8 votes

Am I wrong on the federal government's role on abortion?

Lately I've been pondering the government's (specifically the federal government's) role in abortion and I wanted to get all your thoughts so I can better formulate my own thoughts on the subject.

I believe that abortion is murder and that it is wrong. I realize not everybody believes that, but that's not necessarily my question.

IF... abortion is murder, then why wouldn't the federal government make a law against it?

Now, I know what you're thinking, because one side of my brain is thinking it too.

"Murder is currently covered under state laws and abortion should be as well."

Yes, I agree. 10th amendment. I get it. So does this mean that if a state decided that euthanasia was ok, then the federal government should do nothing? This isn't a rhetorical question, I'm legitimately asking that? Is that how this works? Unlike euthanasia, an unborn child can't simply move to another state because they disagree with state law.

The second thing you're thinking:

"Laws don't prevent anything. Abortion will not stop and will become more dangerous."

Partially agree. I'll summon one of my favorite Ron Paul quotes for my take on this.

"Law reflects the morality of the people. Ultimately, law or no law, it is going to be up to us as parents, as clergy, and as citizens-in the way we raise our children, how we interact and talk with our friends and neighbors, and the good example we give - to bring about changes to our culture toward greater respect for life."

So yes, it is about the country's morality, not necessarily the laws that will prevent this from happening.

Your thoughts?

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"IF... abortion is murder,

"IF... abortion is murder, then why wouldn't the federal government make a law against it?"

The way it generally works is that states make criminal laws. If a citizen has been convicted by one of these laws, he can appeal his conviction through higher levels of state courts, then federal courts. If his case is overturned in higher court, most notably the Supreme Court, than the state which originated the conviction as well as other states with similar laws are put on notice that the law has been judged to infringe on constitutional protections.

In other words, the federal government does make the law, but federal courts watch-dog state laws for constitutional infringement.

Or abortion isn't federally legal in the sense that there is a federal law making it so. But in the sense that the SC decided state laws preventing abortion infringed on constitutional rights to privacy.

I believe Oregon did legalize assisted suicide while back. Not sure the status of that law. If a case made it to the SC and it was shot down, or if Oregon citizens overturned it, or if it is still legal.

The point is that challenges to state laws are usually initiated by effected citizens through the court system, rather than by lawmakers through the legislative process.

That may all be beside the point in your general quest to iron out your thoughts on abortion, but I think it's important to get the process by which these things are worked out firm in one's mind.

In some of the responses below, the issue of health of the mother came up and I just wanted to point out that the Roe decision did spell out that states were not out of line to limit abortions in the third trimester, unless the life or health of the mother were at risk. That health exception has by and large been interpreted to include mental health, which has made it tricky for states to limit third trimester abortions in a meaningful way.

On your question about results (laws won't stop abortion and could make them more dangerous for pregnant women), I'm always leery of reasoning that invokes results too early in the process. I'm not against taking into accounted presumed results at the tail end of decision making, but only at the end. If you take account of results as a foundation, you end up with pragmatic decisions that rarely give due to freedom and liberty. If that makes sense. In the short term, freedom and liberty are messy and inefficient and people suffer. So if we base our decision making on creating less suffering, more efficiency and so forth, we are at greater risk of those decisions limiting freedom. If that makes any better sense.

When it comes to defining abortion as murder, I think we'd be wise to parse the words so that we encompass where both sides of the debate are coming from. Everyone, pretty much, agrees that abortion is killing a life and a human life at that. The rub is whether the killing is justified, and therefore just killing; or unjustified and therefore murder.

it's important to recognize that cultures have moved the justification line around a lot. For example, in some Alaska Native cultures pre-contact, when a woman gave birth to twins, one twin was routinely left to die of exposure. The practice placed this deliberate death into the killing category as justified because experience had shaped the culture's morality. That experience was that many of the women, living on the edge physically, would not have enough reserves to nurse two babies and that often both babies and sometimes the mother would die if she attempted to care for and nurse twins. What we would see as murder, for them, was killing. Examples of this sort of slippery line between how we parse killing and murder abound.

