Talk:Abortion/Archive 18

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Who does it

I added a line on who exactly performs abortions. Many just say "abortion doctors" which is a misnomer. I figure, hey, why not say something people may not already know or think about. Angrynight 04:02, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

  • If that's the part that goes "abortions are performed by", well done.--Halliburton Shill 03:49, 12 March 2006 (UTC)


alternative pregnancy definition

however, emergency contraception is generally considered equivalent to abortion by those who maintain a definition of pregnancy which is alternative to that of the medical community.

I am unclear why this phrase was changed from it's original (more correct) wording.

It is untrue that those who think that "life begins at conception" have an "alternate definition of pregnancy".

They may have an alternate definition of the beginnings of human life, but implantation is irrelevant. The preceding unsigned comment was added by Jkister (talk • contribs) 06:10, 2 March 2006.

You said "It is untrue that those who think that "life begins at conception" have an "alternate definition of pregnancy"." Actually, that is the specific point: the definition you are discussing is the beginning of pregnancy, which the medical community defines as beginning at implantation. If one says that pregnancy begins at conception, then that is nothing less than an "alternative definition" of pregnancy. Justin Eiler 07:01, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
If this is their true alternative definition, then women get pregnant and miscarry all the time, probably more often then they actually get pregnant (by the standard def.). I'll look for some numbers. See: [1]
Each month a woman's brain sends out hormones that cause changes in her uterus. At one point in the cycle, her body creates a potential home for the fertilized egg in the wall of her uterus. A woman can only become pregnant during the days when the uterus is ready. If the fertilized egg doesn't attach during this part of her menstrual cycle, it's all expelled from her body as part of her period.
If this is meant to suggest that fertilized eggs are expelled regularly from woman's body unless the uterus is ready, this is nonsense. Unless the uterus is ready, the fertilization never actually takes place, since the cycle of the ripening of the unfertilised egg is synchronised with the cycle of preparation of the womb. A fertilized egg can normally only catch the uterus "unprepared" if it is inserted artificially after fertilisation "in vitro". —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 213.220.226.16 (talkcontribs).
Do people that support this definition actually treat each dispelled fertilized egg as a spontaneous abortion? (I'm not saying this alternative defenition is wrong -- I'm just curious about its ramifications.) -Quasipalm 14:27, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Do they "treat each dispelled fertilized egg as a spontaneous abortion"? I'm not sure, what would that involve? Considering that dispelled fertilized eggs pass unnoticed (I assume), how does one "treat" it any particular way? -GTBacchus(talk) 18:25, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
I can't answer for "people that support this definition" in general, but I can say that pro-life Catholics (including myself) would regard a fertilized egg, flushed down the toilet while the mother has no knowledge of it's existence, as a unique human being with a soul, created in the image and likeness of God. A rather sensational short story on this theme can be found here. AnnH 21:32, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I thought this wording would be more NPOV. Perhaps it was just confusing. Also, please sign your comments with four tildes (a tilde:~). Thanks. -Kyd 07:07, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Actually, is there some way that we can NPOV this while still maintaining accuracy? I'm not certain that I'm entirely satisfied with the original version. -Kyd 07:13, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
One distinction to keep in mind is that most people who believe life begins at conception believe there is life irrelevant of the egg's implantation onto the uterus, or if that egg was fertilized in a test tube -- they'd say there was still "life". By saying these people have an alternate definition of "pregnancy", we may be confusing the issue. Jkister 17:38, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, I can certainly understand the distinction--I think all of us can agree that life begins at fertilization. The operative point here is that the article is specifically discussing the definition of pregnancy, not the beginning of life. Justin Eiler 17:44, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Actually, the operative point here is the definition of "abortion", and not "pregnancy" or "life". Those who oppose abortion do so not because it ends a pregnancy; they do so because they say it ends a life. Thus, anti-abortionists are likely to find the definition of "pregnancy" to be irrelevant; as if murder is excused just because the victim hasn't implanted him or herself in a uterine wall yet. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:25, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, I can see the wisdom of that ... but that simply demonstrates that the pro-choice and pro-life contingents are not talking to each other--they're talking around each other. Maybe I'm being a bit too idealistic, but perhaps if we can at least get the two sides talking to each other on Wikipedia, we can come up with an article that both sides can agree with.
The way I see it, if abortion is the termination of pregnancy, then we have to work within that definition. If abortion is the termination of a life, that's really going to create problems for communication. Justin Eiler 01:26, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
The pro-choice and pro-life contingents talking past each other? Never. The problem is that the pro-life camp sees abortion in moral terms, and the pro-choice camp sees it in medical terms. In moral terms, who cares whether it's a pregnancy? The point there is that an unborn baby with a soul is getting killed. In medical terms, it makes sense to distinguish a pregnancy from an unimplanted zygote, or whatever it's called, because they're biologically different. Agreeing to the other side's definition entails conceding too much, apparently. We should probably state outright in the intro that the definition of abortion varies depending who you ask. It's either the termination of a pregnancy, in the clinical sense, or it's legalized infanticide, and nice distinctions be damned. -GTBacchus(talk) 03:12, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I see where different definitions are coming in. The problem is--as Alienus notes--the shifting of the definitions then makes this much more an exercise in polemic than in knowledge. My preferred solution would be to stick to the denotations here at Wikipedia. While I oppose elective abortion, I've seen far too many rabid "pro-lifers" who would stoop to any rhetoric, bombast, or lie to "prove" their argument (and I have seen far too many pro-choicers do the same thing). Hopefully if we can stick to the facts and avoid the emotionally charged "trigger words," we can make a better article. Your thoughts? Justin Eiler 04:34, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
As for your contention that "all of us can agree that life begins at fertilization" - whoa. I have it on good authority that life begins at 30. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:25, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
GTBacchus, when 2015 comes around, you're changing Kyd's diapers. :D Justin Eiler 01:26, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
I should've check this three days ago — d'oh! Thanks for helping lighten the atmosphere in here. -Kyd 20:51, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
[User Kyd has become a twinkle in someone's eye. Please try again in 2015].
As I've said before, an ovum can be fertilized in a petri dish, but that doesn't make the dish pregnant; so, logically, pregnancy should be defined as beginning at implantation in the uterus. However, I think some people's equation of EC to abortion has more to with the special significance they place in conception. It is less, I believe, to do with how the medical community or anyone else defines the beginning of pregnancy. Perhaps the issue would be better approached from that vantage. -Kyd 18:51, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Methods of birth control that prevent implantation, such as emergency contraception, are not considered to be abortion; however, emergency contraception is generally considered equivalent to abortion by those who reject the medical definition of pregnancy.

perhaps a more NPOV is: ...emergency contraception is generally considered equivalent to abortion by those who believe life had already begun at conception.

or, ...who believe life has begun before implantation. Jkister 22:17, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Except that both the sperm and egg cells are alive the whole time, so what does it mean to say life "begins" at conception? Logically, the intention is to suggest that fertilization marks the start of a new organism, but this issue is independent from pregnancy. I suspect the real point here is polemic, in that redefining pregnancy lets them call emergency contraception "abortion", making it sound much worse. Alienus 00:20, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Then say "who believe the new human life has begun at conception". The life of the sperm and of the egg is not a human life, it is a life of a haploid cell. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 213.220.226.16 (talkcontribs).
How about: ...emergency contraception is not an option for those who believe life begins at conception. AvB ÷ talk 12:54, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Uselessly rhetorical. Why not keep the fact plain: "Emergency contraception is considered equivalent to contraception by those who believe that new human life has begun at conception, no matter wheteher it took place in utero or elsewhere." This is a plain statement of a fact (what certain people believe). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.220.226.16 (talkcontribs)
Woops - you have your facts wrong! Pregnancy was redefined as beginning at implantation in the late 1960s by savvy proponents of birth control who realized that they had to do so or else contraception would be considered abortifacient, and therefore against the law in most places. It was a blatant political move. 84.146.214.89
Source, please. -GTBacchus(talk) 20:05, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

I'd just like to emphaize that pro-lifers' opposition to abortifacient contraception has absolutely nothing to do with any opinion as to when pregnancy begins. It is, as GTBacchus said, based on the belief that human life begins at the moment of fertilization. While I doubt if all doctors define pregnancy as starting at implantation, whether they do or not wouldn't change the way pro-lifers view the destruction of pre-implanted embryos, whether in a petri dish or in a fallopian tube. The point here is the belief that the embryo is a human being, not the belief that pregnancy does or doesn't begin at implantation. AnnH 21:32, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, take the case of excess eggs in IVF. Frequently, some eggs are fertilized but are destroyed instead of being implanted. Since there's no implantation, hence no pregnancy, it cannot be called an abortion. Nonetheless, most pro-lifers oppose this aspect of IVF on the same basis that they oppose abortion; the claim that a fertilized egg must be accorded rights equivalent to that of a newborn. If multiple eggs do implant, doctors may sometimes perform a selective abortion to remove some of the embryos so that the others have an increased chance of making it to a healthy birth. Since this comes after implantation, it's entirely accurate to call it an abortion.
So whether it's officially a pregnancy doesn't affect their opposition, just whether they can call it an abortion. They might consider destroying excess fertilized eggs to be morally equivalent to abortion, but they'd simply be mistaken if they used the term "abortion" to refer to it. Alienus 22:37, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I've never heard of a case where pro-life people defined the destruction of IVF eggs as "abortion". The point of this section is that they consider it to be morally equivalent, not because they think that the petri dish or the woman is pregnant, but because they believe that the tiny embryo is a unique human being with a right to life. That's the whole point of this section, isn't it? To point out that that it would be wrong to have the article imply that they oppose abortifacient methods of contraception because they believe that the woman is pregnant when the embryo is in the fallopian tube. Some may believe that; some may not. They actually don't care where the embryo is, and they don't care what terminology doctors use to describe the state of having an embryo in the fallopian tube on the way to the womb: they just say, "don't kill it". AnnH 12:02, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Well I agree that the point isn't that pro-lifers believe or disbelieve when pregnancy occurs but rather when life occurs. However, you keep calling emergency contraception an "abortifacient methodsof contraception." From the abortifacient wikipedia article:
Emergency contraception (the "morning after pill"), such as Plan B or the Yuzpe regimen, is also considered an abortifacient by those who hold that pregnancy begins at conception, as it may prevent in some cases the implantation of an already fertilized egg. The same concern is sometimes even extended to regular birth control pills. Both American law and the medical community however make a firm distinction between contraception and abortifacients, and do not accept that emergency contraception is a form of abortion, nor do they accept that abortifacients are proper forms of contraception.
So at least part of the problem is definitional. We can't represent emergency contraception as an abortifacient because it isn't. Some people may see it as morally equivalent to abortion as they see them both as taking a human life, and that information should be included. However, it is factually incorrect to call something an abortifacient when it isn't terminating a pregnancy, but rather preventing one from beginning.   ⇔   | | ⊕ ⊥ (t-c-e) 13:12, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
In my opinion, there is still a difference in the definition of pregnancy involved. If pregnancy begins at the moment of fertilization of the egg in the body of the mother, then "emergency contraception" is abortion. If pregnancy begins at nidation of the egg, it is not. BUT: it seems misleading to the utmost to call "contraception" an action of which purpose is not to _avoid_ conception, but to interrupt the normal evolution of the already fertilised egg. This is a purely semantic concern - etymologically "contraception" is a means to avoid conception. Therefore, even "abortive contraception" is a misuse, tolerable only given that the adjective "abortive" makes sufficiently clear what it is ("abortive contraception" is not a contraception, just like false money is not money). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.220.226.16 (talkcontribs)

Change of definition??

In 1965, the American College of Ob/Gyns redefined pregnancy due to concerns of those doctors who were promoting IUDs and the pill. It was a political move - they realized the law and public opinion would not sanction ending life that already began, so they simply redefined the beginning of pregnancy. Here is a thoroughly footnoted resource that details the history (which, of course, the abortion supporters never discuss since they want to accuse those who prefer the former definition as making that definition up) signed by hundreds of physicians who support its factual contents. [2] 84.146.229.32

These statements (exceprted from the link above) support the idea that this re-definition in the 1960s was a manipulation for political, rather than scientific, reasons:

  • With biology such a stubborn thing, pill promoters turned to semantics for a solution. Swedish researcher Bent Boving, at a 1959 Planned Parenthood/Population Council symposium, noted that: "Whether eventual control of implantation can be reserved the social advantage of being considered to prevent conception rather than to destroy an established pregnancy could depend upon something so simple as a prudent habit of speech." {Source for Boving quote: Bent Boving, "Implantation Mechanisms," in Mechanisms Concerned with Conception, ed. C. G. Hartman (New York: Pergamon Press, 1963), 386. Boving acknowledged (p. 321): "... the greatest pregnancy wastage, in fact, by far the highest death rate of the entire human life span, is during the week before and including the beginning of implantation, and the next greatest is in the week immediately following."}
  • The advice was not isolated. At the 1964 Population Council symposium, Dr. Samuel Wishik pointed out that acceptance or rejection of birth control would depend on whether it caused an early abortion. Dr. Tietze, of Planned Parenthood and the Population Council suggested, as a public relations ploy, "not to disturb those people for whom this is a question of major importance." Tietze added that theologians and jurists have always taken the prevailing biological and medical consensus of their times as factual, and that "if a medical consensus develops and is maintained that pregnancy, and therefore life, begins at implantation, eventually our brethren from the other faculties will listen." {Source for quotes: Proceedings of the Second International Conference, Intra-Uterine Contraception, held October 2-3, 1964, New York City, ed. Sheldon Segal, et al.., International Series, Excerpta Medica Foundation, No. 86, page 212.}

84.146.229.32

"Declaration of Life by Pro-Life Physicians " from the American Life League? POV is a major concern here - that's why we try not to quote NARAL as a source. -Kyd 17:58, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I changed this passage back to its former wording - the current version implies an opposition between a particular ethical estimation and a medical definition, meant as a snear at one valid view, and hence POV. Str1977 (smile back) 08:16, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Good call, Str1977. -Kyd 18:03, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

It seems that, if the medical definition of pregnancy has been changed, historically, for reasons relating to abortion, Wikipedia ought to document that. The American Life League isn't a reliable source, fine, but what about the Proceedings of the Second International Conference, Intra-Uterine Contraception, held October 2-3, 1964? That's the actual source of that material (the second quotation above, anyway). Do we just need to get that source verified, or what? -GTBacchus(talk) 18:48, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I'd absolutely insist on verifying the sources before even cosnidering such a change--I've seen far too many cases of quote-mining (on both sides of the debate) to be at all sanguine about accepting a secondary source on this issue. Justin Eiler 18:55, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Concur with Justin Eiler on this, and also has anyone considered that past terms is more appropriate in the History of Abortion article? KillerChihuahua?!? 19:00, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Ok, so the Second International Conference on Intra-Uterine Contraception was a little shindig thrown in 1965 by the Population Council. Its Proceedings are available in about 30 libraries cataloged in WorldCat, and I've got a copy on the way to me now. When it arrives, I'll check it out, and if it supports the claim that there was an actual intentional drive to define pregancy in a way that would make legal abortion possible, then I'm going to add that fact, either here or at History of abortion law. -GTBacchus(talk) 22:10, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
This may be a premature question, but do you happen to know how detailed theProceedings are? (and thank you for fixing my typo.) KillerChihuahua?!? 22:31, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I'll let ya know when they arrive. -GTBacchus(talk) 03:36, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
I think we need to distinguish between two issues. First, was the definition of pregnancy in fact changed? Second, what was the reason for that change? Assuming for the sake of argument that the definition was explicitly changed as opposed to simply being clarified over time, there are still much more likely explanations that don't involve medical conspiracies.
Consider in vitro fertilization (IVF), where the oocytes are fertilized in a petri dish, watched for a few days until they're at the eight-cell stage or at the blasocyst stage, and then the best candidates are transferred into the uterus to (hopefully) implant. Given this fine-grained level of control over the process, it's understandable that doctors might have to make more distinctions than they used to. Whereas "conception" might have applied to anything between fertilization and implantation, it's now used to refer specifically to implantation.
This makes sense on a number of levels. For example, we don't need to speak of the petri dish as being pregnant. And pregnancy tests in fact check for implantation, not fertilization. Alienus 19:07, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Actually its not very complicated. Pregnancy and gestation begin at the same time. Quite obviously, testubes can't be pregnant or gestate. When unnatural means are involved, the embryo can be created or moved outside of the womb. Once the embryo is placed in a womb, pregnancy and gestation begin. But the reality is that it is a documented fact that pregnancy was redefined and it was done with no medical basis. In fact, doctors date the beginning of pregnancy as the last day of a woman's last period. I am not sure why this is news to people. Apparently many of you really have never spent much time studying these matters. 84.146.242.45

No, that's the date they use to calculate the due date. KillerChihuahua?!? 20:34, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

KillerChihuahua is right. As a matter of practical fact, when pregnancy occurs in vivo, it's not something we can easily detect, so it's not something we can ask the woman about. We can, however, detect the end of a menstrual period, so it's a convenient bit of information we can use to calcuate the delivery date. This is a matter of simple pragmatism, with no bearing on when pregnancy starts. With IVF, we know the exact moment of fertilization (and can record it on video if we like), so there's no need to estimate based on menstruation.

As it happens, we can detect when implantation occurs, whether by IVF or the usual way, because it quickly leads to hormonal changes as the woman's body reacts to it. That is in fact how pregnancy tests work. What's interesting is that, with the popularity of rather sensitive pregnancy tests, women are now frequently detecting "chemical pregnancies", which are pregnancies that self-abort very early on. Previously, these would have gone undetected, except perhaps as "heavy periods", but now women are increasingly aware of just how common such brief, failed pregnancies are.

A related issue is that days pass between fertilization and implantation, and not all eggs that get fertilized ever implant. Again, women are more aware of this now because IVF forces us to recognize the distinction between the two events. After all, every failed attempt to get in-vitro fertilized eggs to implant is hugely expensive. Alienus 22:51, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Just to clarify, pregnancy does not occur when the embryo is placed in the uterus. If it occurs, which isn't nearly as often as many women would prefer, it does so within a few days, just as with a regular pregnancy. Just having an embryo in your uterus doesn't make you pregnant; it has to implant! Alienus 22:53, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Research demonstrating that large percentages of Ob/Gyns reject the ACOG redefinition

Source:http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/30000120/ABSTRACT?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

Informed consent and the redefining of conception: A decision illconceived?

