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Author Topic: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?  (Read 1713 times)

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Online InkiduTopic starter

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Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« on: June 18, 2012, 10:12:49 PM »
So, I'm not a very political person anymore. I find I don't have much time to care about all the hot air going back and forth. I still pay attention, however. Anyway, my state just passed a law that makes it  a double murder to kill a woman with an unborn child (at least first trimester, that's the basis). Well, I have no sympathy for the man who killed his own child and mother.

I can't shake the feeling though that it's a bit of a double standard. If someone kills an unborn child it's murder, but the mother can go to a clinic with no other qualification than that it's hers and get it killed. Now, I don't know how I really feel. I feel that it's a waste of precious potential to kill an unborn child, I do think there are mitigating circumstances (Health of the mother, for example. I'm iffy on rape. I understand the pain, but the child did nothing wrong).

I also believe that the husband has say, the ultimate decision might be the mother's but any decent father has half the say. So I guess my belief is that it shouldn't be a decision made easily or for convenience.

I just can't shake the fact that it does present a double standard. It's murder unless the mother wants it? :\ 

Sorry, I edited it for clarification.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 10:43:11 PM by Inkidu »

Offline Shjade

Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2012, 10:33:03 PM »
I'm reasonably sure it's murder to kill a woman regardless of whether she's pregnant at the time, Inkidu. Unless your State is waaay behind the times. ;p

More seriously, it's a double standard or not a double standard depending on how you interpret a fetus in terms of its being an independent living thing. Basically, if you see a fetus as a person, it's a double standard; if you don't, then it isn't. Why not? Because if it's an object, it's no different from how vandalism works: you own something and you decide you want to mess it up, no problem; you own something and someone else decides they want to mess it up, that's vandalism. Question of ownership rights.

So it comes down to whether or not you consider a mother the "owner" of her unborn progeny, more or less. If you do, there's no problem. If you don't, then it's more difficult.

Online InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2012, 10:44:56 PM »
I'm reasonably sure it's murder to kill a woman regardless of whether she's pregnant at the time, Inkidu. Unless your State is waaay behind the times. ;p

More seriously, it's a double standard or not a double standard depending on how you interpret a fetus in terms of its being an independent living thing. Basically, if you see a fetus as a person, it's a double standard; if you don't, then it isn't. Why not? Because if it's an object, it's no different from how vandalism works: you own something and you decide you want to mess it up, no problem; you own something and someone else decides they want to mess it up, that's vandalism. Question of ownership rights.

So it comes down to whether or not you consider a mother the "owner" of her unborn progeny, more or less. If you do, there's no problem. If you don't, then it's more difficult.
Well, the obvious answer to that is the state considers it a person if the mother is murdered (and I'd have to look up our abortion laws to be certain) but the case could very well be that if she's the one who gets the abortion then it's an object. Hence, why I'm feeling that it's a double standard. I'm feeling that you can't have both.

Offline Occident

Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2012, 03:26:59 AM »
Depends. Does your state have laws saying that the father can have full custody for the child if the mother wishes for an abortion? Or do they still have to pay child support if they don't want the child?

Offline Caitlin

Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2012, 07:17:49 AM »
In my opinion it would be murder after the term for abortion passed. That way you would prevent the double standard altogether. Say a pregnant woman would get killed when she's 8 or 9 months pregnant, the baby, though not fully grown, could actually sustain its own life the doctors still decide to deliver it. If the fetus is only 2 - 3 months old then it'd be too young to be life sustainable on its own if it'd get born prematurely.

For the record, of course I'm disguted by any kind of murder, but even more so when it involves pregnant women, or children. I also don't know what the law is like in my own country regarding this subject. I think somebody can be trialed for murder if they attack a pregnant woman's belly after the abortion term, but I'm not sure about that. In general criminals get away with a very light sentence here anyway. :-/
(Though to be fair, the past year public cases had more just sentences.)

Online InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2012, 07:47:11 AM »
Quote
Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion   Willfully administers by drug, substance, instrument which induces abortion or miscarriage. Partial Birth Abortion (26-23-1 to 26-23-6): Any physician who performs a partial birth abortion within this state and thereby kills a human fetus shall be guilty of a Class C felony and upon conviction shall be punished as prescribed by law. (except to save life of mother.)

Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion   Necessary purpose to preserve life, health of mother or where fetus is not viable
Penalty for Unlawful Abortion   Fine of $100 to $1,000 and imprisonment to 12 months; abortion of viable fetus: Class A felony; violation of regulations concerning abortion procedures: Class C felony

Consent Requirements   Written consent of parent or guardian to perform abortion on unemancipated minor or judicial waiver of consent

Residency Requirements for Patients   -

Physician Licensing Requirements   Abortion of viable fetus must be performed by a physician, in a hospital, with concurrence of 2nd licensed physician as to viability.

