Talk:Abortion/Archive 27

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Off-topic posts

Wikipedia is not a discussion forum. It isn't a place to debate what you think of a topic or to share your own personal perspective. Our goal here is to help improve an encyclopedia article. Let's try to keep discussions on track. Thanks! -Severa (!!!) 10:52, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Does anyone know where you can find a site that discusses abortion, as it is is for my RS homework. Phalanxia 08:21, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Infobox proposal

User:Severa approached me re developing an infobox for abortion. Following brief discussion on what this might entail on my talk page, I have now added a draft version to Wikipedia:List of infoboxes/Proposed at Wikipedia:List of infoboxes/Proposed/Infobox Abortion. Discussion on the proposal should be helpd at Wikipedia talk:List of infoboxes/Proposed/Infobox Abortion.

Obvious point is that this applies only to induced abortions (i.e. deliberate terminations) rather than spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) (e.g. complete miscarriage, incomplete miscariage, threatened miscariage David Ruben Talk 03:12, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Incidence

Maybe I'm just having trouble interpreting citation #2 on the incidence of abortion, but it seems that what is presented in the incidence section and what is actually found in the source are very different. Figures on the Wikipedia article are in incidence per 100 pregnancies, whereas figures in the source are in incidence per 1000 pregnancies, while the numerators of each ratio are not appropriately corrected (divided by 10). This makes it appear that over 62.6% of pregnancies in Russia are terminated. This number is absurd. 62.6 out of 1000 obviously seems more likely, and appears to be what the source says. --Mister Magotchi 10:18, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Are you refering to "The Incidence of Abortion Worldwide?" If so, the data in the article is taken from Table 2, "Measures of legal abortion, by completeness of data, country and data year." The table in question has two columns, "Rate," which presents "Abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44," and "Ratio," which presents "Abortions per 100 known pregnancies" (see the footnotes). The data used in the article is from the "Ratio" column, so, yes, it is indeed presenting the incidence per 100 known pregnancies. Russia's abortion ratio is quite high in comparison to other countries, but, this has to do with the history of the country — contraception has not been widely known about, available, or accepted, and so abortion has become the primary method of birth control (see "The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality:Russia"). Here is a more recent BBC News article about the situation in Russia. -Severa (!!!) 03:01, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Image:AbortionLawsMap.png

This map is not correct. First the situation has just changed in Portugal (since yesterday; see Portuguese abortion referendum, 2007), secondly the situation is Germany is not weel represented (Abortion is not illegal - the embryo and fetus have rights, but those rights are regulated in a way that permits abortion on demand in the first weeks), thirdly, in Spain, there is abortion on demand due to the fact that one of the acceptable legal causes for abortion is the potencial danger to the women's psychological health. All this should be changed in the article. The Ogre 11:37, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

First off, all suggestions should be directed to Image talk:AbortionLawsMap.png, as all changes would be made to the image and not to this article.
  1. Portugal's new abortion law has not officially taken effect. The ball is rolling, so to speak, but the law is not yet on the books. We'll update the map when the new abortion law in Portugal officially goes into effect (as was recently done in the case of Nicaragua).
  2. Germany's abortion law is unique, in that abortion is "illegal, but not punished". See Abortion in Germany, German Federal Constitutional Court abortion decision, or Talk:Abortion_law#Abortion_law_in_US_and_Germany.
  3. There is only so much information which can be accommodated in the format of a map, and, to keep the legend from becoming overwhelmingly long and to maintain a certain level of standardization, the map deals only with policies de jure ("in law") as opposed to policies de facto ("in practice").
-Severa (!!!) 14:02, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Health risks

The line "These risks include: a perforated uterus,[22][23] perforated bowel[24] or bladder,[citation needed] septic shock,[25] sterility,[26] and death.[27]" doesn't sound right to me. Death is rather different, a result rather than medical problem. In particular, it's not a "complication". I suggest the following "These risks include: a perforated uterus,[22][23] perforated bowel[24] or bladder,[citation needed] septic shock,[25] sterility,[26]. These complications can be fatal.[27]" However, I am not sure if it is these complications listed that can cause death, or if something else is meant here. Thehalfone 09:28, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree with your questioning of the wording and meaning behind that statement. Death isn't a complication of abortion, rather a potential result of the complications which can present themselves. Septic shock carries a relatively high rate of fatality, and can be caused by several of the other complications listed (perforated bowel, etc) which potentially lead to sepsis. I think listing death is both realistic and nessecary, and wouldn't lend itself towards either side of the "argument", since the paragraph does state that early term abortion itself carries a low risk of complications. However, a more coherent presentation like yours above would improve the fluidity and meaning of the statements.Vakkffom 16:25, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

In the first sentence under Health Risks, the line states, "Early-term surgical abortion is a simple procedure. When performed before the 16th week by competent doctors — or, in some states, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physician assistants — it is safer than childbirth." As small as it may sound, it should say that it's safer for the mother...it's a critical procedure for the baby/fetus/embryo.

Unwarranted Reversions

Severa has recently made this reversion at 2:17. The only stated objection is to a quote which she asserts is "POV." Nevertheless, Severa has reverted much more than that, without any valid explanation at this discussion page or anywhere else. The notion, by the way, that the quote in question is POV is silly. It is a direct quote from the leading British writer on the common law, explaining what "quickening" means. It is brief, concise, and helpful.

The edits I made correct glaring inaccuracies, and have the net effect of shortening the section. Ultimately, KillerChihuahua's only apparent concern was that the quote in question might not be understandable, and I pointed out that people are very familiar with what the word "stir" means (e.g. from the familiar lyric "not a creature was stirring"). KillerChihuahua raised no further objection, and certainly not to the entire amount of material that Severa has repeatedly reverted.

All of these edits are fully supported by existing info at history of abortion and quickening.

Incidentally, I am curious why the 3RR policy would not apply to Severa's edits at 2:28, 2:17, 1:10, and 1:04.

Absent any valid objections here at the discussion page, I will restore the edits in question. Ferrylodge 02:39, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