  • Joseph A. Spinnato, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Louisville *School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky
  • email: Joseph A. Spinnato (JASPINO1@ulkyvm.louisville.edu)
  • Keywords: conception; pregnancy onset; informed consent
  • Abstract: The purposes of this study are to assess the use of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' (ACOG) definitions of conception (a synonym for implantation) and the beginning of pregnancy (at implantation) in the clinical practice of its members and to explore the implications of differing definitions of conception and pregnancy onset for the process of informed consent. A survey was mailed to 112 members of the Louisville Ob/Gyn Society asking what definition of conception they used in their clinical practice and when they judged pregnancy began. A second mailing was sent to nonresponding members. Using logistic regression analysis, the responses to these questions were evaluated with respect to practice type, number of years in practice, and the ACOG membership. Responses were received from 86% (96 of 112) of the members. A total of 73% (70 of 96) (95% CI 69-77%) of the members indicated that conception was a synonym for fertilization, and 24% (23 of 96) (95% CI 21-28%) indicated that conception was a synonym for implantation (P < .001). Of the members, 50% (48 of 96) indicated that pregnancy began at fertilization, and 48% (46 of 96) indicated that pregnancy began with implantation (NS). Regression analysis failed to demonstrate a significant relationship to type of practice, years in practice, or the ACOG membership for these responses. Neither ACOG definition has been consistently adopted by its members whose definitions are more consistent with lay and embryologist definitions. Potentially, the process of informed consent is jeopardized by these ambiguities. The ACOG is urged to reconsider its definitions. J. Matern. - Fetal Med. 7:264-268, 1998. © 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

In the actual article, the author notes that the ACOG created these new definitions in 1965 and 1972. My edits are therefore undeniably factual, sourced from a peer reviewed medical journal, and this is not original research. My sense is that some of you will now try to move the goalposts. It is inevitable. I made an edit, gave sources, they were not good enough, so I provided undeniable proof of my factual information. So now you will have to move the goalposts or accept the facts. Your reaction will be interesting. 84.146.242.45

But I thought your point was about a redefinition of pregnancy, not the definition of conception (which, according to most of the medical dictionaries I have ever seen, is a synonym of fertilization and not implantation -- though some dictionaries say it can be used either way).   ⇔   | | ⊕ ⊥ (t-c-e) 12:47, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Please re-read the abstract above. It very clearly discusses that half of the doctors consider pregnancy to begin at fertilization. This is a rejection of the ACOG re-definition. I have boldened the relevant portions that you missed. 84.146.221.240

ABC Link

Wikipedia has coined a term (abortion breast cancer hypothesis) that no one else uses. The article should use the terms that are most common and accurate. Many people talk about abortion and breast cancer. If you google the term abortion breast cancer hypothesis, you get 30 hits. If you google Abortion breast cancer link you get 27,000 hits. The way to fix this is to use the phrase "abortion breast cancer link hypothesis". It makes the point that the link is hypothetical, while avoiding a term that no one actually uses, and that was coined at wikipedia. 136.215.251.179

Who, besides killerchihwahua, favors using an otherwise nonexistent term in this article? 136.215.251.179 11:38, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I say we stick to the title used by the actual Wikipedia article. Renaming a "Main article" link is just going to create confusion for users where we are trying to remove it. If you have an issue with the title, take it to abortion-breast cancer hypothesis. I'm sure that they were the ones who settled for this title and I'm sure that they had a reason. -Kyd 15:54, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Your position is that a wikipedia article must slavishly accept, as a standard term, one that exists only in another wikipedia article? I don't know how you would defend that idea. Patently bogus terminology invented by wikipedia editors who have obviously no clue about the common terms used when discussing the subject matter should be accepted by editors of other articles? My version not only linked to the correct article (that uses the bogus term), but also incorporated the actual term used by most people when discussing the topic, AND did not excise the notion that the whole concept is a hypothesis. Such is the kind of thing that you other editors who hate most of my posts so much should laud as a great attempt at compromise that respects the work of other editors AND eliminates an anomoly that ought not appear in a high quality article. I am not holding my breath. 136.215.251.179

I have no idea which term is more common outside of Wikipedia, but I agree with 136.. that the term most common should be used, and if another WP article uses another title, this article should be renamed. It should however be discussed at that article. Str1977 (smile back) 17:04, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

(edit conflict) If you feel this way about the other article, move it. Presumably there is an established consensus and reasoning behind the name at Abortion-breast cancer hypothesis so change that first so editors who have written about the subject can give their opinions. If there isn't a consensus then no-one will challenge the name change. Editors are allowed to make changes to more than one article. |→ Spaully°τ 17:06, 7 March 2006 (GMT)
This is not the place for second-guessing the editorial decisions of the people who wrote and titled abortion-breast cancer hypothesis. If you think it's an issue, please take it up with them. I'm sure more consideration was given to NPOV than to the prevalence of any one specific term (see "female genital mutilation" versus "female circumcision" debate). -Kyd 17:20, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

A simple google search of each term provides objective evidence that the term the article now uses gets 30 hits, whereas the term that I suggest we use gets 27,000 hits. It is a fool's errand to argue that the term that this article now uses is a good choice. To rely on a wikipedia article is a violation of WP:NOR since the term is only used at wikipedia. 136.215.251.179

Then why on Earth aren't you there, now, arguing that they change the title of that article? There's a clear right way to take care of this; it involves changing the article's title itself, and then all the links to it are easy to chase down and fix. s/horse/cart -GTBacchus(talk) 18:26, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Originally I named it ABC debate, but then Tony Sidaway moved it to ABC hypothesis... as the link remains controversial and unaccepted by the medical community, to rename the article to ABC link might be presumptious. The popularity of the terms does not necessarily denote which is the most appropriate to use, merely which is most widely known/used. That term is used primarily by those who believe there is a link. The goal of the article is to explore the issue, not to assert a link. As such I think the name should remain as it is, with Link titles redirecting if necessary. I think it strikes a balance of accurately showing the status of the ABC issue, and not taking on pro-life verbiage. That could be a violation of WP:NPOV; as to the article title violating WP:NOR, meh, hypothesis is the status of the ABC link. It's an accurate reflection of reality. If there is consensus it should be changed I'd be happy to change it. - RoyBoy 800 04:51, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Therapeutic abortion

The language describing birth defects unnecessarily and misleadingly narrows the types of birth defects or maladies for which therpeutic abortions are recommended. Morbidiity and fatality are sometimes associated with defects for which abortion is recommended as a "therapy" (odd - most therapies seek to improve the health of the person with the defect, but abortion simply kills the person and the defect at the same time). We need to change the language in the article. [3] 136.215.251.179

No 136, the passage defining "therapeutic abortions" was wrong to include "defects" of the fetus in the first place. Abortions for that reason are called "eugenic" or "embryopathic" -"therapy" means treating or healing a malady - aborting a "defect" fetus can hardly be described as healing this defect. Otherwise a gun shot is an 100% effective way of curing, say, malaria. Str1977 (smile back) 17:01, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for fixing the error - I could not conceive of a true therapy (doesn't it literally mean that which heals?) that kills the one suffering from the malady. 136.215.251.179

The source upon which the therapeutic abortion indications are based, "Therapeutic Abortion" by Natalie E. Roche, M.D., includes fetal abnormalities under the "broadest definition" of therapeutic abortion. The article is also specific as to which types of fetal abnormalities would be indicated in this case:
"A pregnancy in which the fetus has defects that are either incompatible with life or associated with significant morbidity can be an indication for therapeutic abortion."
I recommend that we revert to the broader, more inclusive definition of therapeutic abortion (ex: "An abortion performed for health indications") and avoid example indications if a specific one is going to pose an issue. -Kyd 19:13, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Strongly agreed. I particularly object to the use of the word "eugenics" in this context. Highly POV. Alienus 22:57, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I can't see how "eugenic" is POV, but if you don't like you can use "embryopathic" - anyway, my main point was that such an abortion should not be classified as "therapeutic", even if some try to include this. Str1977 (smile back) 11:47, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

It really depends upon which definitions one believes meet therapeutic qualifications. This varies from person to person, of course, so, in a sense, there's no "right answer" here. Explicity defining abortion in the case of fetal abnormalities as therapeutic, or excluding it as such, would both be POV. A little neutral prefacing could help resolve the issue:
"Therapeutic abortion: An abortion performed to preserve health. Although there is dispute over precisely what qualifies as a therapeutic abortion, under the broadest definition, the following indications might be considered:..."
-Kyd 12:03, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
I absolutely agree with Str1977. In no way can we call it "therapeutic" to abort a fetus because of defects. I can see how "eugenic" could be seen as POV, because the word has certain negative connotations. But I cannot see at all how not calling it "therapeutic" could be POV. Not calling it "therapeutic" is simply a question of avoiding inaccuracy. AnnH 12:08, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
I also agree. Defects in the fetus do not threaten the mother's health. Therapy by definition HEALS. It is not therapy when we shoot a horse who breaks a leg. Likewise, it is not therapy when we abort the life of a deformed or diseased fetus. It is a quick and final solution to a problem, but therapy it is not. Under both the hippocratic oath and the post-war Geneva Physican's Oath [4] (adopted in 1948 and re-affirmed in 1968) such acts are not therapeutic. 136.215.251.179
Defects in the fetus might threaten mother's health. Noone aborts life of fetus, 'cause they don't have one. --tasc 16:35, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
That is your POV. Billions of people and plenty of medical professionals and scientists (especially fetologists) disagree with you. There is a whole branch of medicine that deals with treating the fetal patient with countless therapies (non of which kills the little gal).136.215.251.179
Therapy is of valid use as attempted remediation of a health problem. --tasc 16:37, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
There are congenital disorders which could threaten the woman's health, namely ones which would make vaginal delivery impossible, such as severe hydrocephaly or conjoined twinning. Many birth defects cannot be treated, much less cured, such as anencephaly. Even so, pregnancy itself involves health risks, so I suppose the question here is will those risks be balanced in the birth of a child with little to no chance of survival as they would in the birth of a healthy one? If the answer one gives is no, then abortion in the case of some congenital disorders could be considered therapeutic. -Kyd 01:24, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
I think the wording of both Therapeutic abortion and the emegency conraception section are now excellent; they both provide accurate information on each. Gynecologists do call abortions to morbid pregnancies "Therapeutic", as when my fifth child had a marker for Trisomy 18, our doctor recommended one. This had nothing to do the mother's health, but was considered "therapeutic" by the medical team. OT: we decided not to go with the abortion, and our child is perfect.Jkister 19:51, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Killerchihuawua misuses term "Vandalism"

Please stop mis-using terms while personally attacking. Ad hominem attack is a cheap way of accomplishing your mission - which apparently is to keep your POV in this article. 136.215.251.179

Dear 136.215.251.179, please register an account (if you don't already have one), and log on and try to work for consensus on the talk page like everyone else. Thanks. AnnH 11:57, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Ann - Goodandevil is already registered, he/she just doesn't log in. KillerChihuahua?!? 12:05, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. I am being bold, as we are encouraged to do. While my edits are factual, they grind against the prevailing POV of many editors, which is one that wants ceratin unpleasant facts hidden. Oh well. I am not going away. Complaining that my style sucks is fine. But the article is about a neutral presentation of FACTs. Not about my style. When I make edits, address my content - not my style. Thats what really matters. Thanks. 136.215.251.179
Concerning your content, I agree with some of your edits, and disagree with some. We have to present this topic in as neutral a way as possible, which is why it's good to have discussion on the talk page from people of both sides. By the way, if you are Goodandevil, why not simply log on? AnnH 12:19, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Goodandevil was apparently unable to accept cookies while stationed in Germany. It appears he/she is back in Texas now, so it'd be nice if he/she would log in. A while back I created a template to ease the process of scanning his previous edits. (User:Quasipalm/Goodandevil) It's his/her right to edit anonymously, but it's also our right to follow his/her edits. -Quasipalm 18:05, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Planned changes in the Definition section (Please weigh in):

Here is the proposed language - sources for the medical definitions are based in fact, not POV. The sources are all either commonly used references, peer reviewed scholarly research, or documented non-POV factual information that appears within a POV website:

Under the most recent medical definition, pregnancy begins at the time of implantation of the embryo. Prior to 1965, physicians defined pregnancy as beginning at conception. Both definitions have adherents. [5] [6] [7] The following medical terms are used to define an abortion:
Spontaneous abortion (miscarriage): An abortion due to accidental trauma or natural causes.
Induced abortion: An abortion deliberately caused. Induced abortions are further subcategorized into therapeutic abortions and elective abortions:
Elective abortion: An abortion initiated by personal choice. [8]
Therapeutic abortion: An elective abortion recommended by the health care provider to protect the mother's physical or mental health. [9] By contrast, a "non-therapeutic" abortion is an elective abortion initiated for reasons other than the mother's health (universally the most common category).

136.215.251.179

The information you have included in your suggested definitions is already included in a better form in the article. It mentions that one definition of pregnancy is that it begins at conception (meaning fertilization - see my response in a previous section). Therapeutic and elective abortion are already defined perfectly well and in a NPOV manner. And, though it may be the case that elective abortions (for which you have coined the neologism "non-therapeutic abortion") are more prevelant than therapeutic abortions, this is hardly part of the "definition" of abortion.   ⇔   | | ⊕ ⊥ (t-c-e) 12:58, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Thereapeutic abortions are a subset of elective. The article needs to make that clear. Where in the article is it made clear that some people came up wioth a new definition for pregnancy in 1965 and that many - even members of the medical community - reject that new definition? 136.215.251.179

If I were to argue that case, I'd argue that most (all?) induced abortions are elective. I'm not sure that calling all "therapeutic" abortions "elective" is an entire representation of the truth. Jkister 20:01, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Please do not create a section asking people to "weigh in" (meaning you want to gather consensus) and then continue to change it to your proposed version over the constant reverts of those who disagree. Let us discuss it first, and see if there is consensus. Given previous attempts that you have made, I don't think there will be, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't still try. To address your points above: therapeutic abortions are not a subset of elective abortions. That is a significant (i.e. 180 degree) change from the previous definition, which spelled out that an elective abortion is any abortion that is not a therapeutic abortion. And the article does mention that other people have a different definition of pregnancy... an issue which is still being discussed on this talk page it seems.   ⇔   | | ⊕ ⊥ (t-c-e) 13:21, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

NIH (National Institutes for Health) is the source for the definitions of therapeutic and elective. NIH clearly explains that therapeutic is a subset of elective. Women CHOOSE to follow their doctors advice - they ELECT to do so. Did you go to the source to confirm it? What is your source for saying that therapeutic is NOT a subset of elective? 136.215.251.179

My personal view is that common sense would have this article list elective abortion (giving the NIH definition) and therapeutic abortion (giving the NIH definition). Therapeutic abortions are, in fact, elective because medical decisions are personal choices (as one ardent abortion supporter pointed out in talk for this article earlier). In any event, NIH is an excellent source - and googling makes it clear that countless other mainstream respected medical websites use the NIH definitions. 136.215.251.179

Please provide neutral sources for alternative definitions. You can pretend that I have provided no such sources all day long, but you will have to offer sources for the definitions you wish to use in the alternative. 136.215.251.179

Your source does not state therapeutic abortions are a subset of elective abortions. Rather it clarifies the difference in motive behind the two types of abortion, adhering to the original definitions on this page. Maybe this eMedicine article will help: [10]. That makes it pretty clear. |→ Spaully°τ 17:56, 8 March 2006 (GMT)
136.215.251.179, aka Goodandevil, will not be able to reply for 36 hours due to a 3RR block. KillerChihuahua?!? 18:06, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Your proposal is inaccurate. Therapeutic abortions are exactly as described on the Abortion page. I understand that you dislike the word "therapeutic" being used for "kill the baby", but the medical community has adopted it.Jkister 19:57, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

User:Goodandevil

I believe we've reached an impasse with Goodandevil (and the various anon IP addresses that he uses). Would now be an appropriate time to consider the steps in WP:DR? Justin Eiler 18:41, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

I would support such a move. Goodandevil has been highly disruptive, rewriting content against consensus and making personal attacks and snide remarks. Perhaps dispute resolution would assist this user in learning how to discuss differing views, respect other editors, and write in an NPOV manner. I am willing to give it a try, as direct appeals have had little effect. KillerChihuahua?!? 18:50, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
If you need a third supporter, you have one. Alienus 00:06, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Most definitely. -Kyd 01:41, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

OK.

Goodandevil (aka User 136), I've started a page where you and I can talk this situation over. Would you please consider coming to that page and discussing the situation before we continue editing? Thanks. Justin Eiler 01:16, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Changed IP again: User:84.146.221.240. User also seems prone to personal attacks. Seems that the problem requires some other solution.--Pro-Lick 02:14, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

And again User:84.146.213.216--Pro-Lick 02:16, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
And again User:84.146.248.62--Pro-Lick 07:24, 18 March 2006 (UTC)


Miscarriages

Can we have more accurate numbers as to what amount of pregancay are miscarriages. There is a huge difference between 10 and 50 %. The preceding unsigned comment was added by 70.31.232.210 (talk • contribs) 21:24, 9 March 2006.

This is not an inherently simple issue. A larger percentage -- I believe it's the majority -- of fertilized eggs either never implant or quickly self-abort. These are not typically recognized as miscarriages, because the woman never considers herself pregnant and the symptoms are difficult to distinguish from a heavy period. Alienus 23:27, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
It should be noted that the medical community doesn't consider these micarriages -- nor is it common in the population to consider a fertilized egg discharged during menstruation to be considered an abortion. I think if we can get stats for the traditional/medical view of abortion rates, we should use those numbers. -Quasipalm 19:41, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. Alienus 21:08, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
It would be best to locate and explain both numbers, logically. Since many people opposed to abortion believe life begins at conception, those babies lost because they never implanted are still relevant. They were already conceived, so both the pro-lifers would care about that number, as it represents lost lives, and the pro-choicers would care because it illustrates an apparent dichotomy. --Kaz 20:11, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. It will probably be very difficult to get numbers of fertilized eggs that do not develop into babies however. And it will no doubt lead to an "abortion rate" ("abortions"/babies) much much higher than 100%. -Quasipalm 21:06, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Um, only with some funny math. I think the ratio you're looking for would be abortions/fertilizations, which would still be under 100%, where things like "rates" belong.
The numbers I would like to see are: Of all fertilized eggs, what proportion fail to implant naturally, what proportion are prevented from implanting by emergency contraception, and what proportion actually implant? Those 3 numbers should add up to 1. Then, of the implantations that occur, what proportion spontaneously abort later on, what proportion are aborted electively, and what proportion are carried to term? Again, those three numbers should add up to 1. Does anyone know where to find this kind of info? -GTBacchus(talk) 22:08, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
According to the EC article, no one has been able to scientifically prove that EC actually prevents implantation, so until that connection is actually proven, there is no way we can get a % for that. As for the "proportion [that] fail[s] to implant naturally" vs. the "proportion [that] actually implant[s]", this quote from the EC article may help, if it is accurate "embryos naturally fail to implant 40 to 60 percent of the time". --Andrew c 00:10, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I'd like to see, of all fertilized eggs, what percentage fail to implant, self-abort before detection, self-abort as a recognized miscarriage, are aborted by various methods (broken down). As far as I can tell, EC prevents 0% of implantations. Alienus 22:13, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

I must misunderstand EC then. I thought preventing implantation is precisely what it does (at least certain kinds of EC). The article Emergency contraception certainly says so. -GTBacchus(talk) 22:25, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Emergency contraceptives and intra-uterine devices do prevent implantation.
Regarding the figures - those would be ideal but I don't see how it would be possible to measure that kind of thing in normal circumstances. There are statistics regarding IVF - around 11-13% implantation per embryo, but those are not physiological conditions.
Similarly it is difficult to get information of spontaneous abortions as many will occur before there has been sufficient growth for the woman to notice.
In short those statistics would be ideal, but I don't think they exist. |→ Spaully°τ 22:33, 11 March 2006 (GMT)

EC's prevent fertilization, usually preventing ovulation in the first place. It's not entirely clear whether they prevent implantation, and it's become fairly clear that they don't induce abortion. It's easy to measure the overall effectiveness of EC, but harder to break it down into the specific mechanism involved. As for undetected self-abortions, these can actually be detected with a pregnancy test, leading to the term "chemical pregnancy". Alienus 00:10, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I was wrong about chemical emergency contraceptives, as you say they usually delay ovulation or inhibit fertilisation. It seems the evidence on preventing implantation is mixed. It seems the WP article needs some clarification. IUDs do however prevent implantation of the embryo, making them a method of abortion to some.
On the point of chemical pregnancies - I've not seen any studies developing probabilities of such events occurring, and you would be hard-pressed to develop a good study design to make it work. |→ Spaully°τ 00:25, 12 March 2006 (GMT)


Yes, IUD's are a different matter from purely hormonal methods. As for a study, the trick is that these early self-abortions are detectable if the woman gets frequent pregnancy tests, so I suppose a study could at least find the lower limit on the number of self-abortions.

What I've read makes it clear that most fertilized eggs don't ever become (noticed) pregnancies, either due to failure to implant or from self-aborting soon after implantation, but I'm not sure about the exact numbers, either, and I can see that figuring them out might not be easy. On a side note, one way I've seen this situation expressed is that, by the standards of treating all fertilized eggs as infants, every woman who has a live birth should hold a funeral. Alienus 00:46, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Better word than "Biased"?

I understand that editors are so biased on this issue that, unlike most other issue articles, they feel the need to explicitly put all position-advocating website references under a separate section with a caveat. This is an issue about life and liberty like no other. That's fine...

But we could at least be sensible enough to pick a less biased header for the section than "These sites may be biased". Something like "These sites may advocate a specific side of the abortion debate", or "These sites may have specific agendas, in regard to abortion".

