such as Trump, being an adulterer, is “a wolf or an ape instead of a man.” I’ll let Epictetus explain:

        [I]f we abandon this fidelity to which we are by nature born, and make designs against our neighbour’s wife, what are we doing? Why, what but ruining and destroying? Whom? The man of fidelity, of self-respect, of piety. Is that all? Are we not overthrowing also neighbourly feeling, friendship, the state? In what position are we placing ourselves? As what am I to treat you, fellow? As a neighbour, as a friend? Of what kind? As a citizen? What confidence am I to place in you? If you were a vessel so cracked that it was impossible to use you for anything, you would be cast forth upon the dunghills and even from there no one would pick you up; but if, although a man, you cannot fill a man’s place, what are we going to do with you? For, assuming that you cannot hold the place of a friend, can you hold that of a slave? And who is going to trust you? Are you not willing, therefore, that you too should be cast forth upon some dunghill as a useless vessel, as a piece of dung? (The Discourses of Epictetus, Book 2, Chapter 4)

      • Svar:

        What is desired is not so much another attack on Trump. Rather, some justification must be cooked up for how ‘No-Compromise’ Cruz can take the compromise position concocted by ‘conservatives’ on the basis of expediency.

      • “the cultural mindset has to change via a spiritual awakening, and the widespread adoption (…) of Christianity.”

        Hence the *more pressing need* to stop cultural suicide via immigration/open bordersism. If it isn’t already too late.

        George Washington once wrote of the “indescribable regret” he felt at witnessing the youth of this country migrating to foreign countries to study the “higher branches of erudition”; that his greatest concern was that they would “adopt maxims not congenial with republicanism” and carry them back to this country on their return.

        Aside from the question of whether republicanism is a suitable form of government, Washington’s point still rings true in the opposite direction – our concern ought to be that we are (and have been for decades) bringing in incompatibles who have long since adopted principles (an established – meaning it ain’t gonna magically change on arrival in America – world and life view) not congenial with our way of life.

        How do you get Roe v. Wade, gay “marriage,” etc.? Well, first you need an unaccountable Court that ignores its constitution; second you need a population that will accept such usurpations of power. Not necessarily in that order. If you don’t have the latter, then you manufacture it via unrestricted immigration. Essentially the same way the North appropriated enough soldiers to win the war.

      • Nilakantha, it is sad, but I’m afraid that it’s the reality now. We don’t have the privilege of having honorable men as candidates for our high offices. One would think that in a nation of 300+ million people, we’d have some pretty stellar folks. They must exist — no, they do exist — but they are not positioned to run for (higher) office or they refuse to get involved. Can you blame them, really? Is the republic, as it is, worth ruining your life and disrupting your family’s life? Well, every soldier answers yes to that question, but should they? I have had the pleasure to know many cadets and midshipmen at the service academies — wonderful guys (and gals, to be honest). I respect and admire them, but secretly, I wonder whether they are dedicating their life to something that deserves their sacrifice. It angers me to consider such beautiful souls becoming fodder for an unworthy monster to chew and swallow. But, then, I remember that there is still much good in America, and these young officers and future officers are living out their calling in the best way that they can. No one lives in an ideal regime, and yet we must work for the common good in the dirty muck of our ignorant society, in this fallen world. We hardly ever get to choose anything but the lesser of two (three, four . . .) evils. Trump appears to me to be that lesser evil. Calvin Coolidge has been long dead, and the last Democratic presidential candidate for whom I would have voted was Grover Cleveland. Among the living, I would rather have had Buchanan, but that boat shipped long ago. So, Trump is it, for now, for me.

      • “It angers me to consider such beautiful souls becoming fodder for an unworthy monster to chew and swallow.”

        I wouldn’t worry myself too much with that. In the first place, these youngsters don’t have lives and families yet to ruin for the sake of the ‘Republic’; and in the second, they’re not all saints entering the military academies for purely altruistic/patriotic reasons. I grant that some of them do, and of those who do, they will figure it out soon enough for experience is the best teacher.

        But the reality is that many of them (perhaps even most of them) are not patriotic in the only sense in which I believe the term has any relevance to saving the country. I.e., in the sense that it means honoring one’s oath to defend the constitution against domestic enemies as well as foreign; of maintaining the country’s laws and institutions *in purity and vigor*.

      • Joseph A. If Buchanan were running I, too, would support him. However, I can’t support Trump. Decades ago I left the Church over the seeming ubiquity of degenerate priests and monks, and, to be honest, I will not support a sexual degenerate to be our leader even to save the nation.