Moving to our own time and society, we still see a lot of sliding around. Look at the cases involving Christian Science devotees, who believe medical intervention goes against God's will. When such parents don't take their children to doctors and the child dies, they've been charged with murder. Here society is wrestling with what level of intervention separates killing for murder.

We also wobble around when it comes to disparity of force. If a woman draws a gun and shoots and kills a threatening man, she's far less likely to be charged with a crime than a man who shoots and kills another threatening man. We parse the line between killing and murder by so many circumstances and they are somewhat vague. In some states, if someone breaks into your home and you have the ability to flee your home, you could well be charged with murder if you shoot the intruder. (You could have left, i.e. removed the threat in a less forceful way than shooting). In other states, no matter what ability you had to flee, you are justified in killing an intruder.

I guess I'm saying that we shouldn't pretend the line separating killing and murder is bright, thick, or straight in most areas. Let alone abortion, which presents a unique relationship between the killer and killed or murdered and murderer.

One shift in thinking that I think could help in the debate is to shift the frame so we're dealing directly with the effected parties -- here the pregnant woman and the fetus she carries. The fetus is threatening the pregnant woman. (Not usually her life, in which case most folks agree that she is justified in killing such a threat. But her life in the sense of taking over her body for several months and having a great impact for at least 18 years.) The relationship certainly involves a huge disparity of force; the pregnant woman having far more force than in any other such situation I can think of. The thrust of most of our laws and legal precedent requires the party with more force to mitigate accordingly. Seems to me that if we framed the discussion about whether we're going to consider abortion killing or murder this way, we'd be on a different path with different ways of approaching it. A path that recognizes women as full moral agents, as powerful. With that acknowledgement of power, I think we'd find a correlating sense of responsibility. My ramblings on the subject, anyway. Hope some of it helps.

SteveMT's picture

Premise: The role of government is to destroy the family.

Is this premise valid?


1. Prayer in schools, gone
2. One wage earner families, gone
3. Support fatherless one parent, multiple children families, enabled
4. Penalize marriage with the annual income tax marriage tax, continues
5. Government/Bank foreclosures ending single family home ownership, continues
6. Separating families, sometimes permanently, with wars of aggression, continues
7. Supplying easily obtainable drugs, continues
8. Government assuming leader role of the family by 99 week unemployment benefits, continues
9. Issuing Social Security #s soon after birth making babies property of the government, continues
10. Maintaining the largest prison populations in the world, continues
11. Allowing women, sometimes emancipated minors, to decide what is life and what is not.

A Few Suggestions ...

Premise: No state or federal constitution delegates any authority to regulate a family. (Unfortunately though for minarchists no state constitution expressly prohibits a state from regulating families which is the standard of state constitution construction erected by courts. Federal constitution construction = expressly delegated = ok. State constitution construction = not expressly prohibited = ok.)
Premise: States have enacted marriage registration schemes to establish jurisdictions for families.
Premise: States have enacted birth registration schemes to establish jurisdictions for posterity.
Premise: No state provides a full and honest disclosure of any bundle of rights surrendered during an act of registration, in whole or part, to secure any privileges granted by law.
Premise: The state has enacted all manner of legislation to position itself as pater familias and govern estates.
Premise: The federal political subdivision provides subsidizes for single parent households and states have agreed to federal terms in order to receive federal welfare monies.
Premise: The federal political subdivision has debased the dollar currency via the federal reserve system which has increased the cost of goods to a point where a low skilled single wage earning family is nearly impossible.
Premise: All men and women are not equal under the law when a state discriminates against men by providing protection subsidies to women, a protected class of person. Protected classes of persons are not equal to unprotected classes of persons.
Premise: All men and women are not equal under the law when a state discriminates against parents by providing protection subsidies to children, a protected class of person. Protected classes of persons are not equal to unprotected classes of persons.
Premise: States are benefactors of any public education curriculum determined by a state or influenced by state standards.
Premise: The moral example set by states is that killing and stealing are ethical provided one is cloaked in state authority, wearing a state uniform, or observing state decrees.