Let's be realistic here, all sites, and humans, are biased. That's a silly truism. We need a header which doesn't scream our own bias at the reader.--Kaz 17:10, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Greetings, Kaz. I removed the paragraph you added (quoted below) citing ButNowYouKnow.com as a source. While I completely and totally agree with the inclusion (and with the author of BNYK's opinion on the issue), I also have to acknowledge that BNYK is more opinion and editorial than a substantive historical source. Such a substantive statement as you made in the paragraph really needs to be discussed on the talk page before including it in an article that is this contentious.
Because of all of these factors, the abortion debate has been one of the most polarizing of socio-political issues, on par with the abolitionism/slavery and temperance/alcohol debates in the 19th century, in fact the push for the ban of all three were conducted by many of the very same people [11] at that time. One side often sees itself as defending the lives of murdered babies, the other of fighting for the liberty and rights of women. While there are many rational arguments made by each side, this polarization has also resulted in both sides being regularly accused using hyperbole and outright falsehood. [12]
Justin Eiler 18:29, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
OK, but it seemed to me that, because the paragraph attacked neither sides, just noted the emotional nature and strength of the issue, the addition wasn't controversial at all. It didn't even say they were using hyperbole and falsehood, though surely we would all agree that both sides have, occasionally.
The empact and importance of the issue to its adherents gets little explicit examination in the article, though it's pivotal to the issue's debate. Surely a single, NPoV mention is a reasonable start. --Kaz 20:05, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Please see WP:NOR, WP:RS, and WP:VAIN before using your own editorial pieces as sources in the future. -Kyd 22:34, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
While Kyd brings up a good point, he really doesn't explain--the "original research" problem is the claim that abortion, temperence, and abolitionism movements were "conducted by many of the very same people"--that claim really needs some substantive documentation. The presence of accusations of hyperbole and falsehood is a good mention (IMO), but I'd love to see a bit more documentation of it as well. Justin Eiler 23:53, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Abortion Overview Definition

Presently: "An abortion is the termination of a pregnancy associated with the death of an embryo or a fetus." The main problem I have with this is "death". That's the way anti-abortion ("pro-life") activists describe it (though they tend to prefer kill or murder). We don't call it the death of an egg when a woman has her period or the death of sperm when a man uses a condom (or a mouth or hand). Like the egg and sperm, the embryo/fetus is completely dependent on its host for "life". It's not a case where you can keep the embryo/fetus and dispose of the woman. A term like "disconnection", "removal", or "release" would be more accurate.--Halliburton Shill 04:05, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I fear I have to disagree--"death" is an accurate term, and though anti-abortionists also use the term, a correct definition requires looking at the facts, not at who else uses the terminology. Justin Eiler 04:13, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • The facts are we don't describe removal of snot, fignernails, eggs, or sperm as their death. We don't even describe blood loss from a cut as the death of the blood.--Halliburton Shill 04:27, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
An embryo or fetus is not "snot, fignernails, eggs, or sperm"--indeed, snot and fingernails are already mostly or completely composed of dead tissue, and eggs and sperm by themselves are not living organisms.
OK, I'll no longer use snot or fingernails for comparison. However, eggs, sperm, and blood are valid comparisons because they all require a host to sustain their life, and the embryo/fetus requires all 3.--Halliburton Shill 15:15, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
However, clarifying this issue for the sake of making the best possible Wikipedia article requires looking at specific and technical definitions, not rhetorical arguments.
  • Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law: "the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus; especially : the medical procedure of inducing expulsion of a human fetus to terminate a pregnancy."
  • Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary: "the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus" Justin Eiler 13:50, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Wiktionary does not use "death" in its definition. Properly makes reference to miscarriage, which also does not use "death".--Halliburton Shill 15:22, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • 1911 Encylopedia Britannica uses expulsion, not "death", and the only difference between it and miscarriage is that it is deliberate. This is interesting because this is well before mass-marketed political spin.--Halliburton Shill 15:59, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • 1913 Webster Dictionary uses "expulsion ... before it is capable of sustaining life" and does not use "death", but makes clear that abortion at that time was a crime.--Halliburton Shill 15:59, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary uses the same definition shown in the Law & Medical, but worth noting is that "death" is not used in their definition of miscarriage.--Halliburton Shill 15:59, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • On the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus encylopedia, "death" is not used: "removing the fetus and placenta from the uterus". Under description, "remove the tissues (fetus and placenta) from the uterus".--Halliburton Shill 16:58, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Hmm. I looked "abortion" up in my dictionary and got "the removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus in order to end a pregnancy". The dictionary says removal, not death. Upon consideration, this makes sense, because it's the removal that aborts the pregnancy; the death of the removed tissue and organism is incidental. For that matter, an operation that kills the fetus but doesn't remove it is called an incomplete abortion. Alienus 04:26, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Just to be clear, the definition I quoted was from the Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. Alienus 17:54, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I would be fine with changing death to removal. "Disconnection" or "release" sounds a little too... sci-fi dystopian society euphemism?   ⇔   | | ⊕ ⊥ (t-c-e) 07:50, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Wiktionary's definition uses "expulsion". Its definition of miscarriage uses "termination" without any further description.--Halliburton Shill 15:28, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Let me propose this:

An abortion is the termination of a pregnancy, associated with the removal of the embryo or fetus before it is capable of sustaining life.

Is this a good compromise? Alienus 17:57, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

You might have waited a little longer. A discussion that starts on 12 March can hardly relect consensus when it's still 12 March and we simply have "Is this a good compromise?" "Yes." And I fail to see how Halliburton can claim that "removal" would be "more accurate" than "death". You could argue that removal is equally accurate, and you could argue that in your opinion it's preferable. But I can't see any way in which you could claim that it's somehow less accurate to talk about the death of the fetus. To make that claim, you'd have to say that the fetus doesn't die.

To Alienus's point that "an operation that kills the fetus but doesn't remove it is called an incomplete abortion", I'd add that an operation that removes the fetus but doesn't manage to kill it, as happened in the case of Gianna Jessen and others, is called a failed abortion. So it seems that death is a necessary part of what an abortion actually is. AnnH 18:29, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Uhm, the whole point here is that abortions are performed on a fetus (or embryo) that cannot sustain life on its own. Otherwise, we don't call it an abortion, or even a "failed" or "incomplete" one. We call it a c-section.
Given the controversy about abortion, the term "death" is highly ambiguous. If it's about the death of the various cells involved, then that's not under debate. However, it could also be taken to mean the death of a human being with full human rights; homocide. This interpretation is very much under debate, so we can't incidentally favor it in our definition. We have a definition now that is accurate but neutral. What do you suggest in its place? "Abortion is the murder of a teeny tiny baby, which makes Jesus cry"? Alienus 18:36, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
'Death' itself is not ambiguous. It is true that the _nature_ of what dies is disputed: whether the fetus is just an aggregate of cells, or a human being. But undisputably the death of the fetus, whatever it might be, is a necessary condition of an abortion; if the fetus survives, the atempted abortion has not succeeded. Therefore, I strongly object against removing "death" from the definition and consider it as a strongly biased attempt to conceal the facts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.220.226.16 (talkcontribs)
'Death' is strictly correct, and as late term abortions are possible (even of a viable foetus) then I think this needs to be part of the definition. To not include death in the definition is too far, and is just mollycoddling the reader.
I feel that 'removal' and 'death' should both be part of the definition, perhaps:
An abortion is the termination of a pregnancy, associated with the removal and death of the embryo or fetus most commonly before it is capable of sustaining life.
|→ Spaully°τ 18:47, 12 March 2006 (GMT)

I wouldn't say my dictionary is mollycoddling anyone. There are 10 definitions for that word in my dictionary, and not one uses "death" or an equivalent.

Likewise, I don't think that concatenating all previous definitions leaves us with something that's an improvement. Abortions exist to end pregnancies, not to bring them to completion, so all this death talk is excessive. Alienus 19:04, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Removal of "death" is POV pushing, as it tries to hide an unpleasant fact. We can disagree all day long about whether abortions are ethically permissable or should be legal or not but to hide this biological fact is unacceptable.

The addition "most commonly before it is capable of sustaining life" does not only bloat the intro, but it is also inaccurate. An abortion can be permoved up to the birth (see partial birth abortion) - many abortions are perfomed when the fetus is already viable, hence a restriction is misleading (even when saying "most commonly"), and adds nothings to the intro. Str1977 (smile back) 19:21, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Death of what? It is unquestioned that cells are dying. Whether this group of cells constitutes a human being (or, in AnnH's terminology, a "baby") is precisely the controversy. Alienus 20:27, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Death of the fetus. It is absolutely irrelevant to the present point concerning death, what is the nature of the fetus. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.220.226.16 (talkcontribs)
(after edit conflict with Str1977) Alienus, the fact is that it is accurate to say that the fetus dies. If your dictionary doesn't say it, then your dictionary is omitting something that is accurate. Besides which, Wikipedia is an encylopaedia, not a dictionary. If your dictionary fails to report a truth, that is no reason why Wikipedia should do so. Anyway, "before it is capable of sustaining life" is definitely not a satisfactory definition, because a baby at seven months, eight months, etc. is capable of sustaining life. (Or if you argue that it isn't, on the grounds of its helplessness, then you'd have to argue that for a a full-term, wanted child, born as a healthy infant.) Gianna Jessen was capable of sustaining life. So were other "failed abortions". And so were many of the babies in late-term successful abortions. Your proposed definition is simply inaccurate and POV. AnnH 19:34, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
With all due respect, you just called a fetus a "baby", and yet you're lecturing me on proper word use? Alienus 20:24, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
That's fine and dandy if she doesn't try to include our POV into the text as fact. The text uses "fetus" or "embryo", which undoubtedly die during an abortion. Anything further is subject to disagreement and shouldn't be undul pushed either side. (unsigned by Str1977)
And yet that is precisely what she (and you) are trying to do. In contrast, what I posted comes straight from my dictionary. Alienus 22:26, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
This entire statement has no sources and no factual support. You have a section up there to support your POV with dictionary and medical references, yet you provided none. Thank you for your POV, but at this point, it is just your POV.--Halliburton Shill 20:12, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
What is POV? That an abortion results in the death of the embryo/fetus is a mere biological/medical fact. Str1977 (smile back) 20:54, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

And so we were discussing this issue when Str1977, instead of responding, decided to revert the text. Bad faith edit, immediately undone. Alienus 20:47, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

There is no bad faith about it - I reverted to the accurate version and also to the long standing consensus version. Str1977 (smile back) 20:54, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

It's both bad faith and POV. What's POV about it is that it replaces my neutral straight-from-the-dictionary definition with one that makes Jerry Falwell smile. Alienus 22:28, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Excuse me, please, can you explain what is POV on stating that fetus dies at the abortion? Do you deny that this is a medical fact? It seems you are just out of arguments. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.220.226.16 (talkcontribs)

I've flagged the article as being a POV violation. As further evidence of POV-pushing, I noticed that m-w.com offers one definition that mentions death and five that don't. Amazingly, only the one with "death" got mentioned here. Dictionary abuse is not evidence of good faith. Alienus 22:32, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

If your dictionary is inaccurate - and the "abortion = non-viablity" addition certainly is as inaccurate as it can get - we should not use it (that would be dictionary abuse). The "death" passage OTOH is a basic medical fact, a part of all abortions and the basis for all debates about abortion. Including it doesn't pick sides in the debate, doesn't decide the debate - leaving it out however does preclude any debate and hence takes a side. Hence it is POV. But, to be honest, I am not surprised about your reaction, Alienus. Str1977 (smile back) 22:36, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Given your track record, I'm not surprised by your reaction, Str1977, but I'm disappointed. Alienus 22:43, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Okay. NPA. You're two of the longest-standing, hardest-working contributors to this article and I hate to see you fighting.

This matter is covered in the thread "Termination of pregnancy sentance" in Archive 12. The introductory sentence is attempting to summarize all abortions in one line: spontaneous or induced, early or late term, and human or other species. If we are were to modify the sentence, I would go with "expulsion," as this sentence must also describe miscarriage. The word "removal" implies deliberate action and thus is only an accurate description of induced abortion. Death itself has many senses: astronomers often describe stars in the red giant stage as "dying." I don't see anything too bad in the use of "death," in a biological context, to describe abortion — the POV lays mostly in how it's read. -Kyd 22:46, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

First of all, I just want to thank you for the reminder that we need to calm down a bit. Now, onto the issue at hand.
As you point out, in many contexts, "death" can be an entirely neutral term. However, in a context where medical professionals are routinely called baby-killers and murderers, the word takes on a whole different level of meaning, to the point where it should be avoided entirely if it's feasible to do. This is, in fact, feasible. See below for two WebMD articles that are neutral, factual and yet avoid the d-word. I think we should follow that example. Alienus 23:01, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • I know death gets used in many ways, but most have a lot of emotional weight and the scientific sense is relatively rare. Consider Death penalty. Should we change "killing" to "murder" because a tiny percent accidentally kill a self-sustaining person who was actually innocent? What I'm saying is I'd prefer the use of terms that don't carry a lot of extra baggage with them, which is why I definitely agree with your suggestion for "expulsion".--Halliburton Shill 22:57, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Halliburton, is it possible that your strong reaction to the use of the word "death" may be your own emotional reaction, rather than the clinical definition? Please note: if it is possible, I am not using this point as an "attack" on your position, but as an attempt to work towards a consensus that all of us can agree with. Justin Eiler 23:02, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I can't speak for Hal, but I can tell you that I'm offended by the artificial insertion of the d-word, where medical texts find no reason to use it. Alienus 23:03, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Something more is needed than 'expulsion' however, as this would include live birth and caesarian sections etc. "before the fetus is viable" is also inadequate as late term abortions are occasionally performed on viable foetus'. I've not yet seen a definition without 'death' that adequately describes it. |→ Spaully°τ 23:06, 12 March 2006 (GMT)

I direct you to the WebMD phrasing for a counter-example. Alienus 23:08, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I've read that definition ... but I also have to remind the participants in this debate (myself definitely included) that websites and dictionaries are more than capable of being POV. I did some research ... MW tends towards a more conservative outlook, while WebMD tends towards a more liberal outlook. Either side could be capable of distortion, rhetorical excess, or "white-washing."
Maybe it would serve us all better to look at the facts, rather than playing an endless game of "dueling citations?" Justin Eiler 23:14, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
"An abortion is a procedure, either surgical or medical, to end a pregnancy by removing the fetus and placenta from the uterus."[13]
This one? I think this definition also includes caesarian section and drug induced partruition, worrying for an online medical encyclopedia. |→ Spaully°τ 23:17, 12 March 2006 (GMT)
In which case I was aborted, not born. Which is why, precisely, I think that important distinction needs to be made between "expulsion" via birth and "expulsion" via abortion. "Death" does seem emotionally fraught, and it certainly lends itself to POV if interpreted a certain way, but the same could be said of softened phrasings. From a purely editorial perspective, I don't like "death" any more than Alienus or Halliburton, but at this moment I can't conceive of what a balanced, accurate alternative would constitute. -Kyd 23:37, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

This seems a strange debate to me. If the unborn child (at any stage of development) is living in a biological sense, he or she potentially will leave the womb as a living boy or girl. If the unborn child is dead in a biological sense, it will either be expelled from womb as dead, or cause an infection in the mother. So the status of "dead" or "alive" with respect to the unborn child is always significant and neutral.

Of course. See how the debate moved from the unsupportable claim that mere using the term "death" is POV to the claim that it "lends itself to POV interpretation". But what does not lend itself? If you care, you can reference a standard medical definition of "death" so that everyone can check the intended meaning. I cannot understand why the fact that calling death what it is may disturb some of those who cause it should prevent the truth to be stated at Wikipedia. Please note: noone in this debate took in question the fact that death of the fetus is conceptually part of what abortion is. Noone attempted to insert the (allegedly) POV claim that it is a death of a human being into the definition. And yet one party continues to protest against using this term. What, if not this, is a POV attitude, I wonder? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.220.226.16 (talkcontribs)

The intent of an abortion is make a living unborn child a dead unborn child while the methods may differ. Of course, Preganancies also "end" or "terminate" in giving birth to living children (i.e. my mother's pregnancy naturally "terminated" with my birth), but because of the wide usage of the euphemism of "terminate" meaning to intentionally kill the unborn child, people need to be careful when they speak of a termination of a pregnancy in any sense other than abortion.

So, is the whole point of this discussion to calibrate how far certain euphemisms for killing the unborn have penetrated the medical vocabulary and popular culture? patsw 03:51, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Another example of the type of heavily biased opinion one hears from religious extremists. No sources, no citations.--Pro-Lick 03:43, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Interesting article on abortion, from WebMD

Let me quote a few lines from the article:

Technically, the word abortion simply refers to pregnancy loss before the twentieth week.
Most people think that a therapeutic abortion refers only to the kind of procedure sought out, for instance, by a couple who discovers they are carrying a defective fetus. This just isn’t so. A teenager who hasn’t the financial means to support a child or the support structures to take care of the child will also be a therapeutic abortion candidate. A woman who was impregnated during a rape will be a therapeutic abortion candidate. Finally, a woman who simply does not desire a child, for any combination of reasons, is also a candidate for a therapeutic abortion. The abortion is “therapeutic” because it enhances the quality of life for the mother and prevents the inevitability of a life of poverty, unreasonable struggle, or unreasonable trauma for both the mother and the unborn, unwanted fetus.

Note that this is written by a doctor and not from a partisan site. This is the first link that came up in the search, but here's what the main article says:

  • A spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage, occurs when a natural cause ends a pregnancy. If you have had or may be having a miscarriage, see the topic Miscarriage.
  • A therapeutic or induced abortion is one resulting from measures taken to intentionally end a pregnancy, using medications (medical abortion) or surgery.

Once again, this fails to focus on death, perhaps because it wasn't written by Jerry Falwell. Alienus 22:52, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Comments on WebMD article

The doctor who wrote it evidently has a strong POV to favor abortion as a good choice. That is why he uses euphemistic jabberwocky to discuss abortion. "Baby" is a medical term used by doctors to discuss the fetus (in latin: "little one"). Avoiding its use is simply an attempt to make his support for abortion more palatable (Imagine the impression the reader would have if he talked about the couple having a "defective unborn baby"!). "Termination" is most definintely a euphemism for "killing" or "death". Is this somehow not clear to you? How could it NOT be clear to you? Your paradigm is that abortion is a good choice. It may blind you to the fact that billions of people reject that view for objective reasons having nothing to do with religion. Yet those objective reasons are in accord with certain religious views, as well. Catholics believe water and light are good - in fact we use water and candles for liturgy and water and light and fire as sacred symbols. But science tells also us that water and light are good. And we can know that they are good from practical experience, without needing to rely on formal science. You cannot then claim that "water and light are good" is a religious view. Same with murder. With no religious view, one can conclude that murder is wrong and should be outlawed. It happens to comport with the ten commandments. But outlawing of murder is not simply a "religious view" that ought not be imposed on others. Same with abortion. There is much scientific, sociological and medical data - as well as practical experience - that there are many short and long term problems associated with abortion. Many academics in the fields of science, law and philosophy conclude that medically, legally, and philosophically life begins at conception. The fact that such infomation comports with the religious view that life begins at conception is interesting. But it is no basis whatsoever to claim that opposition to abortion is simply a religious view with no basis in objective rational thought. It is hard to hold that view considering people like Nat Henthoff, who is a flaming left-wing atheist columnist for the Village Voice yet an ardent absolutist prolifer regarding abortion and euthanasia, reject abortion:

Jesse Jackson's non-religious perspective
  • "Another area that concerns me greatly, namely because I know how it has been used with regard to race, is the psycholinguistics involved in this whole issue of abortion. If something can be dehumanized through the rhetoric used to describe it, then the major battle has been won. . . That is why the Constitution called us three-fifths human and then whites further dehumanized us by calling us niggers. It was part of the dehumanizing process. The first step was to distort the image of us as human beings in order to justify that which they wanted to do. . . Those advocates of taking life prior to birth do not call it killing or murder; they call it abortion. They further never talk about aborting a baby because that would imply something human. Rather they talk about aborting the fetus. Fetus sounds less than human and therefore can be justified." Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, in National Right to Life News, January 1977 (By the way, I doubt anyone would reject the civil rights activism of Dr. ML King or Jesse Jackson because their activism was inspired by religious beliefs - racism is another case where objective right and wrong can be discovered through both secular and religious analysis).
Atheist Nat Hentoff's Non-religious perspective
  • "Nearly ten years ago I declared myself a pro-lifer. A Jewish, atheist, civil libertarian, left-wing pro-lifer. Immediately, three women editors at The Village Voice, my New York base, stopped speaking to me. Not long after, I was invited to speak on this startling heresy at Nazareth College in Rochester (long since a secular institution). Two weeks before the lecture, it was canceled. The women on the lecture committee, I was told by the embarrassed professor who had asked me to come, had decided that there was a limit to the kind of speech the students could safely hear, and I was outside that limit." Nat Hentoff, Nov. 30, 1992

In conclusion, do you agree that acceptance of abortion is NOT a neutral view?

Goodandevil

Death or removal?

I will say that for my part, I think death is more accurate. However, I also feel that both Str1977 and Haliburton Shill ... may not be acting in the wisest manner. The idea here is for all of us to work together to reach a mutually acceptable and accurate consensus--not to simply ignore the other side of the debate or ascribe bad faith.