      • “It’s sad that we’ve come to a place where being an honorable man is no longer a prerequisite for being a freely chosen leader. I agree with Epictetus that a person such as Trump, being an adulterer, is “a wolf or an ape instead of a man.” I’ll let Epictetus explain:”

        What are you going on about? Have you ever heard of Thomas Jefferson (Sally Hemings, calling John Adams a hermaphrodite) or Andrew Jackson (cursing alot and being very vulgar)?

        I’m sorry that Trump makes you want to clutch your pearls and faint but we have no time to worry about your unrealistic standards. Let’s see how much of a gentleman you are when some crazed Hajji has a knife at your throat.

        Conservatives are starting to become a liability.

      • ““the cultural mindset has to change via a spiritual awakening, and the widespread adoption (…) of Christianity.”

        Hence the *more pressing need* to stop cultural suicide via immigration/open bordersism. If it isn’t already too late.”

        ^^^ This guy gets it.

        Right now, the ONLY issue is what Terry just said. That is not the main issue, or merely an important issue, it’s the only issue. Culture War issues are going to have to go on the back burner for now since the real clash of cultures is occurring via mass immigration and the disproportionate and deleterious prominence of certain groups such as the Jews in American political, financial, cultural, intellectual, and even spiritual life and the Mormons in the NSA (pro-tip: if your hard drive ever gets screwed up, just go visit the Temple in Salt Lake and ask for a back up), FBI, and CIA.

        At this point, if any politician tries to bring up abortion or gay marriage, he is trying to manipulate you into forgetting about the streams of foreign hordes washing up on these shores. Ted Cruz is a prime example of this.

      • Svar

        To be a conservative, I would have to believe that there was something worth conserving in our present crepuscular iteration of “civilization.” I don’t, and therefore it is simply false to name me a conservative. Our society is deformed and must be radically reformed in accord with its original “form.” In this battle for reformation, this “undeclared war of unnatural people against those in accordance with nature, or of the drunk against the sober,” as Simplicius puts it, we must reform both the state and the citizen for, as we know from Plato:

        “The same castes (Gr. genos, Skr. jâti), equal in number are to be found in the city and in the soul (or self) of each of us”; the principle of justice is the same throughout, viz. That each member of the community should perform the tasks for which he is fitted by nature; and the establishment of justice and well being of the whole in each case depends upon the answer to the question, Which shall rule, the better or the worse, a single Reason and Common Law or the multitude of moneyed men in the outer city and of desires in the individual (Republic, 441, etc.). (Coomaraswamy, What is Civilization?”)

        Even though each individual soldier in this battle has sworn fealty to his Lord and is honor-bound to fight, we’re not promised victory, and so “our concern is with the task and not with its reward; our business is to be sure that in any conflict we are on the side of Justice.” (Coomaraswamy, What is Civilization?”)

  13. The preaching of the wages of sin and the reality of Hell upsets people. Modern religion deals with this upset in the same way Kierkegaard’s Swedish priest does: It is related of a Swedish priest that, profoundly disturbed by the sight of the effect his address produced upon the
    auditors, who where dissolved in tears, he said soothingly, “Children, do not weep the whole thing might be a lie.”

    • Kierkegaard corrected: It is related of a Swedish priest that, profoundly disturbed by the sight of the effect his address produced upon the auditors, who were dissolved in tears, he said soothingly, “Children, do not weep the whole thing might be a lie.”

  14. What of the consenting would-have-been fathers? The aggregate guilt amongst this class of males over the last 40 plus years must be legion.

    • Yes. Whoever executed or paid for the contract is guilty of the hit.

      So likewise are the legitimators, guarantors and enforcers of such contracts: the officers of the state. Who exculpates an act eats its moral fruits.

      • It seems we are so far past such a general guilt that a legitimately civilized reckoning which wasn’t simply a final self-immolation is near impossible. Aren’t we only now working mostly with a mass repentance of some sort? The idea of punishment for murder on such a broad scale across almost all demographics, both male and female, seems inconceivable and to be put in the hands of whom? Who can we conceive of as legitimately enforcing this collective punishment?
        If you see abortion as first an act of self-annihilation, ie., a female literally kills a part of herself, then is there not in the subsequent murder, an inherently self-inflicted punishment that one simply cannot heal? Isn’t an act of self-annihilation inherently an act of self-inflicted punishment NO
        MATTER how the radical liberationists try to paint abortion as freedom?

      • Obviously, sin is always, in part, self-punishing. When you sin, in part you sin, always, against yourself. This isn’t relevant, though. When somebody murders you, I still want him put in prison. Even though he also murders himself when he murders you.

      • Yes, Dr. Bill…

        But given the totality of the crime across the general population and the near impossibility of a just reckoning that was not just a final self-immolation, what is your suggestion for the punishment of murder as it relates to females (and males) who consented to an abortion both pre and post Roe vs Wade?