"Quickening" is already wikilinked for anyone who might be unfamiliar with the term. Also, the term is already explained in the article, as "the earliest perception of fetal movement by a woman during the second trimester of pregnancy." The change was completely unnecessary. Why replace a definition which uses plain, precise terminology easily readable to modern readers with an 18th-century quote that uses indirect terminology? While the quote itself might not be POV, the selective context in which it was used certainly was, replacing plain and exact language, like "fetal" and "movement," with informal, inexact, and emotive language, like "infant" and "stir."
Why replace coverage of the Offences Against the Person Act with a lesser-known Act from 1803? This is a top tier article, intended to summarize the content of other articles (per WP:SIZE and WP:SS), so we should keep to major developments in the history of abortion law. Minor developments, or more detailed coverage of major developments, should be reserved for sub-articles. I also don't think the Roe v. Wade court case is an appropriate source for information on the history of British abortion law. Look for primary sources, not secondary sources.
I would let KC speak for herself before you jump to conclusions about whether she approves or disapproves. Edit summaries are character-limited so it's not as though you can raise every single concern you might have in one. -Severa (!!!) 04:16, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Also, regarding 3RR, this edit and this this edit have absolutely nothing to do with the "Abortion law" section. I might as well claim spelling corrections and copyedits counted toward 3RR. None of these edits count as reverts because they weren't reverting, let alone making any change to, the content that is in dispute (the "Abortion law" section).
Also, I would advise against making consecutive modifications to Talk page comments after you have initially posted them, for the reasons outlined in WP:TALK, "Don't change your text" (spelling corrections are generally okay, though). -Severa (!!!) 04:48, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I apologize for the edits that I made to my previous comment. However, please note that no one had yet replied. I now realize that, according to Wikipedia guidelines, “Even if no one has replied, someone may still have read what you have written — so think before you speak! If you wish to amend your statement, use strike-through or a place holder to show it is a retrospective alteration.” So, I’ll be more careful. But don't start feeling too good, because that's the only apology you'll find in this comment.
Regarding KillerChihuahua, I don’t think I was “jump[ing] to conclusions.” I referred to her “apparent concern.” I understand that she may very well agree with whatever your conclusions are, Severa, when the time is propitious.
By the way, thanks for the info about 3RR.
As to the merits of this discussion, the article presently implies (falsely) that Roe v.Wade only legalized abortion in the first trimester: “In the 1973 case, Roe v. Wade, the United States Supreme Court struck down state laws banning abortion in the first trimester, ruling that such laws violated an implied right to privacy in the United States Constitution.” This is grossly misleading. In fact, Roe legalized abortion in the second trimester as well as the first (for any reason a woman wishes), and additionally legalized abortion in the third trimester for limited reasons (e.g. health). That’s what the Roe v. Wade article says, that’s what the history of abortion article says, that’s what the Roe v. Wade decision said, and yet you insist on reverting to the blatantly false version, without any explanation whatsoever, thus far.
Additionally, the present article falsely states that in England the common law prevailed until 1861: “British common law allowed abortions to be performed before quickening, the earliest perception of fetal movement by a woman during the second trimester of pregnancy. In 1861, the British Parliament passed the Offences Against the Person Act, which put the common law offence of abortion into statute throughout the British Empire.” This is blatantly false. Statutory abortion law in England began in 1803, not 1861. You insist on this false statement on the ground that coverage of the 1861 Act should not be replaced by a “lesser-known Act from 1803”. However, both the 1803 Act and the 1861 Act are discussed at history of abortion. Both were discussed in the Roe v. Wade decision. Neither is trivial. It was the 1803 Act that first made post-quickening abortion illegal by statute, and not the 1861 Act as the present article falsely implies. The present article also falsely implies that the 1861 act treated post-quickening and pre-quickening abortion just like the common law did, but actually the 1861 Act made no distinction at all. The revisions that I made summarize info at history of abortion, and reduce the size of the section rather than expanding it.
Thus, the present article’s treatment of both American and British abortion law contains gross inaccuracies, which also happen to slant the article in a pro-choice direction. Even if there were no political slant, false information should not be acceptable at Wikipedia.
Your last point involves the word "quickening". You say that it is already explained in this article: “British common law allowed abortions to be performed before quickening, the earliest perception of fetal movement by a woman during the second trimester of pregnancy.” Therefore, you say that the change I made was unnecessary. You ask why we should replace a definition which uses plain, precise terminology easily readable to modern readers with an 18th-century quote that uses indirect terminology. (As an aside, I must say that I find this criticism of yours somewhat amusing, given the dozens of highly technical medical terms that you have already employed in this article.) The language that I inserted is this: “British common law allowed abortion before quickening, which was the point at which ‘an infant is able to stir in the mother's womb.’” That’s eighteen fewer characters, and no big words like “trimester” that might not be easily readable by non-doctors. Also, we’re talking about eighteenth century British common law, so let’s use the unfiltered explanation given by the leading writer on that subject, which merely summarizes a longer quotation from Blackstone at history of abortion. (You objected that I haven't used a primary source, instead of Roe v. Wade, and quoting Blackstone seems rather "primary" to me.) Importantly, Blackstone did not say anything about what a woman feels or does not feel, nor did he say anything about when during pregnancy she feels it. His summary of the common law only depended upon whether fetal movement occurs, and does not require that a woman feel it, much less that she feel it in the second trimester. The present article conveys the false impression that British common law allowed abortion of a fetus that is able to move itself around in the womb, as long as the woman does not feel it. That is a false characterization of British common law.
Incidentally, you object that the Roe v. Wade court case is not "an appropriate source for information on the history of British abortion law. Look for primary sources, not secondary sources." And what would you consider a primary source? A summary of British abortion law from the Guttmacher organization? Undisputed historical descriptions of the law from the U.S. Supreme Court seem very reliable to me. Do I have to quote the 1803 law itself?
I might add, just in passing, and on a personal note, that a really unusual thing happened where I work, a couple months ago. One of our bookkeepers called in sick. She went to her doctor complaining of various symptoms, and the doctor told her that she was about to give birth, which she did a day or so thereafter. She had no idea! She has a lovely little girl now, but amazingly she did not feel a thing for nine months. Believe it or not. Anyway, this story is just an afterthought.Ferrylodge 05:43, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
P.S. I should add that the Offences Against the Person Act is well known primarily for reasons that have nothing to do with abortion. Also, my little story at the end is 100% true.Ferrylodge 07:53, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I think you are perceiving a "political slant" where none is present. I might very well argue that the information on the Offenses Against the Person Act, or the Irish constitutional amendment, gave the article a "pro-life slant," but I'm not, because this article — moreover, this section – should not be defined in terms of pro-life versus pro-choice.
"Additionally, the present article falsely states that in England the common law prevailed until 1861."
Actually, it doesn't — it merely mentions British common law allowed abortion before the point of quickening without setting any relative dates. Then, it goes on to state that the 1861 OAP made abortion a criminal offence throughout the British Empire, which included Canada, Australia, and other colonies, not just England itself. Certainly, however, there is no implication in the article that "abortion law in England began in 1861"; in fact, the text "which put the common law offence of abortion into statute throughout the British Empire" implies that a common law offence existed in Britain before it was codified elsewhere. The information on Lord Ellenborough's Act was a recent addition to the History of abortion article, and, also cites Roe, so I don't think we can judge a lot from that. I certainly think reference to Ellenborough could be worked into the existing framework of the section, as in, "British common law allowed abortions to be performed before quickening, the earliest perception of fetal movement by a woman during the second trimester of pregnancy, until the passage of Lord Ellenborough's Act in 1803." I'll try to find the text online, although it looks like there were several Lord Ellenboroughs, and that the surname of the family that controls this peerage is Law (resulting in an amusing possible alternative name for the Act, "Law's law" :-).
I'm not implying that the U.S. Supreme Court isn't reliable, or informed. I'm just saying that their summarization of the British law is secondary, and that the original text of the law, or at least a summary of it from a book or web site about the history of British law, would be a more appropriate, being primary sources. -Severa (!!!) 10:20, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Severa, I agree that this article should not be defined in terms of pro-life versus pro-choice. As I said, “Even if there were no political slant, false information should not be acceptable at Wikipedia.” The political slant of the false information I mentioned may be intentional, or it may be unintentional, but to deny it (as you apparently do) is (again) FALSE.
The idea promoted by this article is that Roe only legalized abortion in the first three months. This is known as “The First Three Months Myth”, and is obviously designed to promote support for Roe. E.g. see this pro-life site to which I have already referred you in the past, when I sought to excise this myth from the “public opinion” section of this article.
Regarding this article’s description of the “Offences Against the Person Act”, the article says that this act “put the common law offence of abortion into statute throughout the British Empire". It is unfortunate that you do not acknowledge the obvious implication that the statute turned a common law offense into a statutory offense, which is FALSE. That occurred many decades previously. Moreover, both the 1803 Act and the 1861 Act went far beyond the common law offense, by penalizing pre-quickening abortion. To pretend that old British law was much more permissive than it actually was is not only FALSE, but it also encourages the notion that old British law is not a valid precedent for non-permissive anti-abortion laws.
Additionally, I do not appreciate being misquoted. I never said anything about “abortion law in England began in 1861.” I never said those words, and yet you place them in quote marks, which is (again) FALSE.
You are correct that the information on Lord Ellenborough's Act (the 1803 British Act) was a recent addition to the History of Abortion article. So? That only shows that the History of Abortion article was misleading as well. After that article was corrected, it was scrutinized by many editors (including you). If you think that the info about the 1803 Act is incorrect in some way, why don’t you come out and say so? Instead, you say that it could be "worked into the existing framework of the section." I agree that it could, and therefore the edit should not have been reverted.
I see from the history of abortion page that you have found a reference for the 1803 Act that makes you feel more comfortable, so I have no objection to citing that reference instead of Roe v. Wade, although there is nothing wrong with citing the latter’s unrefuted historical account of the 1803 Act either. However, that is the only change you have proposed (in the edit that I made) to which I presently agree. You evidently want to omit the Blackstone quote, and you respond to none (i.e. zero) of the reasons I provided for keeping that quote.
Again, as mentioned in the comment thread, I hope you will take a good, hard look at WP:OWN. You also might benefit from WP:NPOV. And surely there must be some "WP" that covers misquoting other editors.Ferrylodge 16:55, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I see that Severa has made some edits to the abortion law section, and those edits partially address the concerns described above. However, there still has been no response regarding some of the concerns described above. The article still says that the pre-1803 definition of "quickening" was "the earliest perception of fetal movement by a woman during pregnancy." That is not what the leading writer on the common law (Blackstone) said, and it is unsupported by any reference. Definitions can (unfortunately) change over time, especially as medical organizations or governmental organizations decide that new definitions will be more convenient for them. How is it appropriate to put definitions into the mouths of Blackstone and his contemporaries? What is wrong with simply quoting Blackstone as I did?
Also, regarding the Offences Against the Person Act in 1861, why is this even mentioned? That Act was famous, but not for any reason related to abortion. The article currently gives the false impression that the Offences Against the Person Act did something about abortion which the 1803 Act did not do, namely: "put the common law offence of abortion into statute throughout the British Empire." This is very misleading. The Offences Against the Person Act did not adopt the common law view that pre-quickening abortion should be legal. Moreover, the 1803 Act was effective throughout the British Empire.
I assume from the long, dead silence following my previous comment that no further reply will be forthcoming, without further agitation. Further edits are necessary, in order to make this section on abortion law accurate.Ferrylodge 22:26, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

(undent) Give it more than a day before deciding no one will answer. People do other things, you know? KillerChihuahua?!? 22:36, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Okay.Ferrylodge 23:46, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
I have already dealt with the "quickening" issue above and do not see how continued back-and-forth on the matter is productive. As for the Offences Against the Persons Act, the bit about the British Empire was intended to reflect the fact that many nations patterned their laws after it, and thus it has had an impact on abortion laws throughout the world. I'll modify the article to reflect that. -Severa (!!!) 15:12, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying about the OAPA. I just edited slightly to clarify further. On Blackstone and quickening, I'll have an additional brief comment.Ferrylodge 04:34, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Re. quickening, the article now says, "English common law allowed abortions to be performed before 'quickening', the earliest perception of fetal movement by a woman during pregnancy." When I get a chance, I'll investigate further whether this definition of common law quickening is accurate. Certainly, it is not the definition that Blackstone gave when he described the English common law of abortion. It may well be that the definition provided here is a more modern definition, and if so it would be out of place with reference to English common law. In any event, I can see why you might be skeptical, and therefore I'll look into it some more.Ferrylodge 04:45, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
I understand your concern because with ultrasounds and other advances in medicine, we today know that an 'infant' begins to 'stir' weeks before the woman feels movement. The question is, did they have knowledge of that in 1765? "Quickening" itself is an archaic term, it seems unlikely that the "modern sense" would be less accurate than the 1765 sense (assuming the 1765 sense was refering to some state in a pregnancy before the woman felt fetal movemenet). On top of that, the Blackstone text specifically uses the word "quick" as well "For if a woman is quick with child..." So I googled the phrase "quick with child" and found this. The section take from "Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856)" is very helpful in clearing up this matter because it defines the term and cited Blackstone. Therefore, I believe our current wording is accurate, so now the issue is: what is better the current summary, or the direct quote? (which was basically the original question, but I believe issues of accuracy are less significant after this research)-Andrew c 15:45, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks Andrew C. Like I said, I'll research the matter when I get a chance. Bouvier's was a mid-nineteenth century dictionary of American law, rather than a mid-eighteenth century dictionary of British law.Ferrylodge 18:59, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
NPOV is the greatest concern here. "Infant" is not a neutral, accurate term in this context; "stir" has a quaint, poetic feel to it, which is not really what we're looking for when trying to write in encyclopaedic tone. There isn't really a logical basis for selectively using an 18th-century quotation when we can define the word simply in modern English. If one was to argue for the inclusion of the Blackstone quote on the basis of historical context, they might as well argue that instances of "African" in pre-1960s sections at African American history should be changed to "Negro" or "coloured," because those were the terms predominately used in those eras. As for the earlier consideration, "The present article conveys the false impression that British common law allowed abortion of a fetus that is able to move itself around in the womb, as long as the woman does not feel it," I believe you are putting the cart before the horse, Ferrylodge. People in the 18th-century would've had no way of determining that fetal movement begins before the woman can perceive it, not without ultrasound, so whether English common law would have disallowed first trimester abortion had they known is a "What if?" question, a speculation, and speculation shouldn't form the basis of how this article is written (per WP:V and WP:NOR). -Severa (!!!) 19:13, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

(undent) I've already made my position clear, I believe, but just to ensure: the Blackstone quote is not a good choice, IMO. Modern langage, per Severa, with the additional comment that since abortion didn't stop (nor did pregnancy) in the 1800s, there is even more reason not to use archaic language than her African example illustrates. Ferrylodge, you do not seem to have support for this quote replacing modern clear language. KillerChihuahua?!? 12:47, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

As I told Andrew C., I will research the matter some more, and I assume that you will keep an open mind about it. It really doesn't matter whether we use Blackstone's exact words or not, as long as we don't distort the meaning of the eighteenth century British common law. That should be very clear.Ferrylodge 15:47, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

abortion rates drastically declining during Clinton

I added this to the intro on american abortions: "Interestingly, both the abortion rate & ratio remained consistent during the republican presidencies of Reagan & Bush, and then dropped drastically by 1/3 with far fewer women having abortions during the democratic Clinton presidency. It went from typically 24 per 1000 women from 1980-1992, and then during 1992-2000 it dropped drastically to only 16 per 1000 women by the end of the Clinton presidency having abortions".[1]

I have been consistently blocked from bringing this information to the public!. I am charging those blocking me from bringing this info to the public as being perhaps excess child-termination proponents! It was the Clintons when the abortion of unborn children was drastically reduced in america! Now someone is trying to tell me it is original research to make the connection that the rates declined during clinton!!! Its original research to state that clinton was president during 1992-2000???!!! This is very upsetting!!!

its nice to see right away what the typical rates of abortion have been in the US, its just inconvenient for some that actually, against popular imagination, the rates plunged to far fewer women having abortions during Clinton, during Reagan-Bush it was much higher and remained constant, the american people have been deceived and lied to by campaigns against the Clintons using the abortion issue, its actually the Clintons that had drastic reductions in abortions...no one else has even come close to matching those reductions in abortions!!! I'm not saying I'm pro-Clinton or anti-republican or something, I'm just stating facts, and I was incidently shocked by the reality, and now feel as if i have been deceived by american republicans, I live in switzerland actually after having left america during Bush2, and I tend to think americans should do more like the French and make it a 10 week limit perhaps, at least a 12 week limit except for emergencies, its too easy in america to get an abortion i think, the French for instance have higher standards, yet i am happy the Clintons helped greatly reduce the abortion rate in america!!!...