Folks, I do feel that the death of the embryo or fetus needs to be addressed ... but perhaps it would be better to include a section later that addresses the different points of view. Can we think of a way to do so that addresses both Haliburton's and STR's concerns? Justin Eiler 22:57, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

  • EXPULSION. And you can link to the religious views of abortion article to cover faith-based definitions. (unsigned by Halliburton Shill)
  • expulsion. The issue of precisely what dies can be covered elsewhere, in an NPOV manner. Alienus 23:05, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I could work with "expulsion," but then (technically speaking), a live birth fulfills the sentence "An abortion is the termination of a pregnancy associated with the expulsion of an embryo or a fetus." Justin Eiler 23:09, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Justin is correct. Death is more accurate IMHO. The first sentence is clear and accurate. Expulsion would not be accurate, as it would cover live birth, premature birth, miscarriage, Etc. It would not cover ceasarian deliveries, and right now that's the only pregnancy ending I can think of it wouldn't cover. KillerChihuahua?!? 23:29, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • The use of fetus or embryo covers that. Maybe the problem is that fetus is carrying too much common-use baggage. How about compare Wikipedia's entry for Miscarriage. I would write: "An abortion is the induced termination of pregnancy when the embryo or the fetus is incapable of surviving." If you like, you can then link to strictly medical, common, and religious definitions.--Halliburton Shill 23:38, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Would that cover late term abortions? (They do occur in places such as China.) Justin Eiler 23:40, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Exactly. The opening sentence needs to address all abortions: late or early, spontaneous or induced, chemical or surgical, human or other species. -Kyd 23:45, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
(3 ec's) The essential difference between a late term abortion and a delivery, without which they cannot be distinguished, is that in one case you end up with a live infant, in the other case, you end up with dead cells. Any attempt to equivocate that is an exercise in euphemism. The argument that abortion doesn't involve death does a disservice to the pro-choice cause, IMO, by making it appear that pro-choicers need to use semantic sleight-of-hand to maintain their point. Sure, "death" is an emotionally fraught word. Why do you think abortion is such an emotionally fraught issue? -GTBacchus(talk) 23:48, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • The problem is that bleeding results in dead cells too. Miscarriage results in dead cells. A woman having a period ends up in dead cells. Masturbation results in dead cells. We covered this before. Death is not used to describe any of them.--Halliburton Shill 00:00, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Actually, it is used to describe miscarriage, by millions of grieving would-be mothers. You carry a fetus for eight and a half months, feel it kick, decide what to name it, etc, and then miscarry, and tell me something didn't die. Nobody likes the fact that abortion invovles killing something, but euphemism is unacceptable here. -GTBacchus(talk) 00:19, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Hal and Alienus, I know you don't like the term "death" applied to abortion. If you want to know the honest truth, neither do I. But in my honest opinion, we cannot risk euphemism in this or any other WP article. Alienus, you said "However, in a context where medical professionals are routinely called baby-killers and murderers, the word takes on a whole different level of meaning, to the point where it should be avoided entirely if it's feasible to do." I quite agree--but I simply do not see that such avoidance is at all feasible. Justin Eiler 23:56, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

  • It is feasible. It was in 1911. It was in 1913. It is now. Even Wikitionary (which I'm relinking to because of apparent attention span issues or lack of a desire to thoroughly consider facts) managed to do it. Please read the many dictionary refences above.--Halliburton Shill 00:07, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, looks like someone edited the Wiktionary entry....--Andrew c 22:46, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Hal, every counter-definition you've provided is broad and imprecise. As I said to Alienus, "websites and dictionaries are more than capable of being POV." Justin Eiler 00:15, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

As a side note--please can the personal attacks. My disagreements with your proposal have nothing to do with "attention span" or "lack of desire to thoroughly consider facts." I am working with you in good faith. Justin Eiler 00:29, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

I'd prefer no faith, as in NPOV. Thank you if you are in fact not just providing a bureaucratic defense. In any event, so that we may continue to work toward a more accurate definition, my understanding of your requirements for a new definition are as follows:--Halliburton Shill 00:55, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Must be general enough to include all types of abortion, including miscarriage.
  • Must be specific enough not to include births that result in a sustainable infant.
When I speak of good faith, I am referring to the Wikipedia Guideline, not to my personal beliefs. Like you, I am striving for NPOV, but NPOV can also be achieved by noting both sides of a contentious subject. As to "definition requirements," my own personal preference would be that they be accurate. If you desire a list such as you have above, the phrasing I would prefer would be:
  • Must be general enough to include all types of abortion, including miscarriage.
  • Must be specific enough not to include births that result in a living infant.
This is a crucial question: do you consider an embryo or fetus in vivo to be equivalent to "eggs, sperm, and blood" in vivo? If you do, then I understand your point of view more completely ... but you must understand that your point of view is not necessarily accurate, nor is it necessarily the majority or consensus view. Justin Eiler 01:15, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the clarification on the requirements. Whether it's me or not, I'd like to see a definition that is both accurate and not easily misinterpreted. My main issue at the moment is less with the accuracy if read literally by a nuetral party and more with its ambiguity.--Halliburton Shill 01:27, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
What exactly is the ambiguity you're referring to, Hal? -GTBacchus(talk) 01:29, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Those who see "death of an embryo or fetus" and turn it into an accusation of murder. And in that, Hal has a good point ... but the basic fact of the matter is, if we wish to avoid some user coming to WP to quote-mine or deliberately distort the articles, the only alternative is to completely close down the encyclopedia. Justin Eiler 01:42, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Back up a second and think about what pregnancy is. The whole point of pregnancy is that an organism that has the potential to be a baby is being kept alive by the woman's body. This is not a permanent state, and it can only end in one of two ways: either the pregnancy can complete with the birth of a baby, or it can abort somewhere on the way.

The majority of fertilized eggs never make it to birth, and we have a variety of terms for the ways they can fail. Abortion is a very broad term that covers any "loss of pregnancy" (to use the WebMD phrase). In no way can loss of pregnancy be confused with successful pregnancy. The term clearly covers miscarriage, and just as clearly does not cover c-sections or birth.

Now, consider this definition:

Abortion is the loss of a pregnancy, associated with the expulsion of the embryo or fetus in such a way that does not result in a live birth.

What part of this is problematic? Alienus 03:00, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

BINGO! Alienus, I think that's a definition I can live with. What say you, people? Justin Eiler 03:36, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Hey! How dare you steal my exclamation!?!?!? ;) Justin Eiler 03:55, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
With all due respect, which is to say none, I had dibs on that exclamation point before it was even born! Alienus 04:35, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

In order to avoid yet another edit war, I'm going to hold off until others have had their chance to complain. Alienus 03:48, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Looks pretty good. The only change I'd make is to say "expulsion or removal" instead of just "expulsion", but that's a minor point. -GTBacchus(talk) 04:47, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm not against using both words if we need them. However, I looked up "expulsion" and I think that Hal is right about it being broad enough to cover all the cases we've considered. Take a look for yourself and let me know if you agree.
My main concern is that expulsion might not cover the case where an implanted embryo dies and is absorbed by the body instead of expulsed. I seem to remember that this is a possible outcome, at least for very early self-abortions. It would be nice if someone with more medical knowledge chimed in to correct me. Alienus 06:51, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Part of the requirements was to include regardless of inducement. Expulsion covers both induced and spontaneous.--Halliburton Shill 05:06, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Something else to consider before naming the punctuation marks: Does this exclude Perinatal mortality, i.e., stillbirths and neonatal death? It seems to me that an aboriton definition should. Under the proposed, a stillbirth seems to get included along with miscarriages. Neonatal seems to be excluded because by definition, a live baby exists, even if for only seconds, after the expulsion.--Halliburton Shill 05:06, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
It clearly excluded neonatal death; if the pregnancy completes, then that's that for the pregnancy, even if the newborn doesn't live long. Stillbirth is a little trickier, depending on precisely when the fetus died. However, I'm also not sure that it matters for our purposes. Alienus 06:51, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Am I the only one who does not agree with this proposal? Using the word "death" is, indeed, slanted towards one POV. However, merely avoiding it already favors the other POV. I believe the current phrasing is quite thoughtful and offers an acceptable balance. Something like Abortion is the loss of a pregnancy, associated with the expulsion of the embryo or fetus in such a way that does not result in a live birth is not a solution to me since it slants the introduction more towards one of the prevailing POVs than the current version does. Stating this as a definition makes it appear as if it is generally accepted by virtually all people. This is not what NPOV is all about. Another option (probably discussed in depth before but I'm including it since it's my preferred solution in the spirit of Wikipedia policies): We could preface the article with This article is written from the legal point of view in jurisdictions that allow elective abortion. For other viewpoints please see the Abortion debate section or the abortion debate article. - or entirely remove the debate/social issues sections to the debate article. AvB ÷ talk 05:32, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Not the only one, but pretty damned close. The reason for avoiding any mention of death is to avoid commiting to any POV. Do you have a better proposal? Alienus 06:51, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
But you never succeeded to prove that using "death" is POV. Now, by suggesting "not result in live birth" instead of "results in death", you made perfectly clear that your concern is not semantic - death and loss of life means the same, therefore, if "death" is POV, then "loss of life" is POV as well. The fact that you accept the later wordy circumscription but not the single word that means the same reveals that you simply _do not like the word_ "death", while not having any rational objections against its semantic import. IMHO, personal likings or dislikings should not count as relevant in Wikipedia. If your proposed definition is OK, then using "death" should also be OK, because it means the same. And it is to be preferred, because it is more succint. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.220.226.16 (talkcontribs)

I think that to say "does not result in a live birth" is simply a matter of semantics - to not be alive, means to be dead. What dies is a matter for debate elsewhere - be it a person with rights, a person without, a fetus - but it does not change the medical terminology. The embryo, and later the fetus, is a separate living organism apart from the mother, besides the fact that it relies on the mother for survival (so does an infant - yet if it "terminates" it is still called death). A blood cell exists in the body to fulfill bodily functions; it has no potential to survive outside of the body on its own. Likewise, sperm or eggs exist as separate organisms, but incomplete ones incapable of survival or development on their own. But even these, in the actual sense of the word "death," do die - and if you pick up a biology text and read it, you will see that spermatazoa that do not fertilize an egg die, and likewise an unfertilized egg dies. But beyond that, the embryo/fetus is, in the medical (not moral) sense of the word a human organism - therefore, when it is "terminated," like any other human organism, we use the term death to describe the event. It is NPOV, medical and biological terminology to describe the "termination" of any living organism - so why shy away from it? DonaNobisPacem 05:39, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

The term "live birth" is a medical one. In contrast, "babykiller" is not. Medical terms are painfully neutral, which is why this article favors them. Religious terms are not neutral, by the way. Alienus 06:51, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
But "death" is a perfectly neutral medical term. Noone dared to deny this fact so long. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.220.226.16 (talkcontribs)
This is an important point. If the article is based on the medical/scientific point of view, it should say so up front. That would solve several problems. It would certainly end my opposition to changing the current "death of a fetus/embryo" language. And remember, WP:SPOV has been deprecated. The scientific or medical point of view is just that: one of various POVs. It is NOT neutral - that's precisely why SPOV was deprecated. Wikipedia is not about the Truth, but about the various views found in the real world.
As for blood, consider that a white blood cell has a nucleus, so it's quite conceivable that it will one day become technologically possible to clone you using one. Does that mean that white blood cells, being potential people, will suddenly qualify as having all the rights of an infant? Will you become a babykiller if you cut yourself shaving?
This question can, of course, be easily answered. See e.g. the article by Michael B. Burke, "Sortal essentialism and the potentiality principle", March 1996, —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.220.226.16 (talkcontribs)
My advice is that you stick to math, not medicine or law. Alienus 06:51, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Can this be clarified: Is the claim being made here that "not live" does not express a point of view, and "dead" expresses a point of view? patsw 06:12, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Ok, I've had about enough. There will never be a proposal that makes everyone thrilled to tears. Some people will not rest until abortion is defined as either "the godless murder of babies by those who will soon rot in hell" or "a minor surgical procedure that we need not discuss the details of in any way".

Instead of trying to please everyone, which is impossible and undesirable, I take a weighted average, favoring the opinions of those who have shown the least bias and most reasonability (regardless of their personal views). Having done this, I sense a stronger consensus in favor of the compromise I proposed a while ago than for the current text, so I'm going to stick my neck out by putting this new text out in public view. This doesn't mean the issue is closed -- no issue is ever closed in this medium -- but it does mean that we have a new starting point. Vive le roy. Alienus 06:51, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

"Loss" implies that all induced abortions are successful. It is also more applicable to miscarriage than induced abortion, in my mind, as "loss" implies a lack of control or intent — it just happened. I think "termination" is a substitute which would be applicable to both miscarriage and induced abortion without necessarily precluding failed or incomplete inducings. Also, "expulsion of the embryo or fetus," does not account for abortion in the case of multiple pregnancy — that is why we used an indefinite article. Originally, the construction was something awkward, like, "the death of any or all fetus(es) or embryo(s)."

Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy, associated with the expulsion of an embryo or fetus, in such a way that does not result in a live birth."

I still think the current version is satisfactory ("If it isn't broken..."). However, I would consider this an acceptable alternative. -Kyd 07:08, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

While I agree the current version is satisfactory (would any POV accept "..with the death of all cells in an embryo or fetus"?), one could argue your definition with the case of an elective third-trimester breech abortion -- where the baby's body is delivered, and the head is still in the birth canal. Pro-lifers say it was a live birth and later murdered -- that the baby has been alive for months (regardless of which side of the mother's cervix he was on); pro-choicers say the baby was not fully born, hence it was not alive. Jkister 23:47, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
Actually, no. Pro-choicers would say it wasn't fully born; therefore it wasn't a baby, or wasn't a person, or wasn't a human being; they wouldn't say it wasn't alive. AnnH 02:08, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
The reason I used "loss", from the WebMD quote, is that it figures into the recognition that there are two ways to end a pregnancy. "Terminate" just means end, while "loss" specifies which of the two possible ends is involved. Consider that loss is the opposite of completion, while termination applies to either.
I'm not going to revert your change, but I wish you hadn't made it without talking about it here first. If you agree that "loss" is more accurate or if there's a sufficient outcry, then we'll terminate "terminate". Alienus 07:16, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
The whole point is that this subject has been discussed ad nauseum (Archive 12). We've been down this road before, and, for good or ill, "death" survived. And, really, it's upsetting to see so much input from so many users directed to excorcising POV from a single sentence when my Progress Report above (which outlines whole sections that still need to be written) is being quite thoroughly ignored. -Kyd 07:39, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Maybe next weekend. I did add this to my watch list and did add a useful medical, non-biased link to the external links. Also, for the history, there are 2 entries with links I made above that could be used for additional historical context (search for 1911 and 1913).--Halliburton Shill 08:47, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

I do understand your frustration; there's a lot left to be done on this article before we can rest. As this incident has pointed out, it's a lot easier to focus people's attention on fine-tuning a key sentence than to get them to write a new section. Perhaps one way to get past this is to turn your progress report into a list of items that needed to be acted on, so that people can more clearly see what they're being asked to do. Alienus 08:07, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, folks, but this alleged "consensus" (a word used too loosely these days) is in no way feasible.

  • "Loss" may be just a bit uncommon compared to "termination", but the removal of "death" is POV pushing to the highest degree.
  • The death of the embryo or fetus is a medical, biological fact - how to view this fact in ethical and other terms is a different matter. If some feel their view threatened by an accurate coverage of medical facts they should reexamine their view in light of the facts and vice versa. Maybe we should omitt the fossil record from evolution to make that article more "NPOV".
  • Justin, I'd prefer to act differently too and I was not the one to bring "bad faith" into the play. And nowhere have I used "religious views" or "faith-based definitions" - the only one that makes religious allusions in Alienus - as strawmen. I am all for working together, but if someone tries to eleminate basic facts, should we negotiate about that?

Str1977 (smile back) 08:59, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

In response to questions above: No, I do not have a better proposal than the two I gave above. My apologies if I was not clear. To reiterate and clarify:
  1. I think in this case it would be better to describe the subject from an important well-documented POV instead of trying to create a "common text". I suggested the legal POV. Other viewpoints can be described separately - I suggested the Debate article since it does not require a lot of space to describe the other viewpoints. FWIW, this is not linked with my opinion on abortion. It is linked with my opinion on how to present information where it's impossible to find a "common text" definition, and the article is given to endlessly recurring problems due to strong POV feelings. Just think of the incredible waste of time, time that could have been spent editing. Please also note that I say find, not create. I think Wikipedia policies could have been observed a bit better. For one thing, if the current attempt at building a consensus is any indication, I would say the article depends too much on original research. Also, we do not need to reconcile parties or integrate viewpoints (impossible anyway in this case). We need to describe important viewpoints.
  2. If and only if most editors feel that a "common text" is truly required here, my proposal is to leave the definition as it is now. I do not share Alienus' opinion that leaving out the word "death" equals leaving out any and all POVs. It is my considered opinion that "death" looks somewhat supportive of the pro-life POV in the eyes of those with a pro-abortion POV, while avoiding to call death "death" has an opposite effect that I think is even stronger.
I'm clearly not the only one who seems to support proposal #2. Also, people have not really had time to think about or respond to proposal #1. And I do not believe that Alienus' assessment of other editors' reasonability or commitment to NPOV should influence how much weight one has to give to their opinion. For one thing, I do not know him or the other editors here (with the exception of Justin - we met while struggling with User:Jason Gastrich). I cannot assess Alienus' ability to assess opinions, if you know what I mean. But it needn't be all that complicated. A simple straw poll in a day or two will be sufficient to gauge sentiments and, as always, I am quite willing to defer judgment to the majority (unless it's clear that policies are being violated).
Finally a note about the suggestion that this is just a minor problem not worthy of discussion where so much work is still waiting to be done. It is not a minor point at all - it's actually the main difference between the main POVs. Solving it will end the waste of time to a large extent. And if you truly believe it's a minor point, you may want to consider dropping it to make time for more important edits. AvB ÷ talk 10:36, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree 100% with Str1977. Removing "death", or trying to replace it by a euphemism is POV. It may not be a universally-acknowledged fact that the thing that dies is a baby, but there's no question that, whatever it may be, it dies. Despite the sarcasm and sneers of Alienus, I do not argue for the use of the words "baby", or "murder" in the article, and neither, as far as I can see, does anyone else on this page. To use those words would be POV, because there are people who argue that the fetus is a baby, and there are people who argue that it isn't a baby. There are people who argue that abortion is murder, and there are people who argue that it isn't murder. Therefore, we must all respect NPOV, and avoid presenting any of these POVs as a fact. I am not aware of anyone in the whole world who argues that the fetus does not die as a result of an abortion. (Or, if it doesn't, as in the cases of Gianna Jessen and others, that the abortion went wrong — it was a failed abortion.) So, this is a fact, not open to dispute, and Wikipedia does not have a policy of removing "facts" on the grounds that they may produce an emotional reaction. We don't call Hitler evil (although he was) in the article because it's POV. It's subjective; some people don't think he was evil. However, we don't try to gloss over the fact that people died because of his policies, regardless of how reading such facts might make people "feel". So we don't call abortion "murder", but we do report that the fetus dies.