        I am suggesting that the appropriate punishment for females is now fixed (self-inflicted) and only trending to be more psychologically damning (only to be made more acutely aware of this self-inflicted punishment) given any mass conversion to an anti-abortion society. So for us, to the extent that we attempt to hold accountable those females who have consented to an abortion is to the extent that we make them truthfully aware of their inward act of self-annihilation.

      • Well, what Trump was asked to consider is what punishment women should receive in a society which has illegal abortion. My answer to that is that the woman should be punished significantly more severely than a run-of-the-mill murderer. Murdering your own children involves not just murder but murder of a life you have a particularly strong obligation to protect. It is an act of indescribable vileness.

        The problem goes beyond abortion, of course. Women who murder their own children often receive absurd leniency.

        It’s not that interesting to ask what we should do today in this society. America is Satanic, and we are not going to be in charge any time soon.

        In a decent society, in a society therefore nothing like contemporary America, women who murder their children would receive terrible punishments.

      • I know where you’re coming from Dr Bill, though I don’t believe abortion should carry the same legal penalty as murder, though the doctors deserve worse. The knee jerk defense from other women is often disgusting.
        About 15 years ago there was was a case where a mentally ill woman drowned several of her children, believing they were possessed by demons. The reaction from female talking-heads was just weird. One actually said that she was simply trying to defend her children and that’s what all good mothers do. There was also a call for better treatment of post partum depression (take note ladies: no matter how sad you are you don’t have an excuse to kill someone). It honestly made me want to vomit.
        Now, the woman in question very obviously was mentally ill and needed therapy not punishment, but she was all but treated like a hero by every woman in the media, including the “conservative” woman on Fox (why are they all lawyers for some reason? It’d be better just to be honest and openly hire strippers, but I digress). It made me physically ill.

      • I recall the case. Mental illness does not magically dispel guilt. She plainly did not meet the legal definition of insanity. She knew what she was doing. She knew that what she was doing was illegal. She knew that, in general, killing your children was wrong. She just decided to ignore all this because she desired the good consequences she thought would flow from killing her children. This is practically a textbook case of a culpable murderer. The fact that her theory of how the good consequences would flow was pretty goofy isn’t even relevant as far as I can see.

      • Here is an simple test of whether someone is insane yet culpable, or insane and not culpable — does she (*) try to hide what she (*) did?

        (*) that’s me mocking “gender-inclusive language”

  15. “Even when the Law still recognized that abortion is murder, women who aborted were not generally treated as murderers simpliciter.”

    That would be because, in the old times, abortions were a type of honour killing, and so, as with other categories of honour violence (e.g. the defense of provocation), authorities were ready to diminish responsibility.

    All that’s old stuff now. Murder is murder. We no longer diminish responsibility e.g. in the case of a cuckold who in a fit of wounded pride kills his faithless wife and/or her seducer, and we shouldn’t do it in the case of an expecting mother who slaughters her unborn child in the womb.

    That having been said, right now the chances of treating abortion at law for what it is are about as good as mine of being invited to high tea with the Queen. We ought, for the time being, to treat abortion violence as a public-health epidemic and deal with it accordingly: attempt to reduce the incidence by using the police power of the State to limit access to the means. Once we’ve reduced demand, we can hopefully criminalize it altogether and then, if all goes well, enact appropriate criminal pains i.e. 25-to-life for *each count*.

    • “That would be because, in the old times, abortions were a type of honor killing …”

      D.S., that’s interesting for me since I’ve never seen that explanation before. In what way(s) were abortions considered a type of honor killing in old times? Do you mean, e.g., as in a father forcing abortion on his sexually active, unwed dependent daughter, stuff like that?

    • “All that’s old stuff now. Murder is murder. We no longer diminish responsibility e.g. in the case of a cuckold who in a fit of wounded pride kills his faithless wife and/or her seducer”

      And why is that? This was legal as recently as the 70’s and was made illegal with the liberalization of society.

      It’s not murder if it is justified. You’re not one of those pro-lifers who think that the death penalty is wrong are you?

  16. Part VI of Roe versus Wade — which is posted in its entirety at https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/410/113 — is a review of the history of abortion law. Section 3 of that part is headed “The common law” and begins as follows:

    “It is undisputed that, at common law, abortion performed before ‘quickening’ – the first recognizable movement of the fetus in utero, appearing usually from the 16th to the 18th week of pregnancy – was not an indictable offense.”

    Headed “The English statutory law” and “The American law,” Sections 4 and 5 of Part VI review Nineteenth Century English and American statutes that marked the beginning of abortion law of the kind that Roe versus Wade invalidated.