I was not really pro-Hillary before, yet now that i have discovered this inconvenient truth, I am considering actually backing her, if she promises to continue this good work during her presidency of reducing the abortion rates in america by what means she sees will work!!!...after seeing the abortion rate drop by 1/3!!! during her husbands presidency, I think I now may back Hillary, and i feel I have been deceived, somehow the Clintons used a moderate rational position to drastically reduce abortion rates, while maintaining free will and freedom of choice for americans...

and I am very upset with those trying to remove these facts, this information could have a very important impact on further reducing abortion rates!83.79.137.123 05:18, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

I'll try to explain the reason why your proposed edit is "original research". Your proposal implies that Clinton (pro-choice Democrat) actively reduced the abortion rate while Reagan and Bush (pro-life Republicans) could not. While it is true that you are listing two facts, it isn't necessarily true that they are related. Putting two facts together is considered synthesis which is specifically forbidden in our OR policy. For instance, I could say "The Wu-Tang Clan released 36 Chambers in 1993 and then Wu-Tang Forever in 1997. Interestingly, both the abortion rate & ratio consistent fell during this reign of the Wu. On the other hand, Clan of Xymox released the majority of their major albums in the 80s, when abortion rates were steady." Just simple facts, right? But when I put them together, it sounds like the Wu-Tang Clan is the superior Clan when it comes to reducing abortion rates. Call it "guilt by association", or call it "correlation not causation", but on wikipedia, these sort of things need sourcing, qualification, and substantiation. Hope this helps. You shouldn't be discouraged from editing just because you get reverted. Talk things out, read up on the policy, and then take another stab at editing (maybe perform some less controversial edits to not-so high profile articles at first). Anyway, good luck.-Andrew c 06:09, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

sorry, ur argument doesnt hold water, talking about record producers in the context of abortions has no relevance, talking about the leader of the country and what happened to abortion rates during their reign does in fact, while the Clintons were "pro-choice", they were not "pro-abortion"...they promoted a sensible moderate rational humane agenda, & where people could make their own choices, they provided the mood of sanity, the education, and also economic situation for the country where people made more responsible choices, were optomistic, and had the means and mental wherewithall to choose to have their children...and the Clintons drastically reduced the abortion rate, trickle down theory ends up with a flood of abortions at the bottom as the middle and lower classes havent been looked out for and the cash has all been sequestered to the top, yet go ahead and tell me abraham lincoln was responsible for the drastic drop in abortions during the Clintons or some record producer was, go ahead, 83.78.144.13 20:56, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

I understand the logic behind the assertation that abortion rates declined during the Clinton Administration: the belief is that Clinton's cabinet was more likely to support the distribution of birth control and comprehensive sex education to minors, resulting in less unintended pregnancies, and thus reducing the number of abortions by reducing the "demand" for them. Republican Administrations, on the other hand, have been more supportive of abstinence-only education, which might be said to have resulted in more unintended pregnancies and thus more abortions.
On the other hand, as Andrew c noted, correlation does not equal causation. Here's a humourous chart that demonstrates the crucial difference between correlation and causation. The chart compares the increase in global temperatures to the decline in the number of pirates over the last 200 years. Of course, the numbers are correlated, but no one is suggesting that a paucity of pirates in the modern world is what's actually behind global warming.
The decline in abortions during the Clinton Administation could have been caused by something unrelated to Democratic policy, as Republican Administrations of the last 25 years have coincided with economic downturns (see Early 1980s recession, Late 1980s recession, and Early 2000s recession), and "hard times" might have motivated an increase in abortions for socioeconomic reasons. I'm not saying that was the case — only giving an example of a possible alternative explanation.
If you want to add the information about the decline in U.S. abortions during the Clinton Administration to the article, I would suggest finding a neutral, reliable source that backs up the claim that the decline was directly related to the Clintons. Taking the CDC numbers on abortions during the 1980s and 1990s and inferring from them that the decline in the '90s must have been related to the Democratic leadership would be original research as Andrew c stated. It would be drawing a conclusion from a source that was not supported in the source itself. I also think this information might be more appropriate for Abortion in the United States. This article is trying to summarize the subject of abortion throughout the world, so information that is more specific to a particular country should go in a sub-article. -Severa (!!!) 10:21, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

people can make their own determinations when presented with facts

anyways i didnt put any conclusions in the article about the drastic drop in abortion during the Clinton reign or try and explain it on the abortion in america article which indeed is where i placed it, i merely showed this highly important correlation and stated the fact that the abortion rate drastically declined by 1/3 even, during the Clintons holding the executive office, people can make their own determinations about why that was, they are just shown the facts that they did decline during the Clintons and not during the Reagan-Bush era...the Clintons clearly advanced a pro-choice agenda that included an anti-abortion stance and were highly successful with it in reducing abortions, no one has even come close, the actor Reagan and then Bush proclaimed some sort of anti-abortion stance or "pro life" stance, yet we see in reality what happened was they had no effect on the abortion rate, we were deceived and its highly doubtful whether they truly had in mind reducing abortions even, it was surely all lies: as if they had wanted to reduce abortion rate, they clearly could have being in the extremely powerful position of presidents!!! 83.78.144.13 21:11, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

abortion rates did in fact drastically decline during the Clintons

and as stated before my initial theory as why the Clintons were so successful in reducing abortions starts with (the Clintons were "pro-choice", they were not "pro-abortion"...they promoted a sensible moderate rational humane agenda, & where people could make their own choices, they provided the mood of sanity, the education, and also economic situation for the country where people made more responsible choices, were optomistic, and had the means and mental wherewithall to choose to have their children...and the Clintons drastically reduced the abortion rate, trickle down theory ends up with a flood of abortions at the bottom as the middle and lower classes havent been looked out for and the cash has all been sequestered to the top)...thats my initial thoughts yet i have not tried to add that to the article page as perhaps I am the only person to have recognized this fact of the drastic reduction in abortion during the Clintons, perhaps my explanation is indeed OR, & no one has advanced this on the internet yet as to why the Clintons were so successful in reducing abortions... so I didnt add any explanation, merely showed the facts...of course pirates and global warming have nothing to do with eachother, that is common sense, it is also common sense to note that the leader of a country has a drastic effect on that country!, yet I am open for debate on exactly what it was about the Clinton policies that were able to reduce abortions by 1/3, perhaps you are right sex education for young people and condom distribution had a good impact too, yet as you see you jumped the gun stating that this was the only reasoning as to why they were so successful, my reasoning was quite different, surely both of our explanations had some part to play in the Clintons drastically reducing abortion rates 83.78.144.13 21:24, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

what??? are the crazies out there going to tell me next i cant put in wikipedia that the Iraq War happened during the George Bush Junior administration???!!!...I dont know people, english wikipedia is so republican that it wont even acknowledge the facts anymore???, english wikipedia needs more moderates & independents editing and not just american republicans, as there is much on the conservative agenda i really agree with, yet some american republicans have been betraying that agenda either thru negligence, deceit, or else just incompetence, we have to go all the way back to Eisenhower to find a solid republican party...I really am unhappy with all the abortions, and so I am supporting the people that get results in humanely reducing the abortion rate, and also reducing the length in weeks of the age of embryo when people are getting these abortions, while still maintaining some degree of personal human freedom, talk all you want about pro this or that..I want results!... I had no idea about these amazing figures before researching this, and I have changed my opinion of the Clintons now, before i was rather neutral and somewhat sceptical of the Clintons, and I still am unhappy with a few things about their policies that i disagree with, but they sure did reduce the abortion rate drastically, plus there were no successful major attacks on the US during the Clintons, and the mood of the country was just more optomistic & positive during them, it was a more successful country and the world had more respect for america and amercians, I think maybe if someone had been so upset with america during the Clintons and had been able to break thru the security during the Clintons that they would have handled it both aggressively, yet more competently and thoughtfully, they would perhaps have given us results like they did with reducing abortion rates 83.78.144.13 21:50, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Hello. I am neither American nor Republican, and I would just like to say, as politely as possible, that Wikipedia is not the place to discuss your theories. If you can find a verifiable source that claims incidence of abortion in the US was affected by the Clinton administration's policies, then go ahead and add it to the article, but if all your source shows is a decline in abortions from year A to year B, then that is all you can say. Changing what the source says amounts to misquoting the source. Hope this clears things up. SheffieldSteel 00:13, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

thanks sheffieldsteel, and indeed that is all i did say, in the article i simply put in the drastic decline in abortions during the clintons, the steady rate of abortion during reagan-bush, making no comment other than this was interesting...its on the talk page that a discussion of why exactly it was the Clintons instead of the Reagan Bush has taken place in defense of even being able to bring the information to the public at all: that indeed it was during the Clintons that abortions drastically declined...and Im sure you will see a thorough discussion of why it was the Clintons that were able to drastically reduce abortions presented to us in the american elections!!!...and while i could be considered an american by some, I dont live there anymore, and i am neither a republican or democrat! what is the lesser of the two evils???...just depends on the case...when it comes to abortion rate though, the Clintons clearly had a drastic decline in abortion rate, from what i understand during Bush2 it declined slightly, yet nothing at all like the reduction in abortion rate during Clinton, something like 4 times the rate of reduction during clinton as during Bush2, i'll check it out to see exactly, yet i tend to think the number of dead babies & children abroad eliminated any decline in abortions the Bush2 people may have achieved, Clintons achieved: 33% reduction in abortion rate...Reagan-Bush: no change, highest rates ever...Bush2??? i'll be back in a flash with that last one...as it does deserve a fair shake that the abortion rate at least declined slightly or moderately and statistically significantly during Bush2 also, just not quite like during the Clintons where it declined drastically 83.78.144.13 02:24, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

well data for first term (4 years) of Bush 2 shows a slight decrease, during Clinton america got the rate from rates of 23, 24, & 25 per 1000 women typical of Reagan-Bush1, quickly down to 16 per 1000 women during Clintons first term where it remained with more modest reductions in the second term, (perhaps the republican congress for the later half of clinton & their effect on america had an impact in blocking the further drastic reduction, perhaps after achieving that initial 33% reduction it gets harder to maintain such figures in reduction?) anyways Bush2 got it from the typical average of 16 per 1000 women during the second term of clinton, down to 15 per 1000 women...so this was a highly significant reduction during Bush2 first term, a further 6½% or so from what he started with, or around a 4% reduction from that all-time high during Reagan-Bush of 24 or so, but nothing like that 33% reduction during Clinton...we will later see the stats for second term Bush2 to be able to make a final comparison, but i think hes got his work cut out to even hit a 10% reduction overall for his 8 years, and thats quite an achievement if he can do it, not to belittle a 10% reduction if he can get there, but its gonna be tough to equal that 33% drastic reduction during Clintons tenure in office, to match Clinton he would need to get it down 8 per thousand, clinton went from 24 to 16, bush2 needs to go from 16 per 1000 to down to 8 per thousand to match that and have achieved another 33% reduction from those all-time highs, after first term he achieved 15 per 1000 women having abortions 83.79.136.221 02:06, 5 March 2007 (UTC)


For what it is worth, one could also say that abortion rates dropped when Republicans took over in Congress in 1994 (and continued falling through 2006). It would be just as accurate and also not very enlightening.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 152.3.150.179 (talkcontribs) 13:59, 7 March 2007.