Actually, in my state it seems pretty illegal outright, I don't know what the numbers in parentheses mean, but I think it has to do with term of pregnancy. However, if a state were to pass a double-murder law like mine and allow legal abortions (if they consider the death of any unborn entity
murder also). Then the double standard exists. I don't know if any such situation might actually exist, but it bothers me that it might.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2012, 08:26:36 AM »
There is not much of a double standard and the law doesn't say that it says the mother may get an abortion if her life is in danger or the child is not viable (died inside her or will not survive to term) that requiring being in a hospital and supported by a second doctors opinion. That is quite clear if its done under the legal abortion consideration its to save the life that is here a pretty classic acceptable consideration in most cases even if its unfortunate to have to be considered.

And it doesn't say its murder they say its a certain set of felonies to break parts of the law, I don't see murder listed as a charge.

Online InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2012, 08:35:06 AM »
There is not much of a double standard and the law doesn't say that it says the mother may get an abortion if her life is in danger or the child is not viable (died inside her or will not survive to term) that requiring being in a hospital and supported by a second doctors opinion. That is quite clear if its done under the legal abortion consideration its to save the life that is here a pretty classic acceptable consideration in most cases even if its unfortunate to have to be considered.

And it doesn't say its murder they say its a certain set of felonies to break parts of the law, I don't see murder listed as a charge.
I have a feeling you missed something. Let me clarify first.

These laws posted above are the abortion laws. They're what's on the books as far as what a woman or parent/guardian is allowed to do in terms of aborting an unborn entity.

There is a new law on the books, and this man is the first tried under it, that says that killing a pregnant woman who then loses the unborn entity at any given time in the gestation really (I think they said she was four or eight weeks), is a double capital homicide. They're two separate sets of laws that happen to intersect.

I'm not saying it's a double standard in my own state. I'm quite happy that they only allow abortions for those reasons, and am more comfortable with the double-murder law as long as my state isn't being hypocritical.

Where I have my doubts is that there are states in the union that do allow a woman to get an abortion by her own prerogative. No health concerns or what have you. If those states were to pass or also had laws like mine just adopted that strikes me as a very big double standard. It's murder if someone else does it, but legally okay if the mother does it just because she decides to. That's my problem.   

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2012, 08:44:22 AM »
Actually, in my state it seems pretty illegal outright, I don't know what the numbers in parentheses mean, but I think it has to do with term of pregnancy. However, if a state were to pass a double-murder law like mine and allow legal abortions (if they consider the death of any unborn entity
murder also). Then the double standard exists. I don't know if any such situation might actually exist, but it bothers me that it might.

It's more likely that one law is older than the other and the newer law shoehorns in the conflict through the poorly worded language and ill considered implications. There are a LOT of things like that popping up in the last year or so. 'Personhood' amendments make it quite possible to prosecute the mother for murder if she miscarries and has a history of 'hazardous' behavior. A lot of that is due to the openness of the language in the laws. There seems to be a shift in the burden of proof too, in my eyes from what I'm reading. You get a lot of fundementalist backed laws to 'short circuit' abortion laws and conditions, without considering the full implacations of the language they use.

My mother had 3 early miscarriages and I know two coworkers who suffered from them as well. Now, given some of the laws on the books my mom could have been in trouble during one, since she was taking a high level chemistry course for school at the time, and I know my coworkers would have gotten in trouble for a variety of reasons. They worked in a radiation hazard area (we worked on radar), around hazardous chemicals (MEK, Trike, and a lot of other nasty chemicals) and in as aircrewmen had a reputation for hard parting and mischief.

Now, this isn't the INTENT of the laws being put up.. but the possibility of some DA jumping on a woman with a history of drinking, smoking, drugs, hazardous work environments, and other issues is possible.

A lot of the issues you bring up come from a change in language and outlook over the years without considering the implications of what was passed and what is already in place. This is what happens when you try to back door your morality and moral outlook into law, you leave openings for abuse.

(Not saying you PERSONALLY Inkidu.. saying You in reference to the people doing it. It wasn't meant as a bash on you personally.)

Personally.. Abortion is a massive issue.. and a personal one. I think, particularly after what my mom told me about the practices before Roe vs. Wade, that certain amount of flexibility to let individuals think things through. Personally? I can't conceive of having an abortion with a woman EXCEPT in conditions that threaten her heath BUT to say I know best for everyone? That is an amount of hubris I can't imagine. I think it would require the wisdom of Solomon himself to balance the issues.