    A March 2016 Guttmacher Institute post at https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-united-states provides data on abortions in the U.S. and includes a pie chart that indicates the following:

    33.3% are performed within the first seven weeks of pregnancy;
    29.9% in weeks seven to eight;
    25.7% in weeks nine to twelve; and
    6.2% in weeks thirteen to fifteen.

    Total = 95% within first fifteen weeks.

    It would seem, in short — unless I’m completely misunderstanding this information — that 95% of present American abortions are of a kind that was legal in England, as well as in colonial and early America, up to the Nineteenth Century.

    • John, the same was true of the ancient Israelites. Once upon a time, there was no way to tell whether a fetus was alive until it moved. Quickening — as in the quick (living) and the dead. The West followed this understanding through the Middle Ages and into the modern period. Now, however, we know better (a statement quite rare among our folks — but it’s true in certain fields). Human life — and movement! — begin before the mother can feel the baby — namely, at conception. So, given the principle underlying the laws of our ancestors — outlawing the killing of a living innocent unborn child — abortions would have been illegal. Improvements in our biological knowledge have changed the minor premise only.

    • If you’re really interested in the history of abortion law, I would suggest THE CRIMINALIZATION OF ABORTION IN THE WEST: Its Origins in Medieval Law by Wolfgang P. Müller. The most interesting point is that the law changed to reflect the then current metaphysical/religious ideas about the status of the unborn. The present confusion about abortion law comes from our unwillingness to think seriously about metaphysics. If we did think seriously about the issue, we would have to agree that a person begins this life at conception. If the form of man is not present at the beginning, no man could ever come into being.

      • If the form of man is not present at the beginning, no man could ever come into being.

        Thank you, Nilakantha. This boils the whole abortion debate down to its metaphysical basis, and cuts through all the blather at a stroke. It is striking that once you get clear on metaphysical terms, the moral confusions tend then to clear up without further ado. I am reminded of Iris Murdoch’s Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals, which I read a few years ago.

  17. Terry Morris wrote:

    “In what way(s) were abortions considered a type of honor killing in old times? Do you mean, e.g., as in a father forcing abortion on his sexually active, unwed dependent daughter, stuff like that?”

    Yes, exactly.

    Svar wrote:

    “It’s not murder if it is justified. You’re not one of those pro-lifers who think that the death penalty is wrong are you?”

    I think that private individuals may justifiably kill only in immediate self-defense, with vengeance reserved to the whole community. This doesn’t rule out the legitimacy of the death penalty, although I personally am in favour of life imprisonment since this makes it possible to at least partially reverse the grave injustice of false conviction.

    With respect to home-wreckers: I wouldn’t be choked up with indignation if the police used their discretion to decide not to press charges against a guy who subjected his home-wrecker to a moderate physical beating, but I can’t endorse homicide in such a case. A man’s home is his rightful castle, but not his kingdom.

    • “With respect to home-wreckers: I wouldn’t be choked up with indignation if the police used their discretion to decide not to press charges against a guy who subjected his home-wrecker to a moderate physical beating, but I can’t endorse homicide in such a case. A man’s home is his rightful castle, but not his kingdom.”

      That was the old law, that it didn’t count as murder.

      I don’t care about “homicide”, homicide means killing a human. Killing isn’t the same thing as ,murder and I could care less about killing groups of people who wreck the social and national fabric. Enough is enough, compassion has it’s limits.

      “This doesn’t rule out the legitimacy of the death penalty, although I personally am in favour of life imprisonment since this makes it possible to at least partially reverse the grave injustice of false conviction.”

      I wouldn’t mind getting rid of the prison system and replace it with fines, corporal punishment, the death penalty, exile and forced slavery in Alaska. But I am for the death penalty as a way to send a message to segments of society who need to be put in line.

  18. Svar wrote:

    “I don’t care about “homicide”, homicide means killing a human. Killing isn’t the same thing as ,murder and I could care less about killing groups of people who wreck the social and national fabric. Enough is enough, compassion has it’s limits.”

    I agree. When I said that I can’t endorse homicide, I was thinking of private justice, of duels and vendettas and the like, and not legal punishments executed under a regular administration of justice. Private justice is radically incompatible with good order, and in my view, and for that reason, can’t be justified outside of a dramatic collapse of public authority along the lines of the Hobbesian “state of Nature”.

    There is certainly a legitimate case to be made for hanging the enemies of society. For my part, I think of life imprisonment as functionally equivalent to the death penalty in that both involve forfeiture of the offender’s life to the State, and therefore both are types of capital punishment.

  19. On a side note, what are the chances of this site switching over to disqus? Keeping track of replies is a bit frustrating.

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