To add the perspective of someone pro-life and non-American: what has this statistical correlation (cause it is no more than this) to do in the overall WP article on abortion? Quite apart from the fact that it is, as the previous post points to, it is always POV to put figures next to anything else than years. Whether the Clintons (why actually the plural, she was politically involved only two years) deserve credit, intended this, could have done more, I will not comment on. Str1977 (smile back) 19:17, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

South Africa added

I've added Abortion in South Africa -- please wikify if you want, or check for errors. Thanks. -- leuce 17:08, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Looks like this is a pretty well-rounded article so far! I'll probably get around to wikifying it later this week. I would recommend citing your sources, though, because, as it stands, some of the information is uncited (see WP:CITE for help). Also, after this, you might want to consider adding the public opinion data to Societal attitudes towards abortion, because I haven't had any success finding opinion polls from South Africa, and the addition of one would contribute greatly to increasing the global perspective of the article. Thanks! -Severa (!!!) 22:57, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
All information is cited (see source code) -- I just don't quite know how to cite it in wikistyle. -- leuce 15:45, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
Okay, sorry. I was unaware of that fact — I didn't check the article's code. Thanks again. :-) -Severa (!!!) 08:59, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Fetal pain, summary section

While I agree that we should only summarize the fetal pain article here, I disagree with Ferrylodge's removing our version and replacing it with the very recently rewritten, rather poor summary from the Fetus article. Our version relates the topic to abortion in the very first sentence. It isn't too detailed and is well sourced. The 'new' version is poorly written. The first two sentences are rather simple "Blank is blank. Blank is blank." It has one citation, to a political subcommittee hearing from 2005. And the last sentence is just atrocious. The new summary doesn't even have full support over at fetus, so I don't see any reason for it to go here. However, since I have reverted the change, I'd be glad to make the proposal (I am also proposing that we use a modified version of the long standing fetal pain summary section from this article over at the fetus article. please weigh in on that as well over at Talk:Fetus):

I propose that the summary of the fetal pain article used at the fetus article should be copied here. What do you think?.-Andrew c 23:06, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Andrew c, we had a long discussion over at the fetus article regarding how to summarize the fetal pain article. A couple days ago, I shortened that section in the fetus article, per the advice of you yourself, and another editor. Now, you apparently are having second thoughts.
Second thoughts are fine, and I’m glad to discuss the matter. However, why do you think it’s appropriate for you to just all of a sudden take a poll, without first giving me a chance to respond to your new objections, and without giving yourself a chance to consider what I have to say? And why are you making a proposal that you oppose? Wouldn’t you agree that premature polling is counterproductive?
As to my reasons for believing that the summary of fetal pain in this abortion article is deficient, there are several reasons. First, why not conform this summary with the summary of fetal pain in the fetus article? After all, that summary has been discussed and developed much more recently than the summary in the present abortion article.
Second, the summary at the fetus article (which was shortened to one paragraph at your own recommendation) is superior to the summary here, because it does not go into very much detail, and leaves the details to be hashed out at the fetal pain article.
Third, the so-called “summary” here contains info that is not even mentioned in the fetal pain article, some of which is either incorrect or uncited or incomplete:
  • the Schmidt letter at note 45 is not mentioned in the fetal pain article;
  • the BBC article about the JAMA study at footnote 46 is not mentioned in the fetal pain article. No hint is given, either in the BBC article or here, about the pro-choice ties of the JAMA study’s authors, or about the rebuttal to the JAMA study given by scholars such as Dr. Anand, and all of these problems apply equally to footnote 50 where the JAMA study is directly cited;
  • the fetal pain article does not mention the term “pain receptors” nor does it mention that anything is formed in the “seventh week” (which is uncited, and ambiguous due to the difference between gestational age and fertilization age);
  • the fetal pain article does not discuss that the thalamus starts to form in the fifth week (again, uncited and ambiguous);
  • this so-called summary is biased, because it gives no clue that pain can occur without nociception, or that many scientists believe the cortex is unnecessary to consciously experience pain;
  • the “Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology” cited in note 47 is not mentioned in the fetal pain article; and
  • the article on inability of fetuses to feel pain, cited at note 48, is not mentioned in the fetal pain article, nor is it mentioned here that the scientist in question (Derbyshire) has pro-choice ties.
These are just some of the many many problems raised by this so-called “summary” of fetal pain in this abortion article. The best approach would be to do what you yourself suggested in the fetus article: have a brief summary here, and then deal with all these issues in the fetal pain article. It would be very difficult to repeatedly and redundantly edit three articles at once, in order to get a correct description of fetal pain.
Of course, now that you've already voted in the poll that you started, you may not be inclined to consider anything I've said here, but perhaps others will.Ferrylodge 00:17, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • P.S. If you insist on proceeding with this poll, I would obviously Support. Also, I will conform this article's section on fetal pain to the similar section in the fetus article, unless of course there is further objection.Ferrylodge 00:33, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Merge the Caplan reference into the current paragraph. References are what make Wikipedia articles valuable; otherwise we are just the online encyclopedia that any idiot can edit. I see no justification for deleting the current two references. If the paragraph sentence does not accurately reflect those references, then it should be reworded. -- Cat Whisperer 00:35, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
There are currently six references, not two. Detailed references belong in the fetal pain article, not here.Ferrylodge 00:40, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Please do not act like I support the current summary section at Fetus. I supported removing the second paragraph, which was recently inserted and was turning into a debate. I specifically said that I thought the sentence about "24,26, 28, or 7th week, or after birth, etc " was terrible. And you deleted the older content in favor of your Caplan quote that supports your POV, but doesn't support the "emerging consensus" (which was deleted in your cut). I thought the version from last week wasn't that bad. Anyway, a solution to the problem of using some sources here and other sources at the main article isn't to delete sourced content, but to expand the parent article. Yes there is a disconnect in the specific content (but not the overall picture) between the summary section here and the main article. And we should work to better syncronize the articles. But deletion of sourced material isn't the solution. Perhaps I over-reacted to your blanking of longstanding content with no talk page discussion (by over-reacted, I mean I didn't have to phrase it in the form of a poll), but at least I didn't call you a vandal ;)-Andrew c 01:52, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Andrew c, no, you haven't lately called me a "plagiarist" or a "bully" who is "freaking out" (as you have in the past). Nor have you called me a "vandal" as I once called you, but then again I didn’t write a misleading edit summary. [UPDATE: I spoke too soon. Andrew c has just called me a bully again. Please try to be civil.]
Regarding your accusation that my “POV” led me to replace Johnson's “emerging consensus” quote with the Caplan quote, I deny your accusation, and I am offended by it. The Caplan quote is: "there is no consensus among the medical and scientific experts about precisely when a fetus becomes pain-capable”.
This Caplan quote is in plain English, without Johnson’s highly technical discussion of “thalamocortical connections". Moreover, Caplan was discussing the consensus generally among “medical and scientific experts” rather than merely among the very tiny group of Johnson's “developmental neurobiologists”. Additionally, Caplan does not use weasel words like “emerging consensus”. (Either there is a consensus or there isn’t.) Caplan, by the way is entirely correct. See Derbyshire, David, Foetuses 'may be conscious long before abortion limit', Telegraph (UK) 2003-09-03: "a Daily Telegraph straw poll found many neurologists were concerned that foetuses could feel pain in the womb before 24 weeks after conception."
Arthur Caplan is very well known and highly respected. Your accusation that he made his statement about a “consensus” due to some kind of pro-life POV is manifestly absurd. Caplan made the statement while testifying against a bill in Congress to require that women seeking abortions be given fetal pain info. Caplan is pro-choice. Yet by quoting him, you say I’m inserting some kind of pro-life POV into Wikipedia. Can't you ever give me a break???
Frankly, it is very unpleasant rebutting your repeated and absurd accusations of “POV”.
If you believe (as you say you do) that there is a disconnect in the specific content between the summary section here and the main fetal pain article, then the solution is for you to insert whatever content you think is important into the fetal pain article, rather than jamming back into this article without touching the fetal pain article. I did not see that any of the material I deleted was necessary at the fetal pain article, but if you disagree then please move it there, instead of merely jamming it back into this article.
You say that you thought the version from last week wasn't that bad. Could that be because that version omitted Caplan’s quote, and mentioned not one word about the majority of doctors and scientists who believe fetal pain is possible before 24 weeks has elapsed from conception? How you can seriously accuse me of a POV problem when you engage in such behavior is completely beyond me.
Regarding what you previously supported for the fetal pain section of the fetus article, you supported a summary of three sentences. But now you’re apparently suporting a summary of nine sentences. Correct me if I’m wrong, but have you just responded to zero of the bulleted points that I made in my last comment?Ferrylodge 03:19, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I was referring to the two references in the original version of the first paragraph that you modified, not the references from the other paragraphs that you deleted. I can countenance removing references from this article after they have been migrated to the fetal pain article, but removing references that are not already present in the fetal pain article merely because the "should" belong there does a disservice to Wikipedia and its readers. -- Cat Whisperer 03:34, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Cat Whisperer, here are the six footnotes that I deleted:
45. Schmidt, Dr. Richard T. F., et. al. (1984-02-13). Open Letter to President Reagan. Press release. Retrieved on 2006-11-18. Doesn’t mention a number of weeks.
46. BBC News Article (2005). "Foetuses 'no pain up to 29 weeks'." Retrieved 2006-07-18.
47. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. (1997).Fetal Awareness. Retrieved 2006-01-11. See last paragraph. Preliminary to study mentioned in NOTE 19.
48. BBC News Article (2006). "Foetuses 'cannot experience pain'." Retrieved 2006-07-18. See stuff in footnote 4.
49. Anand, K., Phil, D., & Hickey, P.R. (1987). Pain and its effects on the human neonate and fetus. New England Journal of Medicine, 316 (21), 1321-9. Retrieved 2006-01-11 from The Circumcision Reference Library.
50. Lee, Susan J., Ralston, Henry J. Peter, Drey, Eleanor A., Partridge, John Colin, & Rosen, Mark A. (2005). Fetal Pain: A Systematic Multidisciplinary Review of the Evidence. Journal of the American Medical Association, 294 (8), 947-954. Retrieved November 10, 2006.
Cat Whisperer, it seems to me that footnotes 49 and 50 are already included in the fetal pain article (at notes 14 and 10 respectively). Also, footnote 48, regarding Stuart Derbyshire, is already well-covered by the material in footnote 4 of the fetal pain article. Likewise, it seems to me that footnote 46, regarding the JAMA study, is already well-covered by footnotes 10, 11, and 27 of the fetal pain article. Regarding footnote 47, if you look at the last paragraph, you'll see that it is merely preliminary to an RCOG report that is available at footnote 19 of the fetal pain article. Finally, regarding footnote 45, that letter to President Reagan does not really say when the signers thought fetal pain was possible; i.e. it is a very vague letter. However, if you think that any of these footnotes 45-48 should be included in the fetal pain article, then I would be glad to insert them into the footnotes there. Just let me know which ones.Ferrylodge 04:10, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Ferrylodge, Thanks for taking the time to go through the references in such detail. I have no problem with shortening the discussion here once the sourced content has been migrated to the fetal pain article, as the present article is very long at 69K. I'm going to go through the references one by one and give my comments for consideration below. Thanks again, Cat Whisperer 04:44, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Reference 49. I agree that it is well covered in the fetal pain reference 14. -- Cat Whisperer 04:44, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Reference 50. The reference itself is covered, but the explanation of what the reference is saying is more understandable in this article. Would it be possible to add an English explanation a la "suggesting that the human experience of pain, being more than just physiological, cannot be measured in such reflexive responses" to the end of the fetal pain article sentence containing reference 10a? -- Cat Whisperer 04:44, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Reference 48. I favor adding the BBC link to the footnote text to fetal pain reference 4, just after the Forbes article link, e.g. "See (Forbes article) or (BBC report)." -- Cat Whisperer 04:47, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Reference 47. The fetal pain reference 19 is for a different point. The fetal pain article claims 26 weeks for the thalamus-cortex link at several points, versus the 23 weeks used in the present article with reference 47 as the cite. -- Cat Whisperer 04:55, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Reference 46. Similar to reference 48, I favor adding a link to the BBC news report from the fetal pain reference 10 footnote text. -- Cat Whisperer 04:59, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Reference 45. I favor adding it to the fetal pain article in some manner. The present article sentence for the reference seems misleading to me, as the letter cited only claims sentience (not the ability to feel pain) by the first trimester. The letter does claim the ability to feel pain prior to birth, which is relevant to the debate even without specifying a particular trimester. -- Cat Whisperer 05:08, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
OK, thanks. I'll get on it as soon as I can (maybe tomorrow). Then perhaps we can return to ensuring that the fetal pain article is appropriately summarized at this abortion article. Until then....Ferrylodge 05:17, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • The "Fetal pain" sub-section of the article has been stable for a long time (in comparison to Fetal pain, which has been subject to a recent flurry of activity), and, as such, substantial changes to it must be made through consensus in the event of a content dispute. The suggested version doesn't treat the subject in as much detail as the current version. It does not discuss any of the evidence for or against fetal pain, at any stage, and thus is not in keeping with the "Breast cancer" or "Mental health" sub-sections, which briefly examine a few studies. These omissions are not helpful, and reduce the informativeness of the section. -Severa (!!!) 10:06, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Cat Whisperer, I have now inserted the material in question into the fetal pain article. In order to prevent this type of disconnect from recurring, I suggest that we keep the summary of fetal pain in this abortion article short. Same with the summary of fetal pain in the fetus article. That will obviate the need to edit three articles whenever any one of them is edited; instead the edits would only have to be made to the fetal pain article.