HEAR, HEAR! I completely agree and support this view. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.220.226.16 (talkcontribs)

A minor point — Alienus said at 3.48 GMT that he was going to hold off until others had had their chance to complain. He then inserted his version at 6.54 GMT. A brief look at my user page will show that my time zone is GMT. I don't think I had much chance to complain in the middle of the night. This was argued at length some months ago, by both sides, and we reached a consensus to use the word "death". It's quite counterproductive to start removing it within hours of posting an objection to it. AnnH 10:44, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Ann's point that, regardless of the terminology used to describe the fetus (collection of cells, baby, tissue, etc.), the fact remains that the removal results in the death of that fetus. It's a fact and it would be negligent to ignore it. --Elliskev 13:58, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
And in case its buried in the archives and string of posts above, I also agree. I prefer the previous wording, which was concise and accurate. KillerChihuahua?!? 14:12, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

"Interruption of pregnancy or expulsion of the product of conception before the fetus is viable is called abortion." "A voluntary induced termination of pregnancy is called an elective abortion...." - Brunner & Suddarth’s Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing, 10th edition, Chapter 46 Assessment and Management of Female Physiologic Processes, p. 1398-1399--Halliburton Shill 17:36, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

(2nd attempt) Can this be clarified: Is the claim being made here that "not live" does not express a point of view, and "dead" expresses a point of view? patsw 17:38, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
I just wanted to throw out here, Bravo everybody. I tried to think of the most controversial thing I could and see how it was handled and from my perspective, everyone is struggling really hard to be as neutral as possible. Thank you all for your time and care. Alexa411 21:32, 13 March 2006 (UTC)Alexa411

Wow, this is pointless. Alienus 22:12, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

If you believe it is pointless, then we need to revert to the consensus sentence that was adopted before this discussion came up. Talk:Abortion/Archive_12 Justin Eiler 22:30, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Because it's pointless, I really don't care what you do now. Twice, I've made good-faith attempts to correct a legitimate problem, each time getting approval here before acting. Twice, I've had my text reverted. This is pointless. You people deserve a bad article, so you're free to have one. Alienus 22:47, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Twice! Oh my goodness, you long-suffering martyr. I'm sorry if your diapers are dirty, Alienus, but consensus on a controversial subject is difficult – that's different from pointless. Those willing to work for consensus are willing for it to take scores and scores of edits, over months and months. If your frustration threshhold is so low, avoid controversial articles. Me, I think we're getting somewhere, and I repeat Alexa411's encouragement: we're doing good work here. Let's keep it up. -GTBacchus(talk) 00:44, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
WP:CIVIL
Alienus 04:01, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

A couple of things:

1.)This seems to be getting mighty personal and petty - let's try to focus on the issue at hand. 2.)I wanted to clarify my statement above - I had a cut-off sentence there that might give a different understanding to what I was trying to say:

It is NPOV, medical and biological terminology to describe the "termination" of any living organism

should read

It is NPOV, medical and biological terminology to describe the "termination" of any living organism as death. DonaNobisPacem 05:30, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Just another thought to add to the pile on how we handle the abortion/death link: If a fetus dies in the womb, and the mother's body does not expel it, so she requires manual removal... how does our currrent wording reflect that? Is there one abortion (termination of pregnancy) or two (termination and removal) involved? The miscarriage article refers to this scenario as a "missed" abortion (not an actual abortion?), sometimes requiring a standard abortion procedure (D&C, though it isn't refered to as an abortion). Compare with the terms "complete abortion" and "incomplete abortion", which focus not on the time of termination/death of the fetus, but the actual expulsion of the fetus, regardless of the time, or cause, of death.Ronabop 07:39, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

"Associated with" is rather ambiguous, describing the entire spectrum between "caused by" (e.g. spontaneous abortion after the fetus has died) and "in order to cause" (e.g. elective abortion). Your example falls somewhere in between (induced/surgical abortion after the fetus has died). But I think this level of ambiguity is just right for this subject. It is explained in detail in the article. AvB ÷ talk 08:23, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Comment: Because abortions are about ending the pregnancy, and, as cited above, don't always result in the fetus dieing (no stats provided, but I'm guessing a lot less often than smoking causes deformities and other birth defects), it seems anything to do with life or death should be removed and stick to something like "ending pregnancy via expulsion". It may be technically possible in the future, like with stem-cells and cloning, to both abort the pregnancy and re-implant the embryo/fetus in another woman that wants to reproduce.--Pro-Lick 01:45, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

It wouldn't be an abortion then. And there is such a thing as a premature birth that "ends a pregnancy", where the baby is kept in an incubator for several months. That's not an abortion. A successful abortion always ends in the death of the fetus/baby. AnnH 02:08, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Not an abortion according to who? According to what verifiable citable source? I don't see one here. I see the "other side" providing medical sources that indicate an end to the pregnancy pre-viability. Assuming your reference accurate, even it agrees. The fetus needed extraordinary care and still both barely lived, and then has gone on with severe mental and physical handicaps. Only because of the medical technology and doctors available did the fetus develop and live.--Pro-Lick 03:01, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
As it states in the article - if the fetus survives the abortion, to become a neonate, it is termed a "failed abortion" - ie, the fetus did not die, so the intent was not carried through. DonaNobisPacem 05:10, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Funny that I used the case of Gianna Jessen to back up an argument recently (the argument that "before it is capable of sustaining life" was not an accurate part of a definition of abortion. What happened next? One of the people arguing on the other side, instead of agreeing that abortions are sometimes performed after the fetus is capable of sustaining life, nominated the article for deletion! AnnH 02:08, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Funny that shortly after that that user nominated it, the user was blocked. Seems both sides are playing with the rules, so your point is?--Pro-Lick 03:01, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
The methods differ, but the intent of an induced abortion is the death of an unborn child. An unsuccessful abortion terminates a pregnancy in the live birth of a human being. patsw 03:26, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
  • No sources, no citations. Still. Make you opinion verifable, then we can proceed. Consider this page as an example: search for/scroll down to Why Do Women Resort to Abortion.--Pro-Lick 03:54, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

From Medical Terminology: An Illustrated Guide, Chapter 15 - The Female Reproductive System; Pregnancy and Birth, p. 398: An abortion is loss of an embryo or fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy or before a weight of 500 g (1.1 lb).--Pro-Lick 14:48, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

There's also the practice of stopping the fetal heart from as early as the end of the second trimester (e.g. by injection into the heart or the umbilical) before the fetus is removed (example). It is called feticide (sometimes fetocide) in the medical lit. on abortion. This procedure prevents a fetus from feeling pain, should it be able to feel pain in the first place. It also thoroughly prevents a viable fetus (i.e. a baby) from surviving the abortion procedure. (Survival before the third trimester is rare, but it does happen from time to time.) Still, I am not sure this no-brainer can be included in the article without reference to a (reputable, verifiable, notable) source. One person's no-brainer is another person's original research.
Unless I'm missing something, the primary source information on the above is not provided in the article. I think it should be - perhaps at the bottom of the Surgical abortion section, something along the lines of: From around week xx a separate feticide can be the first phase of the abortion procedure (or use consensus euphemisms - my point is that the info should be there, I don't care how it's called) [14] AvB ÷ talk 16:53, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
  • What's missing: the links provided obove do not refer to it as "feticide" or "fetocide" and the there is no source for this claim.--Pro-Lick 01:33, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
You may have misread my question. Before sourcing and adding the info, I asked to make sure I hadn't overlooked it in the current version of the article. The links above refer to (1) current use and (2) the start of the debate from where current practice evolved. I provided these start and end points for any editors interested in the history and current use of this crucial element of abortion. From there they can check things out for themselves and see how notable this is. AvB ÷ talk 11:02, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Uterine 2

Apparently, lawyers use the phrase "Uterine 2" as a short name for the Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Intra-Uterine Contraception, a 250-page synopsis of the 1964 conference, edited by S.J. Segal, A.L. Southam, and K.D. Shafer. The conference was funded by the Population Council, a non-profit organization founded by John D. Rockefeller III. According to my buddy in law school, Uterine 1 and Uterine 2 are known as where a lot of semantic decisions were made that have shaped the national abortion debate to this day. I have here with me a physical copy of Uterine 2, obtained via Inter-library loan from the local medical school.

Looking through the book, it appears to document a conference, taking place over two days in October 1964, in which studies were presented, and then discussions held after each round of presentations. The first round of presentations and discussions concerns "Clinical and Field Programs" and the second round (of two) concerns "Bio-Medical Studies". The quotation I was looking for comes from the second round of discussions. I quote at length:

Dr. Whishik: Discussion of the exact point at which intra-uterine devices exercise their contraceptive effect is bound to involve some examination of terminology. This is not merely an academic question. In a Moslem country such as Pakistan, if it is considered that the intra-uterine device is an abortifacient, this obviously would have a bearing on national acceptance or rejection of the method. I think, therefore, that careful attention should be given to a definition of terms.
I do not think it is necessary for us to change the traditional definition of conception as being the point of fertilization, but the definition of abortion seems to be one that needs to be considered. Abortion, as the prefix indicates, means that something is taken away, and the taking away of an embryo which has successfully implanted itelf would seem to be abortion. This has basis in the fact that we know in human beings a certain percentage of fertilized ova seem to be extruded through the uterus without there being any obvious pathology. Some of them implant and some of them do not, and we do not consider that an abortion has occurred because the fertilized ovum fails to rest in the uterus.
Dr. Tietze: Yesterday I had opportunity to report on 142 intra-uterine and seven ectopic pregnancies with the device in situ. We therefore know very well that some ova are fertilized in the preseence of the coil. But until we have more evidence that this is a usual event we should be very careful in stating that this is a mode of action of the intra-uterine device, and not disturb those people for whom this is a question of major importance.
Dr. Mastroianni: The philosophical question as to whether or not the ova are fertilized among patients wearing the intra-uterine device has certainly been stressed. I think this is worthy of just two comments.
At the conference today we have seen one human fertilized ovum. This was fertilized. However, there is no way of knowing what would have happened to this ovum if it had been allowed to reside in the fallopian tube and had eventually been transferred into the uterus. We do know that among patients wearing the contraceptive device, both ectopic and intra-uterine pregnancies, which incidentally go to term, are entirely within the realm of possibility. So that we can't really extrapolate from the fact that we have recovered one fertiliized ovum in a fallopian tube and extend that to the point where we must assume that the ova in general are fertilized among people wearing the intra-uterine device.
Among the monkeys studied in our laboratory there is one point which I did not stress because at the time I did not think it was terribly relevant. Obviously, in the monkey the only way to know whether the ova are fertilized is to recover them. We can't find them. However, among the group of monkeys in which the fallopian tube was ligated on one side, we did recover ova. All but one of those ova were still in cumulus; they were not yet denuded down to the level of the corona.
On the other side no ova were recovered whatsoever. In this group of monkeys a laparotomy was performed at such time as we would expect to see ova, if they were available in the fallopian tube for fertilization. I think that in general when the ova are still in cumulus, fertilization may not quite yet be possible. Certainly fertilization is possible once the cumulus cells are dispersed and the corona radiata remain. So that whatever little evidence we have in the primate would suggest that the ova are extruded from the fallopian tube prior to fertilization.
Chairman Taylor: It has been suggested that we ought to set our definition that pregnancies start at implantation. I think it ought to occur to us that we are talking about a theological definition, not a biological one, and this group can't possibly help in making this definition.
Dr. Tietze: I would like to take issue with the chair on what I hope has not been a definitive theory.
I fully agree with you sir, that the time at which a human life or any life begins is a philosophical question, but I submit that throughout history the theologians and the jurists have always taken into account and have listened to the prevailing medical and biological consensus of the times, and I think this is still true. If a medical consensus develops and is maintained that pergnancy, and therefore, life, begins at implantation, eventually our brethren from the other faculties will listen.

...and that's the end of the discussion, end of the conference. The text I've just quoted comes from pages 212 and 213 of the Proceedings. Looking beyond that point in the book, I see a Summation given by Alan F. Guttmacher, M.D. There's a relevant two paragraphs in there:

Before I conclude I should like to remind you that we are not the only group to think about the difference between the prevention of conception and the production of an abortion. It was called to my attention that the British Council of Churches, in their pamphlet on human reproduction which was issued in 1962, made a statement that may give a degree of solace to those of us who are concerned about the theological attitudes. They said: "Our conclusion was that a distinction must be drawn between biological life and human life, and that in the absence of more precise knowledge, nidation may most conveniently be assumed to the the point at which the former becomes the latter. We agreed that abortion as a means of family limitation is to be condemned. But a woman cannot abort until the fertilized egg cell has nidated and thus becomes attached to her body... we see no objection... to the use of a technique which would prevent implantation. Such a method, which might be described as contra-nidation, could also quite properly be called contraception."*
Obviously there are some eminent theologians on our side even if it is proved that fertilization is not prevented by the IUCD. I share Dr. Mastrioanni's hope - perhaps his belief - that the IUCD prevent fertilization, but even if that should not be the case, if fertilization is achieved, it doesn't necessarily mean that the whole battle is lost and that we are producing abortion.

The footnote refers to Human Reproduction: a study of some emergent problems and question in the light of the Christian faith, 44-45. British Council of Churches, London, 1962.

So, that's the source supporting the claim that the definition of abortion was manipulated for non-medical reasons in the 1960s. Opinions? If anyone wants more context, just ask. -GTBacchus(talk) 21:57, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Thank you much, I for one am quite appreciative of you obtaining this and posting your findings here. As to how to utilize the data... I need to think. KillerChihuahua?!? 22:26, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
GTBacchus, at first blush this looks like two separate topics in one discussion:
  1. The contraceptive action of IUDs (which work as a spermicide/ovicide, see IUD), and
  2. The definition of pregnancy.
Are these two topics connected in the omitted section, or is there a shift from the action of an IUD to the definition of pregnancy? I think the omitted section may be relevant, though I'm reticent to ask you to do more typing. Justin Eiler 05:02, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm happy to add the omitted section tomorrow, when I'm back at the office where the book is. The omitted passage struck me as a bit less relevant, but I don't at all mind completing the excerpt, and right now I don't actually remember what was there. I wonder if this sort of thing would have a place at Wikisource? -GTBacchus(talk) 05:42, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
For a recap, this is the quote 84 brought up originally:
The advice was not isolated. At the 1964 Population Council symposium, Dr. Samuel Wishik pointed out that acceptance or rejection of birth control would depend on whether it caused an early abortion. Dr. Tietze, of Planned Parenthood and the Population Council suggested, as a public relations ploy, "not to disturb those people for whom this is a question of major importance." Tietze added that theologians and jurists have always taken the prevailing biological and medical consensus of their times as factual, and that "if a medical consensus develops and is maintained that pregnancy, and therefore life, begins at implantation, eventually our brethren from the other faculties will listen." {Source for quotes: Proceedings of the Second International Conference, Intra-Uterine Contraception, held October 2-3, 1964, New York City, ed. Sheldon Segal, et al.., International Series, Excerpta Medica Foundation, No. 86, page 212.}
And this is 84's proposed change: Since 1965 pregnancy has been defined by the medical community as beginning at the implantation of the embryo. Some people prefer the former medical definition, which defines pregnancy as beginning at conception. After reading the original source, is 84's proposed contribution appropriate for this article? --Andrew c 05:22, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
Hi, Andrew. I'd prefer some documentation that conception was actually regarded as the "beginning of pregnancy" before 1964 before considering such a question. 84's source for his quote is wildly POV, and (as I noted before), there have been people on both sides of the abortion debate who have not hesitated to stoop to dishonesty. (That's not an accusation of anyone, least of all the contributors here--simply a strong desire to verify everything.) Justin Eiler 05:32, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree - we would still need a source verifying that, before Uterine 2, the medical consensus was that pregnancy, "and therefore life" (whoa), began at conception. The evidence that we have now suggests almost nothing in that direction, except perhaps that some portion of the medical community hadn't considered that definition to even be a medical issue. -GTBacchus(talk) 05:42, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
First off, thank you GT for tracking down that source and sharing it with us. Secondly, I know I didn't post my take on this issue, instead only recapping 84's position. I don't know if I can objectively help out on this issue, because of my POV. The way I see it, it makes 100% medical sense to me that an embryo must implant before pregnancy begins. Test tubes, even if they contain a fertilized egg, do not become pregnant. Fertilized eggs fail to implant very commonly, and these are not considered abortions or miscarriages. If the definition changed in the 60s, it is because the knowledge of these scenarios came up. I think 84s wording is misleading, but maybe I do not fully understand the history behind the definition change.--Andrew c 06:31, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

I have just added the section I omitted earlier - it's Dr. Mastroianni's bit about the monkeys. I don't know whether his English was a bit stilted, or whether the person transcribing made some mistakes - I think my typing has been accurate.

Also, this is something to note: Uterine 2 is a primary source. Wikipedia is really supposed to be a tertiary source. It would be good to have a secondary source actually indicating that Uterine 2 was an influential event that affected subsequent medical vocabulary. I think it certainly was influential, but Uterine 2 can't say that about itself. Next time I talk to my law school buddy, I'm going to ask him where he read about Uterine 2, and where one might find a good gloss on the conference and its consequences. Maybe someone else will turn up something else in the meanwhile. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:06, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Indeed. I believe it is also imperative to determine the pre-1964 definition of pregnancy. From the above quote, I can't determine if they were changing a definition that had already been agreed upon by the medical community, or clarifying an issue that had never been completely looked at. Dr. Tietse's comment is ambiguous, but Dr. Guttmacher's comments seem to indicate that the Church of England considered pregnancy to begin at implantation in 1962--but the CoE is composed of theologians. What does the medical community say pre-1964? Justin Eiler 03:35, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
In this framework of pregnancy begins at implantation: Is whatever you call the human cells which implant, living, dead, or inert? patsw 03:15, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
I think you should ask Dr. Tietze that. He's the one who said, above "pregnancy, and therefore life, begins at implantation". As for your multiple choice question, I find the idea that a fetus at any arbitrary stage of development can always be categorized as "living", "dead" or "inert"... extremely problematic. The world is messy, and edges are grey and fuzz into each other. Those categories are way too neat to be applicable near the edges. Sorry. The answer to your question is mu, as far as I'm concerned. -GTBacchus(talk) 03:35, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
In reality, no, the world is not that messy. What implants into the uterine wall is already living and has been living and dividing for a few days to a week. You were once "it". patsw 06:00, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, Patsw, if you already had your answer, and weren't going to accept any other, why did you ask the question? -GTBacchus(talk) 14:31, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

I have to extend my thanks, GTBacchus, for going above and beyond in terms of research. Frankly, though, I don't know what to make of this information. However, 84's addition is a still rather politicized presentation of facts, in my mind, as it has not been conclusively established that Uterine 2 was a redefinition and not a refinement. -Kyd 04:59, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

It wasn't much trouble to find, really. Just a phone call to a librarian who talked me through filling out a web form, and then a walk across the quad a week later. It does seem more like "serious" research when it isn't confined to Google or maybe PubMed, though ;). As for what to make of it or do with it, I dunno. I think we need a little bit more information to put it into context, so I'm working on tracking some of that down. It might take a bit longer, but the article won't run away in the meanwhile. - GTBacchus(talk) 05:49, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
You're a maven of actual research; I'm just a hack with too much time to search Google. Together, we can achieve great things! Ahem... -Kyd 06:54, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Writing in 1920, even Margaret Sanger understood the medical definition of pregnancy to begin at conception, and that any deliberate interruption of the pregnancy after conception was an abortion http://www.bartleby.com/1013/10.html:

"Several of these sperm cells start, but only one enters the ovum and is absorbed into it. This process is called fertilization, conception or impregnation. If no children are desired, the meeting of the male sperm and the ovum must be prevented. When scientific means are employed to prevent this meeting, one is said to practice birth control. The means used is known as a contraceptive. If, however, a contraceptive is not used and the sperm meets the ovule and development begins, any attempt at removing it or stopping its further growth is called abortion."