Perhaps I will think up a few more and add them later ...

Abortion is wrong, and it is murder

But nothing else you say follows logically nor legally.

Specifically, logically, the implied step you made that is incorrect, is that if something is wrong that there must be a law. I agree in this case, if we are have monopoly law at all, abortion is a good candidate, but this case must be made.

Specifically, legally, the step you made that is wrong is that the Federal government does not have any power in criminal matters, these are matters for the states. Yes I know they ignore this all the time, but all of the criminal law in the US is un-Constitutional and we should not condone nor copy that error.

Legally Roe is un-Consitutional and this matter, as a criminal matter of murder is up to the states to handle. Roe is the problem. Do not compound the problem, instead Roe needs to be undone. Yes I know, no easy task. But because the right thing to do is hard, does not justify us doing the wrong thing.

Morally is a harder case to sift out. Abortion is murder but the baby is creating an ethical contradiction since it depends for it's life on enslaving the woman for at least 9 months. I know you won't like it being put that way, but lets be honest about what this is. Yes usually the mother is complicit, if not rape, and yes it's only temporary. But we should accept the reality of the situation so when we argue against it we are on solid ground.

Threading this needle isn't something I want to be tasked with, but I do know this. If 50 states compete to find the right balance of protecting the baby and protecting the mother we are far more likely to close in on salutary solutions the the problem than some bonehead technocrats in DC.

Personally I think monopoly law is evil in itself. In a free society where people had to pay for the police services they wanted we would get the very best abortion law possible.

The problem is people can socialize the cost of their stupid ideas for laws (not saying abortion law is a stupid idea, but most laws ARE stupid) on others.

Just as socializing the cost of market protection for corporations with wars and regulatory regimes and license law and IP law is a problem.

Just as socializing the cost of being lazy onto others is a problem.

Great answer and well thought

Great answer and well thought out reply. You may have convinced me. Not confirmed yet, but close. Thanks again. I like this a lot

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. -Thomas Jefferson

And it is understadable

if you think that, given Roe, the stakes have been raised and Federal is the battlefield like it or not.

I would be very sad if you concluded that, but it is not an unreasonable position. I would be sad because this is exactly the sort of compromise that got us to this point.

At a minimum I hope you will at least understand why we think the way we do. Even if sometimes people don't articulate it well. We don't want babies to die, but the solutions proposed are all wroth with their own evils.

We are moral allies regardless, I hope, and I do not attack principled anti-abortionists any more then I attack principled pro-choicers, unless attacked myself or unless they rudely attack each other.


Your point is the soundest and most realistic.

As much as I may not agree with an abortion or drugs issue, it sure as heck isn't my place to levy lethal force upon others to agree with what my personal opinion may be. It never should be.

There are states who have never agreed on anything, if they legalize euthanasia that is on them. Everyone is free to live where they choose, correct? So I'd prefer we split the states up, let them all decide their rules again and thus eliminate the need for a permanent standing Office of Lethal Force on the rest.

Isn't that how we got here today to start with?

Only two cases really require a Federal Government's will or dictation, that is the dissolution of charter and Federal Reserve's abolition. Both of these things can be better handled by states, since it is highly unlikely the Federal Branch will do anything but implode. Show me history of otherwise.

Therefore if it is to end, by force, then our best option is to end it entirely by with drawl of consent. And that means ending the Fed and the entire populous should stand ready.

More to Consider

Do you trust the federal government to do the right thing?

If the federal government is the proper jurisdiction, then haven't they already proven themselves to have decided? Isn't their position on the issue already demonstrated?

What's easier, getting your family members to agree with you, getting your neighbors to agree with you, getting your state to agree with you, or getting the nation to amend the Constitution to agree with you?