The "summary" here is either incorrect or uncited or incomplete, and I would very much like it to be shortened. Despite linking to the JAMA study as well as a news article about that study, this article (and the sources to which it links) give no hint about the pro-choice ties of the JAMA study’s authors, or about the rebuttal to the JAMA study given by scholars such as Dr. Anand. The fetal pain article does not mention the term “pain receptors” nor does it mention that anything is formed in the “seventh week” (which is uncited, and ambiguous due to the difference between gestational age and fertilization age). The fetal pain article does not discuss that the thalamus starts to form in the fifth week (again, uncited and ambiguous). This summary is also biased because it gives no clue that pain can occur without nociception, and gives no clue that many scientists believe the cortex is unnecessary to consciously experience pain. The Derbyshire article is linked at footnote 48, but neither in this article nor in the linked source is it mentioned that the scientist in question (Derbyshire) has pro-choice ties. There are numerous other problems with the present summary. These problems may be "stable", but that is no reason to preserve them.Ferrylodge 21:20, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

A study by David Reardon is included in the "Mental health" sub-section although it is a well-known fact that Reardon is a pro-life activist. We relaxed the former precedent for excluding academic sources on the basis of the author's potentially COI political opinions last year. If there's really no real objection to the JAMA study, such as to the study's methodology, then the author's political opinions aren't a valid reason for excluding it, no more than it would be for exluding Reardon's research.
You haven't addressed the fact that your proposed version would create a major discrepancy between the depth of coverage featured in the "Fetal pain" section and that featured in the other "Suggested effects" sub-sections. There is no reason why the summary of "Fetal pain" should be any less detailed than that of "Mental health" or "Breast cancer." Most of the recent edits to the Fetal pain article have been made by yourself, Ferrylodge, so essentially you are suggesting that the long-standing, time-tested, multi-user-approved content of this article's "Fetal pain" sub-section be made to conform to your own recently-created and unapproved version at Fetal pain. That's putting the cart before the horse. Get consensus support for your modifications at Fetal pain and work out all of the issues that have been raised there and then we can Talk about making substantial changes to this article. -Severa (!!!) 22:00, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
If you have a link that shows Reardon's pro-life sympathies, then why not put it in the footnote in the mental health section? Regarding fetal pain, there are very real objections to the JAMA study, such as these quoted in the fetal pain article:
"The conclusions of Lee and colleagues regarding fetal pain are flawed, because they ignore a large body of research related to pain processing in the brain, present a faulty scientific rationale and use inconsistent methodology for their systematic review. Based on the available scientific evidence, we cannot dismiss the high likelihood of fetal pain perception before the third trimester of human gestation….Fetal development of the thalamus occurs much earlier than the sensory cortex, providing the substrate and mechanisms for conscious pain perception during the second trimester, but not in the first trimester...."
As far as depth of coverage is concerned, the present article already has major “discrepancies” in depth of coverage. There is much more coverage of induced abortion that spontaneous abortion. There is much more coverage of social issues than definitions. I’m not necessarily criticizing those “discrepancies”, but am only pointing out that the length of each section does not and should not dictate how lengthy any other section is.
Personally, I tend to think that the sections on breast cancer and mental health should be considerably shortened, but that is a separate issue from whether the fetal pain section should be shortened. From what I can tell, the breast cancer and mental health issues are very tangential, and may well be straw men. In contrast, this article has virtually no biological information about the human being who is being destroyed in the abortion process, apart from the very narrow topic of fetal pain. That omission is extremely glaring. But again, that is a separate issue from the length of the fetal pain section.Ferrylodge 22:22, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Did I ever suggest that "depth of coverage" was synonymous to section length? No. I stated that the "Mental health" and "Breast cancer" sub-sections examine the evidence for and against, while your proposed "Fetal pain" sub-section does not. WP:SIZE contains exceptions for articles which "act as summaries and starting points for a field and in the case of some broad subjects." If you look at some articles on broad, multi-faceted topics, like Homosexuality or Roman Catholic Church, you'll find a lot of them are nearing 100K, so our 69K is conservative in comparison. Also, a lot of those kilobytes are references and mark-up, which don't count toward the actual article size tally. This is a complex, often contentious topic, and I think it requires us to take a "concise, but thorough" approach, as exhibited in the current version.
I also don't think it's necessary to mention Reardon's views in this article. That's better left to a Abortion-breast cancer hypothesis. -Severa (!!!) 01:17, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
According to you, Severa, I am "suggesting that the ... content of this article's 'Fetal pain' sub-section be made to conform" to the fetal pain article. That is untrue. I am suggesting that the content of this article's "Fetal Pain" sub-section be made shorter so that it conforms to both the present and previous versions of the "Fetal Pain" article.
As far as I can tell, you are insisting that this "Fetal Pain" subsection continue to rely upon the JAMA study (see both footnotes 45 and 50 the BBC News Article (2005) footnote and the Lee footnote), without mentioning any of the opposition to that study that is documented in the "fetal pain" article.
You are also apparently insisting that this article continue to:
  • use the unexplained term “pain receptors” which has never been used in the fetal pain article;
  • mention formation in the “seventh week” which has never been mentioned in the fetal pain article, and which is not only uncited, but also is ambiguous due to the difference between gestational age and fertilization age;
  • discuss that the thalamus starts to form in the fifth week, which has never been mentioned in the fetal pain article, and which is not only uncited, but also is ambiguous due to the difference between gestational age and fertilization age;
  • give no clue that pain can occur without nociception, and no clue that many scientists believe the cortex is unnecessary to consciously experience pain, both of which are key facts discussed in the fetal pain article (to which no one has objected); and
  • omit even in the footnotes of this article any mention of the pro-choice ties of Derbyshire (linked at the BBC News Article (2006) footnote footnote 48), and any mention of the pro-choice ties of the authors of the JAMA study (see footnotes 45 and 50 the BBC News Article (2005) footnote and the Lee footnote).
It's unfortunate that you won't address any of these particular points, and instead merely praise the current subsection on "fetal pain" as long-standing, time-tested, multi-user-approved content, and therefore presumptively immune from criticism.
I am flexible as to what the summary of fetal pain should say, as long as it is brief, only includes factual statements about which there is consensus, and leaves the other details to be hashed out elsewhere.
By the way, if this article is only 69K, then why does it not include a section providing biological information about the human being who is being destroyed in the abortion process, apart from the very narrow topic of fetal pain?Ferrylodge 01:52, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

You already raised most of these points above and circular discussions do not lead anywhere. The information on pain receptors was from the Religious Tolerance article, I think, but the source must have gotten misplaced at some time, so I readded it, along with a second source. "Pain receptor" is a less complex phrasing of "nociceptor," and, given your apparent dislike of "jargon," should be terminology that you would be inclined toward. The information on thalamic development was taken from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology source "Fetal Awareness." -Severa (!!!) 03:21, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Also, it's unclear when you refer to "footnote 39," etc., as when references are added or removed from the article, the numbering changes. Could you please refer to the name of the source instead for clarity? Thanks. -Severa (!!!) 03:42, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes I did already raise most of those points previously. And, as I said, "It's unfortunate that you won't address any of these particular points." How am I supposed to assume good faith when you criticize me for reiterating points that you have simply declined to address?
And, I have crossed out the footnote numbers in my previous comment, which were thrown off by your recent edits. I will have comments and/or improvements to your recent edits later. In the mean time, why not address the last two bulleted points I raised, and that way I won't have to repeat them again, which you apparently dislike?Ferrylodge 04:29, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
P.S. And by the way, if this article is only 69K, then why does it not include a section providing biological information about the human being who is being destroyed in the abortion process, apart from the very narrow topic of fetal pain?Ferrylodge 04:36, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Ferrylodge, thanks for migrating all the references from the fetal pain section here to the fetal pain article. I am in agreement with you that the fetal pain section here needs to be reduced; my concern is the overall article size, not content per se. As far as a discrepancy with the "Mental health" or "Breast cancer" sections is concerned, those sections could probably stand some reduction as well. This article is way too large at present. The fact that there are other articles, such as Homosexuality, that are even worse in terms of being oversize does not mean that the current size of this article is at all desirable. -- Cat Whisperer 16:10, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree, and would urge you to make some edits. Given that the vast majority of scientists believe a fetus feels pain at some stage of pregnancy, whereas only a few scientists support the fringe claims about breast cancer and mental health, there is no justification for the latter two sections being longer than the former. But all three sections could be usefully shortened.Ferrylodge 16:17, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

The sections under "Suggested effects" are the product of a long history of collaboration between many users. Given the contentious nature of this topic, it is to be expected that there would be a lot to cover, but in order to maintain the spirit of NPOV, this coverage must be done thoroughly and accurately. I have monitored the progress of this article for almost two years now, and, during that time, I've witnessed a number of debates over content. However, overall, we have managed to balance a number of seemingly conflicting visions for this article. Through this collaborative process, we have addressed and accommodated a number of concerns, and, because of this, most of the sections in this article are stable and seldom undergo massive changes or prolonged disputes. These versions have struck a happy medium (or, at least, as much of a happy medium as can be had on the subject of abortion). Pruning them down would be to disregard the compromises reached in the past through consensus. The simple fact is that, if we reduce the depth of coverage in those sub-sections, at some point in the future, some editor is going to wander in, notice the absence, and want to fill it. We've already addressed a lot of the concerns for these sections that have come up in the past, we've attempted to accommodate them, so why send ourselves back to square one? Why make work for ourselves when the job has already been completed? After all, "Don't fix what isn't broken." You have to put your foot down some time. There's a lot to be completed on this article yet (see the to-do list), and, continually rehashing already-completed sections hampers such progress. I think our time and energy would be better directed toward more productive ends. -Severa (!!!) 18:35, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