136.215.251.179

There is an important distinction to be made, GaE--was Sanger aware of the delay between conception and implantation? At what point was that delay discovered? (And as for your response on our discussion, I'm weighing the statements and doing some checking--I want to give a measured response, even though it takes longer. Thanks for your patience.) Justin Eiler 16:17, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

For peer reviewed research demonstrating that perhaps a majority of ob/gyns reject the idea that pregnancy does not begin until implantation, see [15]. Pay particular attention to the bold sections. Also, note that according to this opeer-reviewed research, the new ACOG definitions were established in 1965 and 1972. 84.146.221.240

NPOV tag

I'm sick of seeing the NPOV tag at the top of the page just because we disagree about one single word in the introduction. What can we do to come to resolution and remove the tag? I understand the connotations the word 'death' has in the context of this debate, however I am willing to compromise and let this one word slip by if it means getting the tag off the page (besides, the page wasn't tagged for the past few weeks,despite the article containing the word).--Andrew c 02:51, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

  • I'd be OK moving to the NPOV-section tags. That would help highlight the biggest problems. As far as I can tell, the NPOV tag happened before the definition dispute, so there's probably still areas (I found one) that need work. Also keep in mind photo bias. Words are not the only things that communicate.--Pro-Lick 04:30, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Pro-lick, what's the value in adding a second NPOV tag? The article is already tagged as NPOV, can't we just discuss what's wrong with the section and fix it? What change do you propose? -GTBacchus(talk) 04:27, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

  • See above. Both as example and to highlight an a specific problem area.
  • We can discuss. I'd like that, which is another why. The problem of that area has mostly to do with eugenics and other examples. The wording makes it sound like it's common practice. Sort of like the well known bias in Fox News employing "Some people say..." and "Some sources say..." without citations or context in order to make a point seem more significant than it is.--Pro-Lick 04:38, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Fair enough. I've removed the POV tag from the top of the article; let's try just tagging sections, as necessary. That'll be more constructive anyway, I expect. If we keep discussion running here as we edit, we should be able to get away without using too many. -GTBacchus(talk) 05:05, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

So, how is the last paragraph of the incidence section deficient? I, too, object to the Fox News version of NPOV, "Some people say," but in fact it's sometimes impossible to avoid weasel terms. As for the picture issue, see Archive 16, "Pictures?" There is currently no counterbalancing picture of pro-choice activists available for our free use on Wikipedia. If you have taken such pictures, or know someone who has, then we would really appreciate the contribution. -Kyd 06:01, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

You can't just throw up NPOV tags wherever you please like G&E/84/136 did. It's obtrusive and probably in violation of WP:POINT. -Kyd 06:33, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

  1. We just agreed to NPOV section tags.
  2. You restored a POV photo more appropriate for the prolife or anti-abortion articles using this as justification: ee Talk: Archive 16, "Pictures?" User agreement picture NPOV in context of photo of people expressing a POV (i.e. "Abortion debate"). No Wiki-licensed pro-C counterpart at time.) On that same page, you write "The photograph of the pro-life activists could be considered NPOV if it is presented in the context of individuals expressing their POV." Only 2 people seriously commented on it. Your choice, remove photo, keep tag, add a similar photo of a counter-movement. I'm not going to just grant anyone their POV because they link to archives. Obfuscation.--Pro-Lick 06:50, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
I never agreed to the use of NPOV section tags. That was GTBacchus, and, I believe, his acceptance of them was qualified: "...let's try just tagging sections, as necessary [emphasis mine]." Which doesn't mean you have license to go tagging everything under the sun before there's even been substantive discussion.
You'll also note, from Archive 16, that I expressed desire for a pro-choice picture long before you: "A balancing image of pro-choice demonstaters would be nice; however, I am unable to unearth one." We must contend with the issue of copyright; we cannot simply pluck some random picture from the bowels of Google:Image Search in the hopes of quickly resolving what has been a non-issue up until this point.
And, for what it's worth, my POV is the one without a picture, although that's irrelevant. -Kyd 07:16, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

I've added finding a picture of pro-choice demonstrators to the to-do list. Does anyone know where we could find one which would be licensed for use on Wikipedia? -Kyd 06:46, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Thank you. I'm guessing that any pro-abortion group would be happy to share. To further illustrate the POV bias problem here, that photo is used in Wiki's pro-life article and the Bush photo is used in the anti-abortion article.--Pro-Lick 07:19, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Sorry for being harsh. This article has been met with its fair share of accusations of bias toward both sides. Pictures have been something of a low priority here. An effort to solidify consensus for an informal standard forbidding "shock pictures" (or links to sites with shock pictures) within the main Abortion article, which had some precedent, imploded disasterously. I guess there hasn't been much impetus to search for pictures outside of those already hosted on Wikimedia since then. -Kyd 07:35, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
I found this image already on wikipedia Image:March.jpg, but I don't really care for it. I'll see if I can't find something better, but for now will this do?--Andrew c 15:57, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Great work! Actually, I rather like the picture — grainy as it is — with the obelisk as a centrepiece. The thematic contrast between it and the pro-life picture is increased by the fact that both were captured in Washington, D.C. (I imagine it's a hot spot for protests, but, nonetheless...). I've removed the NPOV section-tag as the problem seems to have been remedied. -Kyd 16:36, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

NPOV tag doesn't belong to the section. The wording is pervectly npov and NPOV tag is not intended to highlight "problem". You may not like fox-like wording but it is considered npov. 'cause this is just a section. and detailed explanation and citation one could find in abortion debates article. --tasc 07:25, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Provide a source that says that wording is NPOV. Otherwise, it's your POV. Of course, if it is just a section and detailed explanation can be deferred, why not limit the use of "some". Here's a sample rewrite:
Some abortions are undergone as the result of societal pressures. Some are extremely rare, such as eugenics (which also forces pregnancies and partner selection). Others are more more common, such as....
Infanticide is another word that either requires more context or should not be associated at all. That's an obvious "baby killer", "baby murder" loaded word.--Pro-Lick 07:47, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
What is that supposed to mean? "We agreed?" Do you understand that this is not an agreement in a first place. And than who agreed? i don't see here any agreement. --tasc 07:33, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
  • It means you can use NPOV section tags, too, for any concerns you have. As stated above, NPOV sections instead of the entire article to highlight problem areas.--Pro-Lick 07:47, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
As I think npov tag should be used in cases where agreement weren't achived regarding wording, content or factual accuracy. I do not see such a dispute on this page! --tasc 07:57, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
  • As the entire article was previously marked, it may require more than a couple hours for all the specific disputes to come up. I, for 1, am contesting, as already stated in detail and highlighted in the article. How about we give it a day or 2 to see how it works. The full article tag was given much longer.--Pro-Lick 08:06, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
The article tag concerned a single word. We're not on a POV witch-hunt now. If you go hunting for witches, you will always, without fail, find witches. There are other things to be done. -Kyd 08:23, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Some readers will assume the NPOV section tag applies to the entire Incidence section. I've changed that tag to refer to the disputed paragraph only. AvB ÷ talk 13:26, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Avb made a nice adjustment to a NPOV section tag to make it specifiy "paragraph". Not sure how to request more tags, but it looks as if Avb definitely had to put some extra work in to pull this off. If somebody will point me, I'll support an offical NPOV paragraph tag.--Pro-Lick 15:08, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Undue weight given to anti-abortion

Consider the following section under the NPOV policy. Then consider the Public opinion sub-section in the Abortion article.--Pro-Lick 07:55, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

The undue weight section of NPOV has nothing to do with the public opinion section of this article. To begin with, pro-choice versus pro-life isn't some kind of factual dispute like a round earth versus a flat earth or evolution versus intelligent design versus creationism versus whatever. In addition, the section simply reports the beliefs of people within the shades of gray that make up the abortion question, rather than presenting some kind of dissertation on the views themselves.   ⇔   | | ⊕ ⊥ (t-c-e) 08:32, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
  • The point is to show that anti-abortion is the not the majority POV. Weight should be given based on POV: "Now an important qualification. Articles that compare views need not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views...." We have just the reverse going on here.--Pro-Lick 08:40, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Consider the stats from the US poll: 33% said that it should be "permitted only in cases such as rape, incest or to save the woman's life," 17% said that it should "only be permitted to save the woman's life," and 5% said that it should "never" be permitted. Basically, 55 percent of people oppose abortion in most circumstances (ie, the "unwanted pregnancy" - rape/incest account for <1% of abortions, and life-saving abortions are rare - I can't call to mind any stats right now), and therefore fall into some portion of the anti-abortion movement. What makes this a minority view? Even in more liberal countries (Canada for instance) we see that 14% of the popn oppose abortion in all cases. Although this is a minority in the statistical sense, it is not a "fringe" view; so it can be stated briefly(which it is).
But aside from that, I think you are missing the point of the WP:NPOV - Undue weight policy. The point of that is to insure FACTS are presented as held by the majority of the population. A debate is a viewpoint BASED upon facts and philosophies of the debating parties - implying that neither is necessarily right, even if the facts they use are, or one is in the majority. (the article cannot say the fetus has/does not have a soul, for instance - it simply cannot be quantified, proven or non-proven - but it is a POV for some Pro-Lifers that it does, and a POV for some Pro-Choicers that it does not. The majority view of the Pro Choicers does not make it a fact). The importance here is that the section explains the debate itself - and neither side tries to say "You aren't actually debating that!" That is to say, if you went to a Pro-Choice person, and said "is this what most pro life persons believe: that the fetus has personhood and rights?" they would agree with that statement. Therefore, no one is disputing the facts of the debate itself, so the presentation of the debate IN ITS ENTIRETY IS STILL NPOV. What WP:NPOV policy would try to prevent is the article blatantly stating the fetus was a person with rights as the truth. The section certainly does not give an extremely detailed description of the pro-life philosopy - that would take a book, I kid you not - and definitely does not present it as the truth, so what's the beef?
In addition to all the above, the fact that various countries still prohibit abortion, and that challenges are being presented in notable courts in the US right now, gives weight to presenting the argument of both sides for the sake of those trying to understand why it is illegal/challenged to this day in some areas.DonaNobisPacem 20:02, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
PS - again in addition to the above : ) - the stats afterward allow the reader to see the breakup of those opposed/for abortion in a variety of cases, so there is no case for your argument that the reader is mislead into thinking that the pro-life view is held by more people than it is. DonaNobisPacem 20:08, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

This article tends to dismiss that half of the world's population opposes abortion - for a variety of reasons. This article and the bulk of its editors tend to frame all information as if the standard view is that abortion is an acceptable option, and the view that abortion is inhumane is treated exclusively as a fringe radical religious view. Why? 136.215.251.179 14:24, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Because you provide no sources for your opinion?--Pro-Lick 15:08, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
I remind Goodandevil once again that this article is about Abortion, not Abortion debate, where the differing views are treated more fully. KillerChihuahua?!? 16:43, 16 March 2006 (UTC)


Blog by UK doc. Interesting? Useful?

http://nhsblogdoc.blogspot.com/2006/02/abortion-in-south-dakota-pro-lifers.html
I came across this blog by chance (the same doc wrote something about a disease I have). Dropping it off here just in case other editors think it's useful in some way. AvB ÷ talk 08:47, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

PS I found it interesting enough to read it twice. Including the sting in the tail. AvB ÷ talk 09:01, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

What is the basis to claim in the article that abortion is generally done by ob/gyns?

Is there a source for this change? Do third world nations have ob/gyns? Are the 20 million illegal abortions done each year done by ob/gyns? Do general practitioners actually do most abortions? Or is it actually a nurse? Please cite the source for the claim that it is generally ob/gyns who do abortions. I think the article is not speaking globally. In any event, there is no source for such a claim. "Abortionist" is in fact a catch-all term that encompasses anyone who does an abortion. It is also used by mainstream media that support abortion, so it cannot be said to be a term used only by anti-abortionists:

  • For One Doctor, There Was No Other Choice; Despite Threats, Abortionist Won't Back Down headline about an MD in the Wash Post, 298 Oct 2000
  • Portugal Gives Abortionist An 8 1/2-Year Prison Term headline about a nurse in NYT Jan 19, 2002
  • FBI CHARGES FUGITIVE IN N.Y. SLAYING OF ABORTIONIST headline about an MD in Chicago Tribune,, May 7, 1999
  • FBI SEEKS 2 MORE IN ABORTIONIST 'S SLAYING headline about MD in Chicago Tribune Nov 22 1998
  • FORMER FOES; AT GOD'S INSTRUCTION, ACTIVIST BEFRIENDS ABORTIONIST AND CONVERTS HIM headline about MD in Chicago Tribune March 8, 1998
  • An Abortionist 's Credo essay by Elizabeth Karlin, MD, in NYT, March 19, 1995
  • Abortionist Hires Bodyguards headline about an MD in Wash Post March 31, 1994
  • INSANITY RULED OUT IN KILLING OF ABORTIONIST headline about MD in LA Times Feb 22, 1994
  • The Doctor's Secret, flamboyant abortionist Brian Finkel was known as a gun-toting blowhard who courted the limelight, in the meantime he was sexually abusing his patients headline about an MD in People magazine Jan 26, 2004
  • Abortionist 's wife on killing charge headline about an MD in The Australian June 21, 2002
  • Protecting abortionists headline in The Economist Jan 23, 1999 136.215.251.179
"Abortionist" is an imprecise term, applying not only to those who perform abortions, but also to those who procure them, [16] and is therefore too imprecise to use for this article. Justin Eiler 18:06, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Source (other than the not always reliable wiktionary), please? (Hint: do a little research [17] to discover that wiktionary has it worng.) Abortionist is not at all imprecise in the way you imply. It is the most general term that exists that desribes a person who performs an abortion. It is accurate. It is in general use. Even abortionists use the term to describe themselves (Ref: Dr. Elizabeth Karlin, "An Abortionist's Credo," New York Times Magazine, 3/19/95 [18]). However, it is a fact that people with a certain bias do not like its use. So why should that bias dictate that it not be used? 84.146.221.240

"Abortionists" in the context of the debate has a negative connotation. It is similar to "Darwinists". While some advocates of evolution may use the term themselves, generally speaking, it is viewed negatively as a way to differentiate evolutionary biologists from 'real' scientists'. Similarly, abortionists is normally used as a slur against doctors, by the pro-life camp. That said, the current wording was only added as recent as March 1st. Before, the whole sentence about OB/GYN was missing. Maybe it could be clarified that in the 1st world countries where abortion is legal, OB/GYNs generally are the ones who perform the procedure--Andrew c 19:38, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

What is your source for these assertions about connotation? Certainly it may be the POV of some people that there are negative connotations, but the NYT, Washington Post, Economist and Chicago Tribune all use it in a neutral manner in headlines - and abortion doctors also use it to describe themselves (e.g. Dr. Karlin - see above) (e.g. Dr. William Harrison as reported by the LA Times [19]) (e.g. Dr. Carhart who stated in a speech to the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, "I am LeRoy H. Carhart, and I am an abortionist", as reported by the Omaha World-Herald, 1/2001) 84.146.221.240 06:14, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Again: please post a source for the claim that ob/gyns perform most abortions, generally. 40% (20 million out of 48 million) of all abortions are not even lawful, according to this wikipedia article. And millions more are done in countries where a GP is hard to find, let a lone an ob/gyn. 84.146.221.240 06:13, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Pro-Lick's change of the definition

"An abortion involves ending a pregnancy with the loss of the embryo or fetus."--Pro-Lick 05:16, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

"Loss" is vague and can be inaccurate. Quite often, the embryo or fetus is not lost at all. For example, during the extremely common D&C abortion the fetus is deliberately dismembered with surgical instruments while in utero {caution - graphic medical image: [20]}, and then immediately thereafter reassembled outside of the womb on a surgical tray to ensure there is no loss of body parts to ensure no parts are left inside the mother. "Loss" is not the best term. "Death" works, as it is always accurate, without exception; it is not ambiguous; and it encompasses natural as well as induced death. 84.146.221.240

We had discussed the use of the word "death" some months ago, and had reached a consensus to use it. I don't think anyone seriously thinks that the fetus doesn't die, so removing "death" is not making the article more accurate; it's deliberately withholding an extremely relevant fact that some people aren't comfortable with. It is therefore a violation of WP:NPOV.

Regardless of the personal wishes of User:Pro-Lick, there is not a "majority view" here that "death" should be removed. His edit summary was, in my view, inaccurate in all three claims ("correcting defintion to the medically correct, NPOV, and majority view"). I am going to restore the word again. AnnH 02:29, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Majority real-world and medical view and sourced view is provided above under the various death/removal and definition. You are still provideing no sources for your POV. When you have sources, you can claim NPOV and verifiability, both of which support the definition I provide.--Pro-Lick 02:42, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
  1. Talk:Abortion#Abortion_Overview_Definition
  2. Talk:Abortion#Interesting_article_on_abortion.2C_from_WebMD
  3. Talk:Abortion#Death_or_removal.3F
  4. Talk:Abortion#Uterine_2
  5. Wikipedia:Five pillars - "It means citing verifiable, authoritative sources whenever possible, especially on controversial topics."
  6. Wikipedia:Consensus - "Although it may be advisable to follow it, it is not policy."
  7. Wikipedia:Consensus#Reasonable_consensus-building - "With respect to good faith, no amount of emphasized assertions that you are editing according to Wikipedia:Neutral point of view while engaging in biased editing will serve to paper over the nature of your activities."
  8. Wikipedia:Consensus#Consensus_vs._other_policies - "Consensus should not trump NPOV (or any other official policy)."

Pro-Lick, remember also: Accuracy trumps NPOV. Str1977 (smile back) 09:19, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

There's no conflict between accuracy and NPOV. NPOV requires that, if there's significant dispute as to what's accurate, we describe the dispute, present all sides, and let the reader decide. How is accuracy compromised by that? -GTBacchus(talk) 16:35, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
There is NO dispute as to whether or not death of the conceptus is ALWAYS part of the abortion process (induced or spontaneous). If there is no death and the conceptus remains alive, then we have what is medically classified as a birth or a failed abortion. Using an ambiguous term to paper over this medical fact is an attempt to have the article comport with the POV of people who want this article to tiptoe around the reality of what abortion is.84.146.236.167
Actually, there is significant, noteworthy, and thoroughly documented dispute as to whether an unborn fetus is "alive", and as to whether the word "death" can properly be applied to what happens to a fetus being aborted. I think it's safe to say that we're all aware of this dispute, and papering over the fact that this particular bit of semantics plays a central role in the controversy surrounding abortion would be irresponsible. Document the dispute. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:24, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
You are confusing issues. The moral status of what dies (the conceptus) is obviously up for grabs. But whether the conceptus is living (as all organisms are) prior to any abortion and dies as a result of the abortion is NOT at issue since it is a biological fact. Not sure why you dispute the biology. Since everyone seems so intent that the scientific facts are paramount, then the article ought not paper over the FACT that biological life of the conceptus (regardless of any moral status it may or may not have) is deliberately ended as a result of every abortion (induced or spontaneous). 84.146.213.216
Huh. I haven't said anything to indicate that I dispute that a fetus is alive. (Nor that I'm "intent that the scientific facts are paramount".) Second guesses aside, you seem to think that nobody disputes that an unborn fetus is biologically alive; I disagree and say that lots of people dispute that "FACT". Rather than simply disagreeing with you though, I'll go get sources. Watch this space. Oh, and the life of the conceptus is not deliberately ended in the case of a spontaneous abortion, as your last sentence indicates, but I'm happy to assume that was a typo of sorts. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:08, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, "deliberately" is only correct for induced abortion. A reliable doctor who disagrees based on biological fact? There is a moral issue as to whether a "human life" with cognition or rights exists. There is no biological issue, however, as to whether the biological entity known as the embryo or fetus is a living biological entity. I have thousands of skin cells that are living, biologically. When they scrape off, they die. These are biological facts. There is no magic that makes an embryo any less living or dead. 84.146.248.62

Accuracy is determined by what? Verifiability, consensus, or some other method? Please remember to provide sources WP:RS for your accuracy method.--Pro-Lick 16:20, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps you missed my post above, after which Str1977 made his comment. Your definition is NOT accurate. The current one used in the article is accurate. It is factually accurate. It is medically and biologically accurate. It reflects common usage. It just makes some people uncomfortable. Accurate. Sources have been provided. You have no source that "death" isinaccurate. There is none. ALL abortions involve death of the conceptus. Factual. Accurate. Your "loss" is not accurate, as I noted above. 84.146.236.167

Connecting abortion and death

I concede that there are many sources to choose from which avoid connecting abortion and death. They employ euphemisms such as termination for a variety of reasons. That fact that with the legalization of abortion from conception to birth in the United States, the descriptive language of abortion has changed to avoid the term death merits a discussion all on its own in the article.
  • What sources are claiming that in a sucessful abortion that whatever is in the womb (unborn child, fetus, etc.) does not die?
  • What sort of sources that connect abortion and death would be satisfactory to pro-lick? patsw 03:34, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Your opinion is that they are euphemisms. You don't provide any way to verify that or show that it represents NPOV. Look up loaded words.--Pro-Lick 04:15, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
It's your opinion that they are not euphemisms. It's my opinion they are. It appears that it has been less than 48 hours since you joined the Wikipedia, so let me educate you: we are not searching for a one, true, neutral point of view, but explaining multiple points of view to achieve an editing consensus of a fair presentation of all the significant points of view on a disputed definition.
  • What sources are claiming that in a sucessful abortion that whatever is in the womb (unborn child, fetus, etc.) does not die?
  • What sort of sources that connect abortion and death would be satisfactory to pro-lick?
This talk page is a dialog: we get to ask questions of each other. It's not a tedious monolog of you mentioning the obvious, i.e. that I am a pro-life advocate.