What's your goal? To change minds, or only behavior? To free people or to enslave them?

Women have only been voting for a short time. Women LOVE little babies way more than anyone else, don't they? Is it possible that the "pro-choice" movement isn't about wanting abortions so much as it's about not wanting to be violated or enslaved by others? What woman would want bureaucrats and voters to intrude on her body?

Until this issue stops using bullets for enforcement, the conflict will continue.

What do you think? http://consequeries.com/

Thanks for proving the only point which matters

That the Federal Government itself is actually dangerous and rogue, so the question should truly be do we need it deciding all these laws?

The question should truthfully be, do we need it deciding abortion or other things to begin with?

Do we truly actually need this?

I resolve that we don't.
I likewise resolve, certain individuals should consider getting out of this contract as soon as they can.

You can shred ties to your corporate status which tosses you out of the system. There are those in this room who are only alive because of it. I strongly recommend considering it. Consider that you aren't a 14th amendment citizen and the Federal Government, does not need to decide any of these issues. At least be common sense open to the idea.


1. Of course not. I don't trust state governments to do the right thing either.

2. They've also decided on Obamacare. Doesn't mean I'm not going to fight that issue either.

3. Agreed. Don't really have anything to add.

4. Absolutely to change minds, and I didn't intend to make it sound like it was otherwise. I believe that minds have to change before the law will (see RP quote in original post). As we all know, a law is not the end-all, be-all to rightness in America.

5. I do think that the pro-choice movement is more about not wanting to be violated. I honestly don't believe pro-choicers are murderous, bloodthirsty individuals as many pro-lifers tend to make them out to be. Trying to put myself in their mindset...I get it. I can't blame them for not wanting to keep a non-living "thing" in their body and getting pissed when others want to force them to keep a non-living thing. Pro-lifers do a poor job of addressing "why" we want abortion to stop.

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. -Thomas Jefferson

Judgement is coming.

The federal government is an illusion and powerless. Women choose to murder their children with or without federal approval. Taxes are a form of theft. If a thief steals my car and kills someone recklessly driving, then I am not responsible. Money stolen from me in the form of taxes to kill babies works the same way. God will judge those who murder children. All I can do is take from example and tell them to go and sin no more.

If you get in a debate about

If you get in a debate about abortion with a pro-abortion person, they will eventually try to paint it as you supporting making a woman give birth to a baby that was the product of rape. Rape, incest (usually rape), and a threat to the mothers health are a very very small part of overall abortions. Abortions are overwhelmingly an act of birth control after being irresponsible. If you don't want a baby, and you resort to an abortion, you are not exercising responsible preventative measures. Is there something that can be done to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies?

The New York Times (hardly a right wing source) cites rape and incest as the reason for 1% of abortions.


I wrote a paper in college where I proposed having an open offer of $10,000 to women and men that would voluntarily sterilize themselves. If they would take that deal, what kind of parent would that person be anyways? and how much money would be saved in the long run not having taxpayers support the children of those people? I know my proposal is not without many arguments, however I was attempting to be controversial and outside of the box. My feminist English teacher gave me a confused look when she handed back the paper with an A grade.

They force you to pay taxes then

They force you to pay taxes then they spend it how they see fit.....way wrong!

That they should have no role in abortion

That they should have no role in abortion at all? That is the only just way for the government to operate. Every city and state can decide abortion or other at the local level.

Good question

The 9th and 10th amendments are in some ways at odd with each other.

Is euthanasia a right under the 9th amendment? Then does this mean that the federal government has a role in protecting it, like it has a role in protecting our 1st amendment rights?*

Or does it fall under the 10th amendment, and becomes purely a states rights issue? Meaning whatever the state says goes, and the ninth amendment is just a dead letter?

And why stop at euthanasia? We can end up with some crazy situations, like all murder can be legalized without the feds being able to do anything about it, and yet they can get involved if someone doesn't get a jury trial for a petty theft.