I do not think that "putting your foot down" is a useful approach to dealing with legitimate concerns about how to improve the article. This article does not include any subsection providing biological information about the human being who is being destroyed in the abortion process, apart from the very narrow topic of fetal pain. If there is a rational reason for this, then let's hear it. Just "putting one's foot down" is no substitute for discussion.Ferrylodge 18:42, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
But the article is broken; it is too long. And the "Suggested effects" sections seem to be a likely target for reduction, as they consist largely of debated issues with little or no scientific conclusions. If we don't cut there, then where should the article be cut? -- Cat Whisperer 20:24, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
WP:SIZE contains a number of exceptions mentioned earlier. I think, given the contentious nature of the abortion topic, it is important for this article to take a thorough approach. Editors who come to Wikipedia will have differing expectations of what should and should not be included in this article. Since this is a community-driven project, we should attempt to accommodate their concerns, to the best of our ability, and in accordance with policies such as V, NPOV, and RS. Run through the archives if you want to get an idea of amount of time that has gone into writing the "Suggested effects" sections. This debate and the agreements that were produced as a result are not something that can be overlooked in an effort to trim down the article. Last December, User:Doc Tropics advocated article-pruning, too, but he and I came to the conclusion that the best way to achieve this would be through copy-editing to remove excess verbiage and going through the article to remove material that is duplicated in two or more sections, rather by than removing large portions of the text. The very first version of the "Fetal pain" section added to this article in December 2005 was about 7 paragraphs long (Fetal pain was built from this version). I think the shorter, three-paragraph version featured in the article currently is an improvement in terms of concision, but I don't know how much more concise this section could be made without it having a negative effect. -Severa (!!!) 21:22, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Based on the criteria from WP:SIZE, it is my opinion that the present article is too long. So, given the voluminous amount of information on the abortion topic, I think that it is best for this article to take a "table of contents" approach. Thus, the fetal pain section should contain enough information to let the reader know whether he or she would like to explore the fetal pain article in detail. The work involved in the text that has already been written can be migrated to the other articles, so that the effort is not wasted. -- Cat Whisperer 22:01, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Cat Whisperer. The relevant material for "fetal pain" has already been migrated to the fetal pain article, and could be for the other subsections as well. Additionally, Severa has not addressed the issue of why this article does not include any subsection providing biological information about the human embryo or fetus that is being destroyed in the abortion process, apart from the very narrow topic of fetal pain.Ferrylodge 22:33, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Historical definitions

User:Mr-phil recently contributed a "Historical Changes to Definition" section to this article. Does the section represent OR or could some of the information perhaps be adapted for use in the article? What are your thoughts? -Severa (!!!) 01:39, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for asking. As I explained to Mr-phil, if his material is historical, then he should try to put it in the history subsection, or better yet in the article about abortion history. Until he does so, there's really not much to discuss, and I would not support including it in this article in any event.Ferrylodge 03:12, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Fetal pain II

The last section was getting long, so I'm starting fresh. There is no consensus to support the modifications made to the intro on the "Fetal pain" sub-section. If the concern over the Reagan source was that it discusses fetal sentience, not the capacity to feel pain in the first trimester, then the obvious solution would be to replace the source with one that did discuss pain in the first trimester. The addition of the quote interupts the flow of the introduction, which is supposed to introduce the subject briefly, with more detailed exploration of the evidence following in later paragraphs. I have replaced Reagan letter with the Religious Tolerance source for the time being. Most of the recent changes to Fetal pain have been conducted by Ferrylodge, and, as such, have not been implemented through a process of collaboration. Being that the sections in "Suggested effects" are the result of consensus, substantial modifications to this section will need to be reviewed and approved by consensus, too. -Severa (!!!) 19:39, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Am I to understand, Severa, that you have just reverted multiple edits, even though you have not reveiewed the edits, and even though you do not necessarily oppose the edits? Why do you consider this tactic consistent with Wikipedia policy to explain your reverts?
If you are going to make reversions without bothering to explain them, and if you are also going to insist upon deleting longstanding references in this article without consensus (e.g. deleting the reference to the Reagan letter), then why do you expect others to follow Wikipedia guidelines?Ferrylodge 19:53, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Stop making this personal. If you have something you want to say to Severa, discuss it on her user talk page, or start a user RfC. This is not the place to put other editors on the defensive for their actions. (Same thing goes for Severa, was it really necessary to mention Ferrylodge's edit on fetal pain?) We are to discuss article content. Yes, your edits got reverted. Don't take it so personally. Please try to discuss things and collaborate. If we all agree to the changes before they are made, then no one has sole control over what goes into the article, and no one gets upset when edits without consensus are reverted. Both of you, take a step back and take a breather. Relax, we all want to improve the article. We can do this together if we don't make things personal, and we don't look at this as a battle. At smaller articles, individual users have more control, and its much easier to be bold and add a lot of new content or remove old content and so on. But on such a high profile article as this, one editor is not going to have that much control (just look at the person who added that whole section on dictionary definitions that was deleted). Let's all agree to minimize our edits, and focus more on proposals and working together to reach content we can ALL agree on (or at least make compromises we can live with). -Andrew c 20:42, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict — this was drafted before Andrew c's post above)
I already explained my reversion in the first post of this section, and in my edit summary, so please do not suggest that I have not given any explanation. The changes to the article Fetal pain are of a very recent vintage, while the the "Suggested effects" sub-sections have a much longer history, and are the result of a collaborative effort. We have attempted to address a number of concerns that have been raised in relation to the "Suggested effects" sub-sections in the past. As such, the sections reflect a balance between a number of seemingly conflicting interests — substantial modifications to these sections do not take into account the past consensus, and can upset the balance that was achieved previously. Please propose any major changes to the article here so that editors can work together to address any concerns that might arise. Writing an article through collaboration on Talk is always a more productive way than writing an article through a series of competing edits in mainspace. It results in a more finished product, which is likely to stand up to whatever challenges might come its way, because a lot of the main issues will have been addressed beforehand. -Severa (!!!) 20:43, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Andrew c and Severa, this is not personal for me. This is about accuracy and neutrality. Severa has just alleged that edits by me "as such, have not been implemented through a process of collaboration." Am I allowed to respond to that, or not?
I have explained the edits that I recently made when I made them (in the edit summaries), and in most cases before I made them (on this talk page). Severa has chosen to ignore those explanations, and to not explain her reverts beyond the meager statement that reverts edits should be made with consensus. Anyone can read this talk page and the edit summaries to see that for themselves.Ferrylodge 20:50, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
I said "future changes" should be made through consensus — not reverts. In the past, changes to the "Suggested effects" sub-sections have been made through approval, so it is only fair that future edits should be subject to the same standard. Let's try to stay focused on article content as Andrew c advised above. -Severa (!!!) 21:44, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
I made a typo in my previous comment, and have now corrected it. Yes, Sevara, you said that "future changes" should be made through consensus. But you have not explained your reverts. You have not explained --- to take one particular example --- why it is not okay to clarify whether "weeks" means weeks after fertlization, as opposed to weeks after the first day of last menstrual period. You simply declare "there is no consensus" without giving the slightest reason why there is no consensus. I have never seen a Wikipedia guideline so flagrantly abused.Ferrylodge 22:27, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
P.S. You amazingly say "Let's try to stay focused on article content as Andrew c advised above." That is precisely what I have repeatedly, ad nauseum, been urging you to do. Please explain your reverts to the specific article content that I edited. Just saying there is no consensus is circular, extremely unhelpful, and getting us nowhere. Thank you.Ferrylodge 22:29, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Andrew c and I have both noted the importance of collaboration. If this explanation is insufficient for you, then I am sorry, but it is still an explanation all the same. Please do not claim that I have not provided an explanation. I realize the first time you might have missed my post on this talk page, but, you have since levelled the same accusation twice more, and it is inconsiderate. -Severa (!!!) 23:12, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict x2)I mean this in the most endearing way possible: its hard to pick through your demands directed to specific editors; are you making any specific proposals for us to consider as a group? It sounds like we should consider clarifying the age notation used in this section. Since this article focuses on pregnancy, and because The term "gestational age" should be used instead of "menstrual age" to describe the age of the fetus or newborn infant. according to Committee on Fetus and Newborn, and because we use gestational age throughout the article (i.e. 'twenty weeks' gestation', '12 weeks... 13 to 20 weeks... after 21 weeks. ', '37 weeks of gestation'), I feel we should use gestational age in the fetal pain section as well. Consistency is a good thing. Ferrylodge's reverted edits introduced "fertilization" age. However, some of the sources may have been using this age instead of LNMP. So we should check all sources and 'convert' the numbers that are wrong (if any) so everything is gestational age. That's my two cents, what do others think about the topic of age notation?-Andrew c 23:13, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Severa, Andrew c's edit summary says "trying to move on to something concrete." In contrast, you are still refusing to explain your reverts. Please give a concrete explanation for your many reverts, or we will soon be headed for dispute resolution.
Andrew c, you ask, "are you making any specific proposals for us to consider as a group?" I am asking for Severa to give concrete explanations for her reverts, as required by longstanding Wikipedia guidelines.
Regarding your comments about "age", you say "The term 'gestational age' should be used instead of 'menstrual age' to describe the age of the fetus or newborn infant." As anyone can see from the edits that Severa reverted without any concrete explanation, my edits did not use the term "menstrual age".
The edits I made introduced "fertilization" age or the equivalent. That is what the respective footnoted sources use. Your desire to deviate from the system used by the respective footnoted authors certainly does not justify giving no indication at all about whether "weeks" means "weeks from fertilization/conception" or instead means "weeks from first day of last menstrual period." The former is simpler and more understandable than the latter, and both are vastly preferable to specifying neither. Right now, readers are left in the dark on this question, just as they are left in the dark about the pro-life and pro-choice backgrounds of the cited authors. As I mentioned, we are getting very close to a request for dispute resolution. Keeping readers in the dark is no way to write an article, nor is it proper for Severa to keep me in the dark about why she opposes the specific edits I made.Ferrylodge 14:47, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Again with the demands on a specific editor. Please take that to user talk. As for "menstrual age", we are both familiar with the source from our time spent together at gestational age. We both know that the source says to avoid confusion, always use gestational age, and conceptional age shouldn't be used. Next, I agree that we should make it clear what age notation we are using, because saying "weeks" can be vague. I also pointed out that it makes sense to be consistent and use the same notation throughout the article, and gestational age seems to the the most used notation here. Finally, I said if a source is using another age notation, that we should concert it. So as it stands, I prefer sticking with one notation throughout the article, and I prefer using the established notation "gestational age". You prefer to introduce "fertilization age". We both agree that the age notation needs to be addressed somehow in the fetal pain section. So can we get a third opinion here?-Andrew c 23:57, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Political party affiliation

I'm not trying to throw too many topics out to be discussed at once, because I feel we should take small steps until we can all swing back into collaborating. However, Rossnixon recently reverted the recent addition of "pro-life activist" to describe Reardon. And I think we should discuss this general idea of qualifying experts because it relates to Reardon and the JAMA fetal pain study. The case can be made that, per wikipedia's NPOV policy, that all statements need to be attributed and substantiated. One way of doing this is to point out affiliations, or add descriptors that qualify who the expert is, why their opinion matters, and any possible bias. I believe this general idea is the motivation behind adding the text "pro-life" or "pro-choice" in relation to these scientific studies. I would like to hear Rossnixon's reason for removing the text, and how Rossnixon feels about any qualifications made in relation to the JAMA fetal pain study.