Online InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2012, 08:54:29 AM »
Well, that tends to be the nature of law itself. It only get trickier with said issue, but like I said, at least my state doesn't seem to be making a hypocrite out of itself with the two laws. I've said before, I understand abortion for certain reasons, but my main worry is a lot of states setting up double standards. I'll have to think on the whole hazardous lifestyle issue. It's tricky. There are laws for negligence... but how far does that extend. Parents are supposed to be mindful of their children. *sigh* I don't know, guess I'll take it an issue at a time. 

Offline vtboy

Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2012, 09:45:01 AM »
There is obviously a double standard, but it is a rational and legally justifiable one.

Murder requires a dead person. Personhood is a legal status conferred, for most purposes, by state law. A state may, if it chooses, confer personhood on a potted plant.

The reason abortion cannot be prosecuted as murder is not because the constitution bars states from conferring personhood on fetuses, but because it recognizes a competing right in women to control their own bodies. Under Roe, the woman's interest in control of her body trumps the state' s interest in protecting the fetus until ex utero viability. Thus, the woman' s constitutional right to choose is the product of balancing competing interests.

Since there is no competing interest on the part of the mother where a 3rd party kills the fetus, there is no constitutional bar to the state's prosecution of the act as murder.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2012, 10:13:49 AM by vtboy »

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2012, 10:49:25 AM »
Vtboy has it right. The reason abortion is not murder is because it is the right of a woman to choose whether or not she will carry a fetus to term. In the case of a pregnant woman being killed, the woman does not get to make the choice - it is taken from her by the person who killed her and thus the fetus. It is that removal of the woman’s choice that allows the state to prosecute for two murders.

As for prosecuting a woman for miscarrying - I never want to see something like this come into play. It is traumatic enough to lose a pregnancy without adding in the state investigating to find out if there was some form of negligence [based on their definition] that caused the miscarriage. Trust and believe it is part of the grieving process for a woman to question her every action to see if she is to blame for the miscarriage. We do not need the state doing it as well with the threat of prosecution if they decide it was the woman’s fault.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2012, 11:01:07 AM »
Vtboy has it right. The reason abortion is not murder is because it is the right of a woman to choose whether or not she will carry a fetus to term. In the case of a pregnant woman being killed, the woman does not get to make the choice - it is taken from her by the person who killed her and thus the fetus. It is that removal of the woman’s choice that allows the state to prosecute for two murders.

As for prosecuting a woman for miscarrying - I never want to see something like this come into play. It is traumatic enough to lose a pregnancy without adding in the state investigating to find out if there was some form of negligence [based on their definition] that caused the miscarriage. Trust and believe it is part of the grieving process for a woman to question her every action to see if she is to blame for the miscarriage. We do not need the state doing it as well with the threat of prosecution if they decide it was the woman’s fault.

It's already begun..

Here
Guardian Article on it

Surprisingly or not.. there is little to no commentary within the US on these cases.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2012, 11:19:47 AM »
I feel sick after reading those two articles.

All I can say is I am so thankful that there was no such thing when I miscarried at 18 years old. My lifestyle (lived with a drug addict, did not eat regular meals, etc) at the time would have been held against me as the cause of the miscarriage even though it was learned a year later that I physically have a very hard time carrying to term (which caused me to spend both of my subsequent pregnancies on bed rest and medication to stop preterm labor from roughly 20 weeks till birth at 35 weeks with my son and 36 weeks with my daughter).

Offline vtboy

Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2012, 12:35:38 PM »
It's already begun..

Here
Guardian Article on it

Surprisingly or not.. there is little to no commentary within the US on these cases.

The two cases cited in the article involved miscarriages at 33 and 36 weeks, both past the Roe viability demarcation. Thus, there would have been no constitutional right to abort in either case and no bar to prosecution of the mother for some variant of homicide.

That said, laws permitting this sort of prosecution are monstrous, and serve only as a barometer of the diminution of our population's capacity for proportionality, empathy, and compassion. Decency has become a burnt offering on the culture war altar.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2012, 03:30:57 PM »
The two cases cited in the article involved miscarriages at 33 and 36 weeks, both past the Roe viability demarcation. Thus, there would have been no constitutional right to abort in either case and no bar to prosecution of the mother for some variant of homicide.

That said, laws permitting this sort of prosecution are monstrous, and serve only as a barometer of the diminution of our population's capacity for proportionality, empathy, and compassion. Decency has become a burnt offering on the culture war altar.

If you're saying those poor ladies met with an Asshat of a DA? Yeah.. definitely. I can't believe you can have such an evil on the books. I know three women whose miscarriages put them straight into counseling. Definitely on the list of 'why the DA should go to hell' if you ask me.