*I'm assuming we're all OK with the federal governmetn stopping, say, New Hampshire from banning newspapers. I know some people don't agree.

From all the comments I've

From all the comments I've read, sounds like you and I are most in line with our thinking. It definitely seems like there's a good argument for both sides. But from my understanding, and it sounds like your understanding also, it IS the role of the federal government to protect individual's rights. Just like you said, we would be OK with the federal government stopping NH from banning newspapers - right to free speech.

So if a state decides it is lawful to kill, whether it's a child in a mother's womb or an old man, I would find it reasonable for the federal government to protect that individual's right to life.

Maybe I am arguing for a constitutional amendment, since the Bill of Rights doesn't mention anything about the right to life. Maybe...I don't know. Still trying to work it out.

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. -Thomas Jefferson

The Declaration of

The Declaration of Independence already spelled it out.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

I don't find it reasonable

And I kick myself every day for the times I believed as you did.

The truth is, it is not at all reasonable. It may seem innocuous that you save the lives of others in another state using the "force" of the Federal Government, yet it is quite the opposite of that. Instead you have opened up a civil war between those states and the Federal Government, and now the Federal Government might create a new tyranny.

A new Federal Reserve by that same Federal Government you claim is the only answer to doing things...that is the solution that comes.

Be conscientious of what you wish for, citizen!

In fact in my eye, if all the Federal Government did was balance the budget we'd all be sleeping very soundly. Of course that is quite a fiction to say the least. Agreement is not voluntary.

Otherwise States should decide everything, including abolishing the Federal Reserve as far as I can tell. Because States are highly constrained and bound by the constitution, they cannot fall out.

Whereas the Federal Branch can do anything it wants, even kill whom it wants...So it perhaps should never have that power! Dissolve the Fed with your state representatives, those are the real keys.

Personally I have much more

Personally I have much more faith in the federal government to do right than I do any of the state governments.

Everything's difficult

Keep thinking :)

Most abortions occur

due to lack of sexual responsibility on the part of the father and mother. A few cases are related to the health of the baby or mother, rape, or incest.If you believe that the purpose of government is to protect our rights then once life begins the right to have a life is one of those rights.The question then becomes at what stage of development does life begin? My personal feeling is the Federal Government should be allowed to outlaw all abortions except in cases of Rape, incest,or health risk to the mother or baby. I have no sympathy for people who are not responsible for their sexual adventures and would then complain because they cannot end a life to bail them out.

What is wrong with a lack of sexual responsibility?

If a lack of sexual responsibility is wrong then why not ban adoption and baby safe havens where babies can be dropped off at a fire station post birth?

If adoption and baby safe havens are perfectly ok, legal, and moral then a lack of sexual responsibility is perfectly ok, legal, and moral (at least for mothers since fathers are always on the hook).

For the Bible thumpers, should we consider Jochebed a felon and posthumously convict her of child endangerment for abandoning Moses on a river?

SteveMT's picture

Many women feel that they are in this same situation.

They are trapped, no way out.

Exodus 1:22
And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.

A couple of observations

I'm not going to comment on your post, which is a contradiction of itself, but do you take responsibility for your own actions, sexual or otherwise, or do you just advocate that others should not take responsibility for theirs.
And the last paragaph, for those you aimed it at, is simply insulting.
No respect there your majesty, and whoever upvoted you.

"Hell is empty, and all the devils are here" (Shakespeare)
RP 2012~ Intellectual Revolution.

And I have no desire

to sincerely respond to a comment which states there is a contradiction without explanation as if what they say it is true because they waved some magic wand.

The facts are people consider adoption or dropping infants off at fire stations post birth perfectly ok and legal. Do those women have any different motivations than one who seeks an abortion? Yet, I don't see anyone ranting about immoral women who don't accept sexual responsibility because they opt for adoption or dropping infants off at fire stations.