I personally feel that it isn't our place to point out people's political affiliations in this context. They are not speaking as private citizens, they are not speaking as politicians or as voters; they are speaking as experts in their field of study. They may also be communist, or baseball fans, or trekkers, or whathaveyou, but those things aren't related to their scientific findings. If a very notable peer reviewed journal such as BMJ or JAMA publish these studies with no conflict of interests stated, I feel that is good enough to meet our reliable sourcing policy. It is original research, or POV pushing, or at least inserting personal commentary when we say that these reliable sources need to be qualified because the scientists behind it feel this way or that was on a political issue when the top-notch, peer reviewed journals that published the findings didn't find these things significant.

If there are other peer reviewed studies or responses that question the findings and are on the same caliber, they should have an equal voice. But I do not feel that (now talking about the JAMA article) that a pro-life groups criticism hold equal weight to a peer reviewed journal. Or for that matter, a letter written to congress for political reasons holds as much weight as a peer reviewed journal. To me, its on the same level as citing Answers in Genesis every time we mention a peer reviewed finding on evolution. Just because the criticism exists, doesn't mean its notable, or that we need to cite it everytime.

So I clearly think there are places where qualifying and substantiating sources is useful. But in this instance, adding "pro-life" or "pro-choice" in association with peer reviewed studies is introducing unnecessary questions of bias.-Andrew c 02:07, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

If we're dealing with research conducted by an advocacy group, then, yes, I think it would would be pertinent to mention bias concerns within this article. However, if we are discussing an individual scientist, I am unsure as to whether that scientist's personal perspective on an issue would be notable enough to mention. Political organizations exist strictly for the purpose of promoting their specific cause, whereas I think individuals are capable of compartmentalizing their lives, of being both a scientist and an activist. Bias concerns regarding Reardon and JAMA are definitely noteworthy, but I think that coverage of them should be reserved for the appropriate sub-articles, as we simply do not have the space to cover it in detail here. I think "pro-life" and "pro-choice" qualifications are far too reductive in this case. -Severa (!!!) 03:59, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
I inserted the "pro-life" before Reardon's name in the text of the article at the suggestion of Sandy Georgia, (see here). I first attempted to insert info about Reardon into a footnote, but Severa made what Sandy Georgia called a "silly objection", and so that left no choice but to add it to the text. Now it's been deleted from the text on the ground that it somehow is not neutral to identify the pro-life background about someone who is writing about abortion. Severa has also recently deleted info about the pro-choice backgrounds about other people that I inserted into the respective footnotes. There was nothing non-neutral about the way I did this (for both pro-choice and pro-life authors). Therefore, I think that Rossnixon's edit summary was not a sufficient explanation for his revert.
Nor is Andrew c's observation that footnoted authors "may also be communist, or baseball fans, or trekkers, or whathaveyou, but those things aren't related to their scientific findings." This very obviously is not an article about communism, or baseball.
When articles are published in peer-reviewed journals, the peer-reviewed journals are not endorsing the findings of the article, only that the article apparently meets standards of apparent competence. For example, the editor of JAMA stated publicly that her journal would have published the info about the pro-choice backgrounds of the authors, if the authors had properly informed JAMA of those backgrounds: "This is the first I've heard about it….We ask them to reveal any conflict of interest. I would have published the disclosure if it had been made."
This discussion here is nearing the point of a request for dispute resolution. There is a very obvious attempt to cover up the backgrounds of footnoted authors. Moreover, as should be obvious in the previous section, there is a concerted effort to revert edits, without any explanation for the vast majority of those edits beyond the empty statement that there is no consensus for those edits. This is a flagrant violation of Wikipedia policy.Ferrylodge 14:31, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Request for Comments: Have Reverts Been Made Without Explanation?

The main issue here is whether the Wikipedia policy to explain reverts has been violated by this revert, and whether the reverted content will be included in this article. The guidelines say: "Do not revert good faith edits.... Do not revert changes simply because someone makes an edit you consider problematic, biased, or inaccurate. Improve the edit, rather than reverting it".

This revert erased several separate edits that I had made; the edit summary said “Future changes will need to be made through consensus.” The reverter gave no explanation in the edit summary or at the talk page why many of these particular edits were reverted, beyond the uninformative generality that the edits lacked a consensus. There was no explanation of why the reverter thought these edits do not warrant a consensus.

The mere statement that there was no consensus does not help me to remake the edit, or help me to fix whatever problem the reverter has with the edits. I have waited, and repeatedly asked for the reverts to be explained by the editor Severa, but largely without success. She has stressed the importance of collaboration, and she regards that in itself as a sufficient “explanation” for the revert.

I have repeatedly directed the editor Severa to the pertinent guideline, and have repeatedly asked that she explain her revert.

To give just a few examples, the editor Severa has given no explanation why the spelling of the word “nociceptic” should remain misspelled, or why the lead sentence should discuss “fetal sensation” even though pain is only one aspect of fetal sensation, or why various critical facts described and footnoted in the fetal pain article should be omitted here (e.g. that pain may exist in the absence of physical stimuli, that many neurologists believe a fetus can feel pain less than 24 weeks after conception, and that some neurologists believe the cortex is not required for conscious sensory perception). Likewise, the editor Severa has given no explanation why this article should not clarify whether two footnoted sources are talking about "weeks" after fertilization as opposed to "weeks" after the first day of the last menstrual period (though another editor eventually opined that this article should not reflect what is in the footnoted sources). I am simply left to speculate about Severa's possible reasons for the reversion.

Had the editor Severa explained these reverts, then I could have either explained to her why I disagree, or tried to improve the edits. After repeated inquiries by me, Severa has briefly addressed one of the edits she reverted, by arguing that bias or POV concerns about footnoted authors should not be mentioned anywhere in this article (I will take up that point in a separate RfC). But not a word of explanation regarding the many other edits of mine that she reverted. The key issues here are: does merely saying that an edit was not made collaboratively satisfy the Wikipedia requirement to explain reverts, and has the editor Severa abided by the other revert guidelines: "Do not revert good faith edits.... Do not revert changes simply because someone makes an edit you consider problematic, biased, or inaccurate. Improve the edit, rather than reverting it". I would say "no" on both counts. The reverted content should be included in the article.Ferrylodge 23:59, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Please read my post below and perhaps browse the talk archives to get a sense of how things "work" on a high profile, controversial article like this. I know you are really worked up over being reverted. But I want everyone to know that Severa is not going to be here to defend herself for at least a few days, and that I think it is a terrible waste of space to have interpersonal issues aired on article talk. User talk and mediation and user RfCs are the appropriate venue for that. What it boils down to is, it is better all around that large edits (especially to controversial sections that have a history of edit warring, and that have thus been created from a collaborative process of consensus) be brought to talk as proposals BEFORE they are inserted into the article. It is a little bit more time consuming, but it creates a more well rounded, robust product that more editors can feel proud of than if a lone editor makes significant changes without discussion. I hope you understand. And I'm sorry that this process so far has been stressful and so personal to you.-Andrew c 00:29, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
This is not "personal" for me, and these are not "interpersonal issues." Andrew c, you have said so already on this talk page, and I have already denied it. To say this is merely personal, or merely an interpersonal issue, trivializes everything I have said here. The issue for me is whether the reverted content will be included or not.
And regarding any late explanations that you or Severa may wish to make below, the fact remains that I have had to plead for explanations for days, and therefore the meaning of the Wikipedia guideline on explaining reverts must be resolved, or else this type of situation will recur again and again (as it already has).Ferrylodge 00:38, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
Coming from the RfC, I think there's a legitimate "policy" (as in, not personal) issue here. In order to encourage bold edits, I'd encourage editors to always carefully consider any change on its merits, not just on the amount of red and whether it was discussed on the talk page. Quickly reverting good faith edits is a good way to get someone worked up. Edit comments like "Please discuss on talk first" are much less useful than something like "Changes disagree with our consensus to refer to Smokey the Bear as a thief, not a force for good. Let's discuss this on talk." If there's nothing identifiably wrong with the edit, it's probably an improvement! On the other side of things, when making major changes to an article that others have worked on extensively, especially when the edit is to the lead, and especially when the topic is controversial, it's only courteous to first mention it on talk and check that other editors are okay with it. Just my two cents. Gnixon 16:35, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Ferrylodge's edits

I'll go by point by point why Ferrylodge's edits are problematic. But before that, a little background. We generally have a system of working together on this article. Since this is a very controversial topic, it is often a target for vandalism and POV warriors. We try to collaborate here. It is highly encouraged that large changes be proposed first on talk. This way a) multiple editors can have input b) we can establish consensus to support the edits if problems arise in the future and c) we can introduce a more finished product into the article (this is a high profile article and its a good thing to keep in mind the final product). At times, this process is time consuming and can get heated. For example, we spent 6 pages of archives discussing the first 2 paragraphs, but now we have something that almost everyone can live with, and is clearly the product of consensus. Unfortunately, this way of working limits the individual power one editor has in making bold changes. All we ask is that content that has been created by consensus not be blanked, and that large changes go through approval first.

Now, onto the edits.

  • Changed "sensation" to "pain and suffering".
    • Introduced the different concept of 'suffering' which isn't discussed by the cited sources
  • Changed "Evidence conflicts, with some authorities holding that the fetus is capable of feeling pain from the first trimester," to "Medical views on this issue conflict. Some authorities hold that, "The ability to feel pain and respond to it is clearly not a phenomenon that develops de novo at birth....by the close of the first trimester the fetus is a sentient, moving being."
    • Adds a sentence about "sentience". How does that relate to fetal pain? Quotes have their place, but the previous sentence was more concise and encyclopedic as a first paragraph summary. Quotes go better in secondary paragraphs where specific examples are given. (maybe this is just the way I was taught to write, but I thought this concept was fairly universal)
  • Added the sentence "It should be noted that pain, suffering, and sentience are not synonymous terms."
    • No citation. Pain and suffering were wikilinked in Ferrylodge's version, so the terms were obviously distinct. This sentence is not that useful.
  • replaced "Gestation" with "after fertilization"
    • While this may have been an effort to make the citations accurate (its easy to confuse the two notations, and we may have errors), it is confusing to switch back and forth between the different notation, and the article previously uses "gestation" see further discussion above.
  • Added "However, pain "may exist even in the absence of physical stimuli," and conversely "nociception without pain" exists as well.[ref name="Lee"/]"
    • This sentence is included in the main article. I don't believe it is important enough to note here. This sentence's purpose is to say "even if a fetus can or cannot biologically feel pain, we really don't know for sure because pain is weird and not necessarily biological".
  • Added "Many neurologists believe that a fetus is able to feel pain beginning less than 24 weeks after conception, while some neurologists believe that the cortex is not required for conscious sensory perception;"
    • No citation for this and uses weasel words. Also inaccurate, my research shows that the majority view is around 26th week, and that some psychologists believe there is an emotional development aspect to pain that doesn't develop until months after birth (well... this is just an example of how cherry picking data can push a POV, which is what Ferrylodge has done here)
  • Added "a scientist who "is linked to pro-choice groups" suggests"
    • Discussed above. Introduces an unwarranted accusation of bias.
  • Blanked "the human experience of pain, being more than just physiological, cannot be measured in"
    • Not sure why this was removed. It is supported by the source and helps further understanding
  • Added 2 links to news stories when popular media normally gets science stuff wrong and shouldn't be cited per reliable sources, and 1 link to a letter to congress that has some criticism of the JAMA study.