I am seeking a consensus among editors about what defines abortion and conceptually connects abortion with death, and not merely euphemisms like termination and interruption. Merely finding texts which have avoiding making linguistic link between abortion and death with a new code word doesn't a consensus make. patsw 05:11, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

I simply repeat a mainstream source from Justin Eiler's previous post:
  • Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law: "the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus; especially : the medical procedure of inducing expulsion of a human fetus to terminate a pregnancy."
  • Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary: "the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus"
84.146.221.240

walkthrough

According to this article's limited view of pregnancy which I will adopt for the sake of this argument:
  • medically speaking there is no abortion unless there is a pregnancy
  • a pregnancy begins when a living embryo implants
  • a pregnancy can only end by live birth or abortion (natural or induced)
  • there is no pregnancy if there is no living conceptus in the mother
  • abortion includes any ending of pregnancy (natural or induced) that is not due to live birth
  • the key difference between the two general categories of how pregnancies end (live birth or abortion) is the life or death of the conceptus
  • all forms of abortion are associated with the biological death of the organism known as the embryo or fetus
Any suppression of the word "death" is simply due to a desire to tiptoe around an issue that is painful to many. But this article is about facts, not making everyone comfortable. To discuss the biological medical fact of the embryo's biological death is different than referring to abortionists in an editorial fashion as "baby killers". I agree with Patsw, and also ask for a source that confirms that the embryo or fetus does not always die as part of the process of an induced or spontaneous abortion (in fact, you won't find any). 84.146.221.240

Another mainstream medical definition of pregnancy

If you go to the NIH website [21] and use their online medical dictionary you get this result [22]:

  • Main Entry: preg·nant
  • Pronunciation: preg-nnt
  • Function: adjective
  • Definition: containing a developing embryo, fetus, or unborn offspring within the body : GESTATING : GRAVID
  • (Source: Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary)

Please explain the basis for totally excluding mention of this MEDICAL definiton in the article. It is sourced from a neutral manistream medical publication. The current article reads as though such a view is both unscientific and marginal. In fact, this definition of pregnancy is both scientific and widely held, even among medical professionals, according to peer reviewed research. [23]. This definition makes it clear that there is no pregnancy unless the embryo (regardless of stage of development or implantation) is living and developing inside a woman's body. Just thought I would head off the typical "test tubes can't be pregnant" dismissive snipe. 84.146.221.240


See also the MEDICAL definition for conception at [24] which makes it clear that there are various medical definitions for pregnancy in use.

  • Main Entry: con·cep·tion
  • Pronunciation: kn-sep-shn
  • Function: noun
  • Definition: the process of becoming pregnant involving fertilization or implantation or both
  • (Source: Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary)

84.146.221.240


Medical, Reliable, & Reputable Sources WP:RS

Not opinions. Not comments. For NPOV WP:NPOV and verifiable WP:V sources. The initial list is from definitions provided earlier on this page. Add any other sources you may have to list below. I'm trying to make a single, referencable compilation that can be easily referenced and used for making the definition compliant with Wiki official policy:--Pro-Lick 19:32, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus encylopedia: "removing the fetus and placenta from the uterus". Under description, "remove the tissues (fetus and placenta) from the uterus".
  2. WebMD Medical Reference from "The Gynecological Sourcebook" - M. Sara Rosenthal, PhD - "Technically, the word abortion simply refers to pregnancy loss before the twentieth week."
  3. WebMD Abortion Definition - "Abortion is the premature ending of a pregnancy."
  4. From Medical Terminology: An Illustrated Guide, Chapter 15 - The Female Reproductive System; Pregnancy and Birth, p. 398: An abortion is loss of an embryo or fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy or before a weight of 500 g (1.1 lb).
  5. "Interruption of pregnancy or expulsion of the product of conception before the fetus is viable is called abortion." "A voluntary induced termination of pregnancy is called an elective abortion...." - Brunner & Suddarth’s Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing, 10th edition, Chapter 46 Assessment and Management of Female Physiologic Processes, p. 1398-1399
  6. 1911 Encylopedia Britannica uses expulsion, not "death", and the only difference between it and miscarriage is that it is deliberate. This is interesting because this is well before mass-marketed political spin.
  7. 1913 Webster Dictionary uses "expulsion ... before it is capable of sustaining life" and does not use "death", but makes clear that abortion at that time was a crime.
  8. Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary - "the removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus in order to end a pregnancy".
  9. U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus encylopedia define miscarriage as: "A spontaneous abortion is the loss of a fetus during pregnancy due to natural causes. The term "miscarriage" is the spontaneous termination of a pregnancy before fetal development has reached 20 weeks."
  10. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Miscarriage: "The cause of most spontaneous abortions is fetal death due to fetal genetic abnormalities, usually unrelated to the mother."[25]
  11. University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine - Canine Abortion article: Death of embryos during this period.....these could result in early embryonic death and infertility.....Abnormal development of organ systems may not be compatible with fetal survival, leading to death and resorption or abortion....." etc.[26]
  12. Encarta [27] "termination of a pregnancy before birth, resulting in the death of the fetus"
  13. Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary: "the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus"
  14. Causes, incidence, and risk factors, MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Miscarriage: "It is estimated that up to 50% of all fertilized eggs die and are lost (aborted) spontaneously, usually before the woman knows she is pregnant."
  15. [U.S. Center for Disease Control: "Third, statistics regarding the number of pregnancies ending in abortion are used in conjunction with birth data and fetal death computations to estimate pregnancy rates (e.g., pregnancy rates among adolescents) ([28])."
  16. MSN Encarta dictionary "1. An operation to end pregnancy: an operation or other intervention to end a pregnancy by removing an embryo or fetus from the womb. 2. medicine (technical) Same as miscarriage (sense 1)."
  17. Stedman's Medical Dictionary, 26th Edition, 1996: "1. Expulsion from the uterus of an embryo or fetus prior to the stage of viability at about 20 weeks of gestation (fetus weighs less than 500 g). A distinction is made between abortion and premature birth: premature infants are those born after the stage of viability but prior to 37 weeks. Abortion may be either spontaneous (occurring from natural causes) or induced (artificial or therapeutic). 2. The product of such nonviable birth."
  18. Dorlands Medical Dictionary "1. premature expulsion from the uterus of the products of conception, either the embryo or a nonviable fetus."
  19. Encyclopedia of Medicine - eNotes.com "the intentional termination of a pregnancy before the fetus can live independently."
  20. MedicineNet.com "the premature exit of the products of conception (the fetus, fetal membranes, and placenta) from the uterus. It is the loss of a pregnancy and does not refer to why that pregnancy was lost."
  21. "Induced Abortion. Intentional medical or surgical termination of pregnancy before 20 weeks' gestation." - Comprehensive Gynecology, 4th Ed., 2002
    1. "Inevitable Abortion. Uterine bleeding from a gestation of less than 20 weeks accompanied by cervical dilation but without expulsion of any placental or fetal tissue through the cervix." - Comprehensive Gynecology, 4th Ed., 2002

Abortion Related Definitions from Wiki sources

Not for opinions. Sources from non-disputed articles.--Pro-Lick 18:33, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

  1. Miscarriage- does NOT use "death" - "the natural or accidental termination of a pregnancy at a stage where the embryo or the fetus is incapable of surviving, generally defined at a gestation of prior to 20 weeks."
  2. Stillbirth - uses "died" - "occurs when a fetus, of mid-second trimester to full term gestational age, which has in the womb or during labour or delivery, exits the maternal body."
  3. Wiktionary definition - does NOT use "death" in its definition. Properly makes reference to miscarriage, which also does not use "death".


Comments subsection

(Please add more Wiki sources above, and comments in this subsection, to keep the list of sources neat)

We really can't use Wikipedia as a source. In Miscarriage, the phrasing "where the embryo or the fetus is incapable of surviving" manages to dodge most of the POV pitfalls, though, or so it seems to me. Maybe we can borrow those words (it's GFDL, after all!). -GTBacchus(talk) 03:37, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Your suggested wording is not accurate. Abortionists are on record that abortions are performed on fetuses that are alive and viable. 84.146.248.62

You are debating semantics. "Death" is a noun-form of the verb "die". Terminating a pregnancy means cells will be deprived of nutrients and therefore die. It is not a POV - it is biological fact. After all, polar bodies effectively die during oogenesis because of lack of organelles, and this death is necessary for meiosis to complete, thereby bringing a viable egg into the fore, ready to be fertilised. Elle vécut heureuse à jamais (Be eudaimonic!) 07:41, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm not debating semantics, nor was there any intent to. I agree with you for the most part, except that in general usage, death is also used for "death penalty" and "death sentence". It imposes guilt by association, as opposed to innocence. Consider this definition from Amrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary, "BRANDY, n. A cordial composed of one part thunder-and-lightning, one part remorse, two parts bloody murder, one part death-hell-and-the-grave and four parts clarified Satan."--Pro-Lick 08:30, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I find the guilt by association argument to be very thin and unpersuasive. Of course the word "death" occurs in some negatively-associated phrases (including "death-hell-and-the-grave", for which thanks!), but lots of words occur in negatively-associated phrases; we don't stop using them. When I read the word "death" in a clinical statement about abortion, I don't think of electric chairs and frowning judges. I find "death" to be a pretty neutral word, like "chair", or "Beligium", and I expect to see it used clinically, accurately and unsqueamishly in a work like an encyclopedia.
"Death" has plenty of neutral and positive associations, too, y'know. Are you familiar with the French term petit mort? Have you heard the band Death Cab for Cutie? Or maybe you're more into Death metal? Do billions of people in this world not celebrate the cycle of death and rebirth? Death is part of life. It's everywhere. Without it, none of us would exist. While I was typing this, a bunch of cells in my body died, and good thing, too. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:30, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Anyone a problem with the following edit?

Please discuss.

From around week 20-23 a separate injection to stop the fetal heart can be the first phase of the surgical abortion procedure.

Some citations:

  1. ^ Vause S, Sands J, Johnston TA, Russell S, Rimmer S. (2002). PMID 12521492 Could some fetocides be avoided by more prompt referral after diagnosis of fetal abnormality? J Obstet Gynaecol. 2002 May;22(3):243-5. Retrieved 2006-03-17.
  2. ^ Dommergues M, Cahen F, Garel M, Mahieu-Caputo D, Dumez Y. (2003). PMID 12576743 Feticide during second- and third-trimester termination of pregnancy: opinions of health care professionals. Fetal Diagn Ther. 2003 Mar-Apr;18(2):91-7. Retrieved 2006-03-17.
  3. ^ Bhide A, Sairam S, Hollis B, Thilaganathan B. (2002). PMID 12230443 Comparison of feticide carried out by cordocentesis versus cardiac puncture. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2002 Sep;20(3):230-2. Retrieved 2006-03-17.
  4. ^ Senat MV, Fischer C, Bernard JP, Ville Y. (2003). PMID 12628271 The use of lidocaine for fetocide in late termination of pregnancy. BJOG. 2003 Mar;110(3):296-300. Retrieved 2006-03-17.
  5. ^ Senat MV, Fischer C, Ville Y. (2002). PMID 12001185 Funipuncture for fetocide in late termination of pregnancy. Prenat Diagn. 2002 May;22(5):354-6. Retrieved 2006-03-17.

AvB ÷ talk 18:55, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

From around week 20-23[29][30][31] an injection[32] to stop the fetal heart can be the first phase of the surgical abortion procedure.[33] AvB ÷ talk 09:10, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

I've added the sentence to the Surgical abortion section. AvB ÷ talk 19:05, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Another debate on abortion

I noticed this got reverted when it is a valid debate.

Another debate involving abortion is about whether it is murder or not. The question posed by this essentialy is when life starts in the fetus, that is, when are cells in a fetus considered living instead of non-living. Some views on this (of varying extremity) include:

   * Life is defined by existence of genetic material, hence in sperm. 
   (hence, almost 100 million lives are lost everytime a man ejaculates)
   * Life starts as soon as the egg is fertilized.
   * Life starts when the embryo can feel pain.
   * Life starts when the brain and brain waves are operable.

I justified this edit for the following reason:

"Actually, part of the abortion debate IS when the fetus is considered living. The reason this is part of the debate is because nobody has qualms about "killing" a non-living thing (unless it has sentimental value somehow), but if it is living, then it crosses into one's moral boundaries about the idea of taking life. This portion of the debate is actually a precursor to many of the debates about conditions regarding whether it is moral to abort a fetus.

To further the point of why this is a debate, living mammals are typically composed of multiple cells. Is a human cell by itself living? If a human cell is not living, would you have any qualms about killing it? If it is, then would you have qualms about killing any part of the matter that exists in a cell? (which is scientifically known to be non-living on it's own)"

My authority on this is self-justified for the following reasons:

  • Dealing with various debates in a Morality and Justice course, INCLUDING the one I'm proposing here.
  • Strong background in Ethics, covered by classes in Morality and Justice, Ethical Theory, and Business Ethics (which I'm currently taking).

Since the revert was done by an administrator and I was reffered to the talk page by her, I'll let others discuss this before such an edit is included.

  • I agree with the change. There are all sorts of things that can be referred to as living, and thus die. Death is far to imprecise for that reason. If it's insisted upon, proper context should be provided, such as you provide.--Pro-Lick 21:53, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
Have you just conceded what was in dispute? If whatever is living dies, it is death. It is a precise word. We're not talking about a prion or a virus in this case but biological life. Of all the disputes that comprise this debate, the word death is understood.
Death: It's because of its plain and well-understood meaning that people avoid the word. patsw 02:35, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Technically, every time you eat, cells lining your cheek die. Every time you scratch an itch, skin cells die. Anytime a man ejaculates, millions of little cells that are alive die. Funny, the ejaculation article doesn't say "resulting in the death of sperm" as part of the definition. It is entirely acurate, and scientific, to describe ejaculation in the manner. However, is it appropriate for the first sentence definition for a wikipedia article? What about eating, that "results in the death of plant and animal life" in addition to cheek cells. Is that clause included in that article? Why is it so important to have the word "death" in the first sentence? Note, I'm not disputing whether cells die or not. I'm questioning the importance we place on having the word 'death' so early on in the article.--Andrew c 03:01, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Per Andrew c. I'm only stating that if you are somebody who's POV is that it is death, then you are conceding that abortion should refer to everything that "dies" as a result of losing its source of life. As stated previously based on the majority of reputable, reliable sources, I conclude neither life nor death belongs in the definition. Which is to say nothing of the Guilt by association (e.g., "the death penalty) that using a term like death carries with it.--Pro-Lick 03:53, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Because deaths of sperm cells and cheek cells aren't central to a long standing ongoing debate (although you could make a case for sperm cells... a certain Monty Python skit comes to mind :"). Its accurate to state cells die, but it is not pertinent. Here, it is important to note the consequence of an abortion. Pro-Lick, I don't understand your point about conceding "abortion should refer to everything that "dies" as a result of losing its source of life." Could you expand and rephrase please, thanks. Are you referring to placenta and uterine lining which also die as a result of an abortion? - RoyBoy 800 04:19, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
So if the Frutarians, or Jains, or who ever were more dominant, it'd be ok to mention that eating results in death in the first sentence of the eating article? You said the reason why this word is so important is because of the debate. Should then this issue be brought up in the abortion debate article and section? I think placing the emphasis on an issue favorable to one side (ironicly, worded to one side) in the opening definition is a bit too biased. I personally am not questioning whether death of cells occurs. I'm saying, if we mention this in the first sentence, we are putting extra emphasis on one POV, as opposed to simply defining a term that covers miscarriages and induced abortions.--Andrew c 04:33, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
I cannot agree with any of the above, and how does the current version not cover miscarriage and induced abortion? It should not go in debate, because the result (death) is not being debated. Whether or not the procedure should be allowed is. Why the debate? Because of said result. If we leave it out; abortion ending a pregnancy does not specify the result. A Caesarean section also ends a pregnancy; but results in a birth of a child. Abortion ends a pregnancy and... to leave it out is illogical. - RoyBoy 800 05:35, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
They avoided the D word on the miscarriage page, and I feel that page sounds medical and professional, not dumbed down and POV. But if you think their wording is illogical, perhaps you'd like you edit that article as well?--Andrew c 05:48, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
I'll give it some thought, and discuss with its contributors prior to changing anything, as its an established stable article. - RoyBoy 800 05:56, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

The examples given are absurd. I don't know of anyone who itches for the intention of killing the skin cells. If I thought the matter of the death of sperm to be as signficant as the the matter of the death of unborn children, I might be editing that article. Voluntary human action in an abortion such as when a curette is used to dismember the unborn child or fetus intends death, causes death, and results in death.

Cells are cells is an unworthy as a talking point. The specific cells we are discussing is/are potential unique human beings. We all existed in the form of this collection of cells whatever technical name one assigns to the cells composing a unique member of our species at an early stage of development.

* A unique human life begins at conception, at the union of a human sperm and a human egg.
* An already living human in an early stage of development, with its cells already dividing, implants into the uterine wall.
* This is the continuation of an already existing life.
* This unique human individual will emerge from the womb either living or dead

These are biological facts. I'm not making the point that it is important to include a reference to abortion as being the death of a fetus (and not a post-1973 euphemism like termination or loss), but because it only honest to do so. patsw 04:54, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

You have said the reason why you are editing this article is because it is "the matter of death of unborn children". This is your POV about the procedure and has no reason to be in the definition. I am not trying to supress your point of veiw. It has it's place under the debate section (and even a reference in the opening paragraph). However, your POV should not define the term. And it's funny you say "post-1973 euphemism". Try the 1911-1913 euphemisms of "expulsion" and "before it is capable of sustaining life". Do you find the opening paragraph of Miscarriage to be problematic? I understand completely (because you just explained it) why its important to you that you define the fetus in these terms and point out that abortion results in death. However, the significance of your points is in question. Is abortion defined by your POV to the extent it should be included in the first sentence? I say no. But I'll see what others think. --Andrew c 05:31, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Good point about the miscarriage definition. It does serve as a meaningful point of reference. "termination of a pregnancy" is better than "ends a pregnancy"; but I think we had termination on the table before and it didn't pass muster for some reason. I cannot remember. My knee jerk reaction would be "death" is not necessarily accurate for miscarriage since the embryo is usually non-viable from the beginning. Certainly that is also a point here (as its possible one could induce abort a non-viable embryo), but I think we can agree the intent of an induced abortion is to stop a viable pregnancy. (whereas the intent of eating food, is to acquire nutrition, not kill the fruit/roots etc.) - RoyBoy 800 05:52, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
I just convinced myself you are right. As indeed abortion (including miscarriage) broadly speaking does not carry intent; but induced abortion does. The problem here is semantics, the correct broad definition of abortion, and the definition of abortion in common usage which is induced abortion. Hmmmmm... yeah I think we settled on common usage as the definition, since induced abortion redirects to abortion. We went through this before, but another round is doable. You have to convince us the broad definition should be employed in the lead (miscarriage/induced abortion), rather than its common meaning (induced abortion). - RoyBoy 800 06:03, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, the current edit now (and the one that has been there for months) starts off with "termination of a pregnancy". You also bring up a good point about viability in regards to miscarriage and induced abortion, however I believe most editors wanted the first sentence definition to be able to encompass both, because technical, an abortion does cover both, although the popular use of abortion refers specifically to the latter (see the last sentence of the first paragraph on miscarriage. --Andrew c 06:05, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Maybe an ideal compromise is the dictionary definition:
Termination of pregnancy and expulsion of an embryo or of a fetus that is incapable of survival.
But I remember that being brought up too, and being decided against for some reason. - RoyBoy 800 06:08, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
I remember now, pro-lifers saw "incapable of survival" as a long winded POV, politically correct way of saying "death". And most of us pro-choicers were forced to agree with that. It's simply a long way of saying death, so why not just say it? That's how we ended up at the current version. - RoyBoy 800 06:14, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Here is a copy of something Kyd wrote further up:

This matter is covered in the thread "Termination of pregnancy sentance" in Archive 12. The introductory sentence is attempting to summarize all abortions in one line: spontaneous or induced, early or late term, and human or other species. If we are were to modify the sentence, I would go with "expulsion," as this sentence must also describe miscarriage. The word "removal" implies deliberate action and thus is only an accurate description of induced abortion. Death itself has many senses: astronomers often describe stars in the red giant stage as "dying." I don't see anything too bad in the use of "death," in a biological context, to describe abortion — the POV lays mostly in how it's read.