Insulting would be a religious hypocrite (ie. Bible thumper) lecturing me on the morality of sexual responsibility when the Bible contains examples of women abandoning children in rivers.

In case it hasn't been made clear by any of my other posts. I fall short of any glory. You do not have to ask me if I am righteous because I will be the first to tell you I am not. However, I don't expect you to take my word for it since no one can testify for themselves. If I said I was righteous would you believe me? So why would you believe me if I said I am unrighteous? Therefore, I have solved this little dilemma for myself and am able to provide references for my unrighteousness.

Furthermore, many nights as I lay upon my bed I keep talking to omnipotent, all powerful, invisible beings as if they were in the room. I often ask this Jesus character I have never met or seen to extend a little grace or mercy to the unworthy, such as myself. No one ever answers and that is probably because only crazy people talk to themselves which might mean I am crazy trying to have a conversation with invisible, omnipotent, all powerful entities. Sometimes weird things happen in my life I can not explain, how is that for crazy?

As for your respect, I think I could care less whether any men or women in the world respect me. Actually, I do not expect them to. I think I expect most of them to hate me ... that Jesus guy I keep trying to have a relationship with, for who knows why, supposedly once said "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first." Actually I know why ... this Jesus dude is the only person who I ever read about where everything the dude said I think is good. I can't find one bad thing the dude supposedly said or allegedly did. Well, maybe the overturning tables thing since he did seem to be a little pissed off in the temple but I am willing to give him some leeway on that if he was who he claimed to be.

As for that whole don't repay evil with evil thing. That one is a real bitch because sometimes I feel like outright killing a few evil tyrants or thugs in uniforms.

Now, instead of recognizing there is a fundamental hypocrisy for criticizing people for being sexually irresponsible when adoption or baby safe havens are perfectly ok ... you decided to go off the the deep end. Perhaps you should reflect on how sexual responsibility jives with adoption and baby safe havens. If it is perfectly ok to be sexually irresponsible and give up a child for adoption or drop it off at a fire station perhaps the conversation should not revolve around sexual responsibility. Perhaps if there weren't so many damn hypocrites ranting about sexual responsibility society might swallow ... hey it is perfectly ok to be sexually irresponsible because adoption is expressly for people who do not want to raise their own kids. It is not cool to murder. It is arguable some women choose abortion instead of adoption is because they don't want any social stigma of not being sexually responsible. If you had the choice of giving birth, putting it up for adoption, and listening to everyone's bullshit sexual responsibility lecture versus having an abortion in secret ... Which would you choose as a young, naive, ignorant person who already made one bad choice?

Well, what to say..

I think you pretty much covered it, and then some.
Let me take the liberty of condensing it down to one line:
Do you not know the difference..
I mean really, you don't understand the difference?.

"Hell is empty, and all the devils are here" (Shakespeare)
RP 2012~ Intellectual Revolution.


Your brain certainly was not in gear! She was saving Moses from certain death! And had posted his older sister to watch over him while he was in the ark!

You really stretch to make your criticisms. Poor guy. Sorry to see you damage your own reputation so easily!

There's no majesty in your response (nor responsibility).

Freedom is the ability to do what you want to do.
Liberty is the ability to do what you ought to do.
"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." 2 Corinthians 3:17

Ye of little faith ...

If God was going to protect Moses anyway do you really think she was saving him from certain death?

However you are raising a point that has potential to lead somewhere. " ... posted his older sister to watch over him while he was in the ark!"

Do adopting parents offer to pay birth mothers to nurse? Are adopted children able to discover the true nature of their lineage? What is so good about adoption in the form and manner as it presently exists for people to believe it is perfectly ok and a great good? When is it not wrong for a mother to give up a child? Are adoption and baby safe haven statutes evil as presently written because there are some instances where it is evil for a mother to give up a child? If it is evil then why is adoption allowed?

Do you not think it would be

Do you not think it would be far better to give a child to a loving family rather than kill it?