Offline vtboy

Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2012, 04:31:31 PM »
If you're saying those poor ladies met with an Asshat of a DA? Yeah.. definitely. I can't believe you can have such an evil on the books. I know three women whose miscarriages put them straight into counseling. Definitely on the list of 'why the DA should go to hell' if you ask me.

You're right. On re-reading the Guardian article, it seems these are perverse applications by self-righteous, militant DAs of laws enacted for other purposes. I suspect, though, that it there are not yet homicide laws which explicitly target women who are endagering the unborn with poor lifestyle choices, it will not be long before we see them. 

Here, though, is an interesting issue that may come up under such a fetal protection law: mom does illegal drugs during the first trimester of her pregnancy, during which period she enjoys an unfettered right to abort; though she then stops, the baby is born at term severely damaged as a consequence of mom's early bad conduct.

Can mom be prosecuted even though the injurious conduct occurred at a time when she had a near absolute right to terminate the pregnancy?

The right to abort is based on recognition of mom's protected interest in control of her reproductive organs. However, that is not the interest at issue here, as mom presumably was not attempting to abort the pregnancy by taking drugs. And, of course, no one has a right to take illicit drugs, pregnant or not.

Perhaps, even though the state cannot interfere with mom's right to abort prior to fetal viability, it is entitled to insist that, if a woman decides to carry a fetus to term, she must take reasonable steps to protect its health, even during the period in which she would be entitled to terminate the pregnancy. Of course, this sort of retroactive imposition of criminal consequences might induce pregnant women who have engaged in risky behavior to opt for abortions rather than choose, as our hypothetical mom did, to stop engaging in the behavior and roll the dice on having the child. I suspect such a result, though, would be directly contrary to the goals of legislators who might enact such a statute.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2012, 04:37:27 PM by vtboy »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2012, 04:46:25 PM »
Didn't really want to jump in here, but as for the 'engaging in risky behavior' bit:

I was completely unaware that I was pregnant until I was actually in the second trimester.  Mind you, I didn't have any risky lifestyle acts to contend with (I don't smoke, don't drink much, don't do illicit drugs at all - about the only behavior I 'had' to give up was coffee), but legislation that punishes mothers for acts that they commit while unaware of their pregnancy strike me as difficult to legislate fairly.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2012, 05:14:16 PM »
Didn't really want to jump in here, but as for the 'engaging in risky behavior' bit:

I was completely unaware that I was pregnant until I was actually in the second trimester.  Mind you, I didn't have any risky lifestyle acts to contend with (I don't smoke, don't drink much, don't do illicit drugs at all - about the only behavior I 'had' to give up was coffee), but legislation that punishes mothers for acts that they commit while unaware of their pregnancy strike me as difficult to legislate fairly.

Not only that.. but you can't say you're serving ANYONES interest prosecuting an emotionally fragile recovering suicide or a woman who HAD used drugs.. In the one case the medical examiner found not relation of drug use to infant death and in the other.. what .. the.. hell. Did the DA want to drive the woman to try and kill herself again?

Online InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2012, 06:06:55 PM »
There is obviously a double standard, but it is a rational and legally justifiable one.

Murder requires a dead person. Personhood is a legal status conferred, for most purposes, by state law. A state may, if it chooses, confer personhood on a potted plant.

The reason abortion cannot be prosecuted as murder is not because the constitution bars states from conferring personhood on fetuses, but because it recognizes a competing right in women to control their own bodies. Under Roe, the woman's interest in control of her body trumps the state' s interest in protecting the fetus until ex utero viability. Thus, the woman' s constitutional right to choose is the product of balancing competing interests.

Since there is no competing interest on the part of the mother where a 3rd party kills the fetus, there is no constitutional bar to the state's prosecution of the act as murder.
I suppose that's what it is. :\

Offline vtboy

Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2012, 06:57:40 PM »
Didn't really want to jump in here, but as for the 'engaging in risky behavior' bit:

I was completely unaware that I was pregnant until I was actually in the second trimester.  Mind you, I didn't have any risky lifestyle acts to contend with (I don't smoke, don't drink much, don't do illicit drugs at all - about the only behavior I 'had' to give up was coffee), but legislation that punishes mothers for acts that they commit while unaware of their pregnancy strike me as difficult to legislate fairly.

To be clear, I wasn't advocating such laws, just noting the possibility they might produce results diametrically opposed to the ones their drafters intend. The possibility they might also punish women for endangering fetal health before they are even aware they are pregnant is another good reason to scrap the idea.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Murder-Abortion, possible double standard?
« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2012, 09:44:30 PM »
I actually got that :-).  Just adding weight to the argument from 'one who could have been there'.  If I had been a drinker, smoker, drug addict, high-wire artist, or chemical worker, I could have gone through 3 (rather important) months of exposing my unborn to a 'dangerous environment' completely unknowing and unintentionally.