The reason I mention this is because this is where I got the idea that the definition is supposed to encompass both induced and miscarriage. Let me think this over a bit. Is there any way death could be changed to dying?--Andrew c 06:14, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

I don't think so; dying is very verby and actiony. Doesn't seem to fit in a encyclopedic definition. - RoyBoy 800 06:18, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Biologically, is there any dispute that a developing conceptus is biologically living prior to any type of abortion, and that is in fact biological death is ALWAYS associated with an abortion of any kind (spontaneous or induced)? Again, moral human life is another topic. I am talking about biological fetal/embryonic life and death? Its not really at issue at all except for those who turly wish to hide this biological fact. Certainly most people in general conversation and most doctors even discuss miscarriage in terms of death and life. Elsewhere the article should (and I think does) clearly state that some people think its a moral human life and some don't (on the very odd chance that anyone might not realize there are divergent views). 84.146.248.62
I am going to let this drop because there are much more important issues in this article (that Kyd has so kindly listed above). I just wanted to clarify my concern for anyone who missed my point. I was never arguing that cellular tissue didn't died as a result of abortion. I was just saying mentioning this fact in the very definition bring prominence to a POV issue. My analogy was that of eating. Eating results in the death of plant and animal tissue, however that fact isn't mentioned in the first defining sentence of that article.--Andrew c 06:54, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Actually, the human eating process itself almost never involves death. We don't eat things that are alive. We eat dead things. By contrast, the abortion process itself ALWAYS involve death. Induced abortion is actually the DELIBERATE killing of a conceptus along with removing the conceptus from the womb. Its all part of the abortion procedure. If you do any research at all, you will discover that the GOAL of an abortion procedure is to kill the conceptus and then remove it. (Again, I can post links to the words of respected abortinists that state this). A dead conceptus is crucial for both practical and legal reasons. Decapitation and dismemberment of the fetus is part of a D&C abortion, by definition. Killing the fetus is required for a legal abortion. Its not tangential. And spontaneous abortion ALWAYS involves the death of the conceptus. Either conceptus dies and it is expelled, or conceptus dies while being expelled. If the conceptus is expelled while alive, it is a birth. And in fact, the flesh of the dead conceptus itself is also properly referred to as an "abortion". If that flesh is alive, it not an abortion, but a neonatal infant. Death is part and parcel of every abortion. As we say, "No matter how you slice it, abortion kills." 84.146.227.229

Removal of talk page comments

Please refrain from the removal of posted comments. Editors do not appreciate their input being removed without their consent, no matter how trivial they may seem - and it is generally frowned upon in the wikipedia community. If one wishes to have a section free of comments (which I had not realized on my removed posting) and someone posts there, simply move the comments to a new section. Thanks. DonaNobisPacem 03:32, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

One other thing I think should be pointed out - this talk page is not a battlefield (although some on both sides of the issue treat it as such) - it is intended to work out an NPOV article, and find consensus when necessary. Because of the nature of the topic, consensus is often desirable to avoid edit wars (which often stall all progress on the topic). It takes patience, and can be frustrating - but keep in mind that other editors are not enemies to be attacked, hassled or insulted - that just pits editors against each other instead of working out a solution together. Although KYD and I do not see eye to eye on many issues, I do share his frustration (voiced above) that the main sections that need work within the article keep getting pushed aside because of relatively small issues ballooning into mud-slinging talk page rebutals and edit wars. And a note to new editors (of which I consider myself one, as well) - there are many long-time contributors on this page. This does not make them right, but it does make them generally more knowledgeable about conventions (not always mentioned in WP policies) and the day-to-day niceties that keep wikipedia functioning smoothly and - a concept often forgotten on this page - enjoyably. Try to take long-term contributors' advice into consideration before posting on both the article, and before making snide comments on the talk page.

I hope to keep working (peacefully) with you all on the page! Cheerio, DonaNobisPacem 06:23, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Talk:History_of_abortion_law#History_of_abortion

Feedback needed here. Essentially I want to know if we should go through the trouble of seperating the articles (eg. Jane collective should be in Abortion history, not Abortion law); or should we merge them? - RoyBoy 800 04:10, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

I follow abortion as an issue globally and have for decades. I read pro-abortion and pro-life materials from lay and academic sources. I have never read or heard of the Jane Collective. So, my first thought without googling to find out what it is, is to consider it a very minor topic an as such it would be inappropriate in the tiny abortion history section of this main arcicle. 84.146.248.62
Just to clarify, this isn't about inserting things into abortion, it is about the recent moving of Abortion history to History of abortion law and the creation of a new Abortion history article in its place. Although since you mention it, I would think the first organized service enabling women to get illegal abortions in the United States may be notable enough to be in Abortion; but that's not my concern at the present time. Trying to get Abortion history and History of abortion law sycronized or merged is. - RoyBoy 800 06:28, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Your description of it seems a little more certain than the record would allow. Is there a good source on the web you can recommend? A book? A google news search [34] reveals no news articles about it. Some femininst activists did a "documentary" about it. No one can document its existence other than to talk about it on film. Prior to the movie there had never been any dicussion about it despite the constant scare-mantra of activists that we can never go back to the days of "back alley abortions"? This JANE thing is a good PR vehicle, sure. Not sure it qualifies as a historically significant anything OTHER THAN a PR vehicle that people at the leeftist Sundance film festival embraced. 84.146.248.62
-Shrug-, I'm not married to the meme; it was just an easy example of what I thought should be moved from History of abortion law to Abortion history. If its less than tangible perhaps that should be mentioned; however, it hardly surprises me that an organization doing something illegal would be difficult to find out about. As of now, I'm non-commital about the Jane thing. You've made me second guess it. - RoyBoy 800 06:51, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks to you I learned something new about abortion activists, though. The "Jane Collective" does sound romantic in a grotesque way. Like "Cider House Rules". Celebrating the deliberate killing of innocents who should be embraced and protected. Sermon over. BTW, analogous to your comment above: its also not surprising that factual information not helpful to the abortion cause would also be hard to find given that journalists and the academy support abortion. 84.146.248.62
I would tweak "journalists and the academy support abortion" to "support choice". The percentage of people who support abortion (no matter what, and under all circumstances, and who have a vested interest in abortion), I've found, is quite small. - RoyBoy 800 15:50, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
I think the way that 84 raised his criticisms turned me off from his premise, and made me do my own googling of Jane. Here is a book. Here is a webpage (note the image in the Chicago Daily News from '72 about the "Abortion Raid"). Here is some sort of documentation from 1980 in a university library. Saying "no one can document its existence..." is umm... false? yeah.--Andrew c 07:05, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Googling Roy's term "Jane Collective" does not give you much of anything: [35]. The sources you list are all activist pro-abortion sources. And we all know from this talk page that such biased sources are not afforded much credibility. And its all anonymous, oral histories, activist "news", and no orignal documentation (unless you count newspaper article about illegal abortionists that from my quick view do not mention "Jane" or any collective). Of course, activists will be activists - how can you rely on them for reliable information, right? 84.146.248.62

While I appreciate your position, it is a little skewed. The Jane Collective was run by activists; naturally they would be the ones who would witness its existance. I feel your mention of no newspaper/magazine mentions is a valid one; but keep in mind searching that far back usually requires access to restricted (subscription) databases. Google doesn't have access to everything; so its insufficient to seriously question the subject. PS: You can timestamp and sign all your posts by typing ~~~~, there is also a button on top of this box (2nd from the right) which would insert it for you. - RoyBoy 800 15:50, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

POV is in how it's read

I hate to start a new thread here, but it's probably worth repeating this - I noticed it at the bottom of a section, it took a bit to find......KYD wrote earlier:

This matter is covered in the thread "Termination of pregnancy sentance" in Archive 12. The introductory sentence is attempting to summarize all abortions in one line: spontaneous or induced, early or late term, and human or other species. If we are were to modify the sentence, I would go with "expulsion," as this sentence must also describe miscarriage. The word "removal" implies deliberate action and thus is only an accurate description of induced abortion. Death itself has many senses: astronomers often describe stars in the red giant stage as "dying." I don't see anything too bad in the use of "death," in a biological context, to describe abortion — the POV lays mostly in how it's read.

I believe KYD is right when he says the POV lies in how it is read - a pro-life individual sees it as the death of a person (as opposed to human) with rights, a pro-choice individual would probably see it as the death of a developing cell mass (as many did in the previous consensus). Other pro-choice individuals might see it as a pro-life attempt to bring humanism (as some obviously do above). But the POV lies not in the word, but in its interpretation. It won't be any different with any other word (termination, expulsion, etc.) and the other terms also have problems in not addressing all forms of abortion (expulsion is spontaneous, as opposed to induced - one cannot "expulse" a fetus - so it relates mainly to miscarriage). So it seems to me that death is the most suitable, both for encompassing the necessary definitions of abortion, and after some thought, I think in terms of being a neutral word (as KYD says, death is a pretty loosely used term throughout the sciences). Thoughts in this regard?--2006-03-18 00:48:29 DonaNobisPacem

You're quoting a POV (it gives no sources) on POV to support your POV on POV. Generally speaking, if this claim is true, why bother having NPOV as a policy? Specifically, death is used in "death sentence" and "death penalty" to name just 2 words that don't make "death" an NPOV term. Do you have any sources that use it in a positive way?--Pro-Lick 07:01, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Is the conceptus living or dead at the end of the abortion process? Whether living or dead are good or bad is not of concern. We want facts in the article. What does "loss", "end" or "temination" mean? They can all be synonyms for death (as they are in this context). What is lost, ended or terminated? If you say pregnancy, then its the conceptus living in the womb that is lost, ended or teminated. Pregnancy does not exist if that conceptus dies. Its not really complex.

  • Living coceptus in a womb = pregnancy.
  • Dead conceptus = no pregnancy.
  • Living conceptus but not in a womb = no pregnancy and no abortion unless fatal injuries are deliberately caused during the procedure or the conceptus is put to death at the conclusion of a deliberate abortion procedure (reputable abortionists have to kill fetuses outside the womb all the time - I can post a link for the skeptics). BTW, when a fetus survives an abortion and is killed soon after, this seems to be infanticide. But the reality according to abortionists is that many abortions happen this way, so I have discussed the matter accordingly. 84.146.248.62
Death is death. Cells die all the time. Please see the definition of life. The cells undergo mitosis. They grow, and respond to their environment. Now, if they were removed from the mother's body, these cells will have no supplies, and will therefore die. Death of the cells is a fact. There is nothing wrong with the term "death", and it carries little stigma whatsoever (would you prefer the term ethnic cleansing or foetalcide? There are things like programmed cell death and apoptosis, and all this "death" is seen as natural. After all, during a period, the cells on the uteral lining effectively "die". I could also say, "sentenced to life in prison", where "life" is used negatively, but that doesn't make the word itself POV, does it? Besides, the term "death penalty" IS an NPOV term. Now, if you were to call it unjust, that would be a POV. Please learn your biology. After all, death is needed so the other cells can grow, and is a natural part of evolution and life (well until we can edit our own genome so genetic updating through death becomes biologically unnecessary). In apoptosis, cells in the developing foetus die, in order to make way for spaces in the finger, and they effectively are programmed to commit suicide. Leaves in the fall commit apoptosis and die. None of the uses of this term for "death" is negative. After all, the leaves are of no use in the winter, and will only cause loss of precious water. Similarly, the cells between the fingers are un-needed, and need to die in order to make way for fingers to function. In the same way, people may abort a baby because they think that raising a child is an unnecessary obligation. Whether this is moral or not is a POV, but stating the cause for their actions is not. Elle vécut heureuse à jamais (Be eudaimonic!) 07:35, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

So according to your definition, 100% of IVF are sucessful? A mother trying to get pregnant will always become pregnant by the nature of your definition (having 'Living coceptus in a womb'). There is no destinction for the embryos implantings? If you are serious about redefining terms, you should go to that article and change The chance of a successful pregnancy is approximately 20-30% for each IVF cycle.--Andrew c 13:48, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

human only systemic bias

The statement "this article will focus only on human abortion" is unsatisfactory, and a clear case of systemic bias. This page should be about any abortion, with an emphasis on human abortions yes, but it should at least link to animal subjects as subpages. Now, we of course have little material about it, but it exists out there, so I'd like to remove that sentence, because when we DO write such material (in some years or so), we want to make it easy to integrate. Elle vécut heureuse à jamais (Be eudaimonic!) 07:13, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Doesn't it make more sense to leave in the disclaimer until that content is present? -Quasipalm 07:48, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
But it discourages insertion of that material in the first place. I will just say there is focus on human abortion, but I invite people to put it up. I'm sticking {{world}} for now because this article is systemically biased to Western culture. Elle vécut heureuse à jamais (Be eudaimonic!) 17:56, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

A solution for the opening line!

It seems that most of the medical articles I have started looking through (see articles "using death" subsection above) use a two-tiered, as it were, definition: they define an abortion (spontaneous or induced) as the expulsion of a fetus - BUT - before many cheer and ignore the rest - go on to say that it is a result of, or results in, the death of the fetus. SO - before many others cheer and ignore the rest - I propose a solution, that uses both forms of terminology, and is recognized in medical/scientific/reliable/whatever other flipping category I need here literature:

An abortion is the expulsion of a fetus, due to or resulting in the death of the fetus, resulting in the termination of pregnancy.

This takes into account:

1.) Abortion is the actual expulsion, according to medical literature. Nothing less, nothing more. It is not the procedure itself in an induced abortion, nor is it the cause of the miscarriage. Abortion = fetus leaving womb.[other than birth 84.146.248.62]

2.) It is caused by or results in the death of the fetus, as is recognized in medical literature. One or the other happens (the fetus can still be alive at the time of a spontaneous abortion, it would seem).

3.) The pregnancy, at that time, is terminated.[because the woman is no longer gestating 84.146.248.62]

How's that tickle everyone's fancy? DonaNobisPacem 07:35, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Your definition is improved, but regarding your comments: Actually, those medical also tend to give further context on what they mean by death, such as: Causes, incidence, and risk factors, MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Miscarriage: "It is estimated that up to 50% of all fertilized eggs die and are lost (aborted) spontaneously, usually before the woman knows she is pregnant]."--Pro-Lick 07:46, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
The context doesn't really matter though - what I'm pointing out is that REGARDLESS of context, they still refer to it as death. That's what we're trying to show. DonaNobisPacem 07:51, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Context affects meaning, however, so REGARDLESS is the same as saying you're not interested in the sources' actual meaning, just how you can manipulate it.--Pro-Lick 08:11, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
What I was trying to say - they are a medical source (not pro-life) and use death in the case of both eggs, fetus', and embryos dying (ie, different stages of cell growth).DonaNobisPacem 14:49, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
I understand. The problem is that this article isn't a purely medical source, so it lacks the context of both a medical source and the medical students that read those sources.--Pro-Lick 17:44, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

That isn't too shaby (but is it significantly different than the current version?) My only suggestion would be to change the order and have 'termination of pregnancy' the first clause. It's ackward to have two "resulting in"s.--Andrew c 13:51, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

How about "......thereby resulting in the termination of pregnancy."

It was brought up previously [36] by Kyd that when one baby is aborted when carrying twins (a selective reduction), the pregnancy does not end. This is interesting. In order to have one all-inclusive general definition for abortion, perhaps the focus should NOT be on the pregnancy, but on the continued fetal development of the aborted conceptus. Obviously a pregnancy is NOT always ended as a result of an abortion (as in a selective reduction or the miscarriage of only one twin). Technically, the only universal truths (among those we have been discussing in this context) present in all abortions are that the life (development) of the conceptus is what is aborted or terminated, and that this dead conceptus exits the womb. Goodandevil 16:38, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Oh dear, that's a complication. If one of two twins is aborted or miscarried, would it be correct to say that the pregnancy ended for the fetus, if not for the mother? Maybe that's a stretch. The thing about an abortion is that it's the ending of a fetus' gestation in a womb, so as not to result in a live birth. Yeah... does something like that work?
An abortion is the termination of an embryo of fetus' gestation in a womb, so as not to result in a live birth.
That even covers a very early miscarriage being reabsorbed. Whaddya think?-GTBacchus(talk) 17:38, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Or, for the pro-"death" crowd (which I just remembered includes myself):
An abortion is the termination of an embryo of fetus' gestation in a womb, resulting in or from the death of the embryo or fetus.
Yeah.... that's a stronger phrasing, and covers every case I can think of. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:41, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
That is pretty solid, I'd go for that one. Broad support will be needed to change the old version to this. - RoyBoy 800 23:17, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Warning regarding current edit war re article intro

Warning for all editwarring folks who have not used up their 3RR quota or are preparing for their second round. Their is no new consensus so the article needs to be in its previous state. Discuss at will, then put it to a vote, start an RfC, whatever, but do not editwar. AvB ÷ talk 08:41, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

I have posted this edit war to AN/I. Please stop the edit war or it will be stopped for you. And don't forget WP:3RR. AvB ÷ talk 11:21, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
I posted an RfC a day or 2 ago.--Pro-Lick 22:08, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Where did you announce it? AvB ÷ talk 22:59, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Pregnancy Definition must be changed to avoid POV

If you go to the NIH website [37] and use their online medical dictionary you get this result [38]:

  • PREGNANT: containing a developing embryo, fetus, or unborn offspring within the body : GESTATING : GRAVID (Source: Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary)

Although I asked for input, I have not seen any basis posted for totally excluding mention of this MEDICAL definiton in the article. This definition is sourced from a neutral manistream medical publication. The current wikpedia abortion article reads as though such a view is both unscientific and marginal. In fact, this alternate definition of pregnancy is both scientific and widely held, even among medical professionals, according to peer reviewed research. [39]. This definition makes it clear that there is no pregnancy unless the embryo (regardless of stage of development or implantation) is living and developing inside a woman's body.

I propose the following wording. Please suggest alternatives. Bottom line: the fact that there is a different mainstream medical definition in existence needs to be in the article. Its not simply a different view. Its a different medical view:

  • Pregnancy is often defined by the medical community as beginning at the implantation of the embryo. An alternative medical definiton places the beginning of pregnancy at fertilization (also called conception).

84.146.227.229

For the advocates of the definition of pregancy commencing several days to a week after conception when implanation into the uterine wall occurs, a question: Do you have a word that simply describes a woman carrying within her body a living, dividing, but not yet attached human embryo at an early stage of development? patsw 05:33, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
I think the answer is "no", but no one will admit it. Good 16:13, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

GoodandEvil returns as himself

My situation wherein I could not login at all times has ended. I will therefore revert to using my account at all times. Many of you seemed obsessed with my not signing in - an obsession that may now be put to rest. There was never any conspiracy, sock-puppetry or attempt to hide - and all guesses about the location and owner of my IP were inaccurate. I post this here becuase this is the article I love (how lucky you all are). Goodandevil

Welcome back, G&E. -GTBacchus(talk) 15:21, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Loving and trolling are not mutually exclusive.--Pro-Lick 17:47, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
WP:No personal attacks is a Wikipedia policy we should all not forget to remember. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:13, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
People can change (or at least adapt), Pro-Lick. Keep that in mind. -Kyd 12:24, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
I would like to echo GTBacchus's "welcome back". And despite the whole philosophy of Wikipedia – the encyclopaedia that anyone can edit – I think that anonymous users do get their edits reverted more often. AnnH 00:45, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Natalinasmpf version

An abortion is the cessation of a pregnancy by expelling an embryo or a foetus from the uterus.

A very nice attempt, but again this does not specify the result. As mentioned above a caesarean section also matches this definition (with the exception of embryo). I'm reverting it, not because I disagree with it persay; but I want consensus. And this is just another version/offshot of an edit war; or more accurately edit usurption; as the first version was stable and agreed upon. - RoyBoy 800 22:08, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Just rewrite the opening please, there's no need to use the revert to revision function. I specified the result of death in the next paragraph. Elle vécut heureuse à jamais (Be eudaimonic!) 22:11, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I hadn't realized that, checking. - RoyBoy 800 22:43, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Are you referring to this:
"halts the development of the embyro or foetus before it is able to sustain its own life"
My opinion is that falls under the same objection (raised by pro-lifers) as the dictionary wording "incapable of survival". It is a long way of saying death; and as we are striving for summary form, death is short and concise; unfortunately it is also more emotive and negative. But frankly I think that is an appropriate tone for the subject of abortion, be it miscarriage or induced abortion. - RoyBoy 800 22:51, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Actually, while not as concise as I would like, it is better because the result does not always result in death (as somebody arguing from a anti-abortion view made the point of). It sometimes ends in the equivalent of a premature birth. One day, it may be up to the woman to donate her embryo/fetus to another woman as men can donate sperm. So, whether by accident or intent, the pregnancy ends without death. As for edit wars, I don't see you providing any substatial sources that state that abortion must end in death to be abortion. Please stop the discussion war and provide sources.--Pro-Lick 22:19, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

But as stated above - that is referred to as a "failed abortion," in the case of an induced abortion, and "premature birth" in the case of a spontaneous abortion. The definition (by necessity) states what a "succesful" outcome is.DonaNobisPacem 23:22, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
An abortion by definition results in the termination/death of the thing being aborted; if you have reason to believe otherwise; provide it. You want the change, you convince us, not the other way around. - RoyBoy 800 22:41, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Besides, if the foetus continues to live, then it is really a failed abortion (as ironic as it may seem). If it gets transferred, then you really haven't aborted the pregnancy, only suspended it temporarily. Elle vécut heureuse à jamais (Be eudaimonic!) 22:45, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Excellent points. - RoyBoy 800 23:03, 18 March 2006 (UTC)