I think where we should go from here is that we should discuss specific problems with the longstanding fetal pain section. Go item by item saying "I don't like x, and I think we could fix it by doing y". And then we can start dialogging and working together and coming up with some solutions that we can all agree upon. When one editor makes so many edits to a section without any talk page discussion on a page that is so contentious, it isn't surprising at all that its going to bother some editors. I'm just asking for everyone to slow it down a little and work things out here before going crazy hitting the edit button in the main article. I want this article to be featured one day, and I do not believe that one editor is going to lead us there, but instead everyone working together creating a polished article. -Andrew c 00:24, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

All of the edits that I made were to one small subsection of the article (the "fetal pain" subsection), all of those edits were fully supported by the main article on fetal pain, and some of those changes were discussed here at this talk page beforehand. None of the edits that I made should have been considered substantial or controversial. Nonetheless, they were considered substantial and controversial, and were reverted. I would have had no big problem with that reversion if the editors who supported the reversion would have explained themselves. However, there has been virtually no explanation for days, despite my repeated requests. Now, finally, Andrew c has decided to give some explanation. Andrew c objects to virtually every small detail of my edits, but not one of his objections has merit.
Andrew c begins by objecting that I changed "sensation" to "pain and suffering", in the first sentence of the subsection, which says: "The existence or absence of fetal sensation during abortion is a matter of medical, ethical and public policy interest." This is not a subsection about fetal sensation; it is a subsection about fetal pain, which is a much narrower concept. Although pro-choice partisans would like people to believe that an inability to feel pain implies an inability to feel any sensation at all, such is not the case. Pain is only one aspect of fetal sensation, and the absence of fetal pain says virtually nothing about whether other sensations are possible. Confusing these concepts is wrong. The main article discusses the "sensation of pain" and "painful sensation", but does not mention sensation generally. What the main article does mention are the words pain and suffering (with the word "and" connecting them to indicate that they are different concepts). If we would like this "Abortion" article to not summarize the main article, and if we would like this "Abortion" article to mislead readers into believing that absence of pain implies absence of sensation, then by all means we should keep the present language about "sensation" and ignore what the main article says about pain and suffering.
And contrary to Andrew c's objection that the word "suffering" is not cited here in this "Abortion" article, there is no need to repeat the references that are already in the main article on fetal pain,as explained in the following Wikipedia policy: "There is no need to repeat all specific references for the subtopics in the main 'Summary style' article: the 'Summary style' article summarizes the content of each of the subtopics, without need to give detailed references for each of them in the main article: these detailed references can be found in the subarticles." A wikilink to suffering is more than sufficient.
Andrew c then objects that I changed the sentence "Evidence conflicts, with some authorities holding that the fetus is capable of feeling pain from the first trimester," to "Medical views on this issue conflict. Some authorities hold that, 'The ability to feel pain and respond to it is clearly not a phenomenon that develops de novo at birth....by the close of the first trimester the fetus is a sentient, moving being.'" I also added a sentence about "sentience". Andrew c asks, "How does that relate to fetal pain?" Had Andrew c read my edit summary for that edit, he would have gotten an answer to his questions: "The letter to Reagan did not say pain exists in the first trimester. It said the fetus is sentient then. Big difference. People can be pain-free and still be sentient." The sentence that I edited contained a false description of the source that it cited. I corrected it.
Andrew c then objects that I added the sentence "It should be noted that pain, suffering, and sentience are not synonymous terms." Andrew c objects that I did not cite attach a footnote to this. "Sentience" was the term used in the cited source, rather than the term "pain". I linked to the Wikipedia pages on pain, suffering, and sentience before noting that the three terms are not synonymous. Frankly, I don't see the problem here. If these three different terms are used, we don't want readers to think that the terms are used interchangeably. Yet, that is what Andrew c seems to be advocating. That also happens to be what pro-choice partisans advocate, because they would like everyone to think that all evidence against fetal pain is also equally conclusive evidence against fetal sentience.
Andrew c then objects that I changed "the seventh week of gestation" to "the seventh week after fertilization." The cited source says, "pain receptors develop around 7 weeks after conception." To say (as Andrew c advocates) that pain receptors develop at around 7 weeks of gestational age is false, and distorts what the cited reference says. The cited source says that pain receptors develop around 7 weeks after conception, which is around 9 weeks' gestational age. Gestational age does not mean the same thing as weeks after conception; there is a two-week differential. The term "weeks of gestation" that I edited out of the article is ambiguous, because gestation is defined as the carrying of an embryo or fetus, whereas gestational age is defined conventionally as two weeks longer than the carrying of an embryo or fetus. In any event, according to Andrew c's interpretation of the term "weeks of gestation", the present article says that pain receptors develop around 5 weeks after conception, which is false, and which contradicts the cited source. This error can be avoided by sticking to the cited source, which says "7 weeks after conception."
Andrew c objects to the sentence: "However, pain 'may exist even in the absence of physical stimuli,' and conversely 'nociception without pain' exists as well." Andrew c says that this sentence's purpose is to say "we really don't know for sure because pain is weird". If this summary is going to contain info about nociception and about the thalamus, and about signals from the thalamus to the cortex, it is highly misleading for this summary to pretend that that is the only means of producing pain. There is no issue about the accuracy of this quoted sentence, and it was footnoted in this subsection of the abortion article (to the JAMA article by Lee that was already footnoted).
Andrew c says the following sentence has no citations and uses weasel words: "Many neurologists believe that a fetus is able to feel pain beginning less than 24 weeks after conception, while some neurologists believe that the cortex is not required for conscious sensory perception." All of this is fully cited in the main article on fetal pain. There is no need to repeat the references in the main article,because of the following Wikipedia policy: "There is no need to repeat all specific references for the subtopics in the main 'Summary style' article: the 'Summary style' article summarizes the content of each of the subtopics, without need to give detailed references for each of them in the main article: these detailed references can be found in the subarticles." The source for this sentence about what many neurologists believe is a poll described here, and the source for whether the cortex is required is here. If we would like this "summary" of the main fetal pain article to pretend everyone agrees the cortex is needed for pain, than the current discussion of the cortex is fine, but if we want the summary's discussion of the cortex to be accurate then it should be edited as I attempted to do.
Andrew c says his own unspecified research shows that the majority view is around 26th week for the beginning of pain perception, but Andrew c does not mention any source. While there may well be some signs of a consensus (at least among the narrow specialty of developmental neurobiologists) that establishment of thalamocortical connections is critical (if not necessary) with regard to fetal perception of pain, that establishment begins at 22 weeks. Andrew c's personal opinion does not alter the objective fact that many neurologists believe pain is possible before 24 weeks. Keeping objective facts out of the Abortion article because they do not agree with the original research (i.e. OR) of an editor does not seem wise to me.
Andrew c adds that "some psychologists believe there is an emotional development aspect to pain that doesn't develop until months after birth". That is quite true, and the article after my edits noted that some scientists believe "a fetus cannot feel pain at all because it requires mental development that only occurs outside the womb." Strangely, Andrew c accuses me of omitting this information in favor of other information, which is obviously false. Andrew c says: "this is just an example of how cherry picking data can push a POV, which is what Ferrylodge has done here." I've pushed my POV and cherry-picked data by approving the statement that some scientists believe pain is impossible until birth??? It's unfortunate that I am being forced to deal with such reckless allegations, and I do not enjoy this at all.
Andrew c also objects to the phrase I inserted: "a scientist who 'is linked to pro-choice groups' suggests." I did not make up that quote. It is in a BBC article that was cited in this article even before I edited this article (and that still is in this article's footnotes). Is the BBC guilty of "an unwarranted accusation of bias"? Would the JAMA have been guilty of "an unwarranted accusation of bias" if JAMA had printed info about the pro-choice background of their authors, as the editor of JAMA said she would have done if she had been able to? Of course not.
Andrew c also criticizes me for changing "Others suggest that the human experience of pain, being more than just physiological, cannot be measured in such reflexive responses" to "Others suggest that such responses are reflexive." This sentence involved responses to changes in heart rates and hormone levels of newborns subjected to invasive procedures. The cited source is here, and it contains several sentences regarding these reflexive responses, but the word "physiology" is mentioned nowhere in the article (except in the titles of two footnoted articles). Andrew c says the sentence is supported by the source, but Andrew c quotes nothing, because the source offers nothing to quote about "physiology."
Andrew c notes that I added a link to a letter to congress that has some criticism of the JAMA study. Am I missing something? Is Andrew c arguing that the letter should not be footnoted regardless of who wrote the letter, or how comprehensive the letter was?
Andrew c also says that I should not have linked to 2 news stories in the popular media. The article presently contains 2 other news stories in the links for this fetal pain subsection alone. Apparently, this is a case of "do as I say and not as I do."
And that about covers it. I think that Andrew c's comments range from erroneous to extremely offensive. Others can judge for themselves.Ferrylodge 04:51, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
P.S. I added only one news story from the popular media, not two. See Bazar, Emily. 2 authors of fetal-pain paper accused of bias, USA Today (2005-08-24) (Regarding the JAMA Study). Retrieved 2007-03-10. This was not about a technical issue, but rather dealt with a pro-choice POV of the authors.Ferrylodge 05:53, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Request for Comments: May POV of Footnoted Authors Be Mentioned?

This “Request for Comments” is related to edits I made in order to mention the POV of several footnoted authors (those edits have been reverted). The edits, in chronological order, are:

I. Here (regarding pro-life David Reardon);
II. Here (regarding pro-choice Susan Lee); and
III. Here (regarding pro-choice Stuart Derbyshire).

All three of these edits were for the purpose of making readers of the “Abortion” article aware of the POV of footnoted sources. The first edit was made at the suggestion of another editor (as indicated here). The last two edits were subsequently reverted by the editor Severa, leaving only the first edit intact regarding pro-life David Reardon. Since only the pro-life POV of Reardon was left in the article, that was eventually reverted too, by the editor Rossnixon, who correctly noted the lack of neutrality involved when only the POV of a pro-life actvist is noted.

As anyone can see, none of these edits of mine took up much space. Lee and Derbyshire had been relied upon for a whopping half of the footnotes in the “fetal pain” subsection. In other words, three of the six footnotes in the “fetal pain” subsection had cited the work of Lee and Derbyshire, without giving the faintest clue about their POV. The controversy in the national media surrounding Lee’s article in JAMA was immense; she was a former lawyer for the National Abortion Rights Action League who completely neglected to reveal her point of view to JAMA. Upon learning this information, the editor of JAMA stated: “This is the first I've heard about it….We ask them to reveal any conflict of interest. I would have published the disclosure if it had been made." It is highly perplexing why information about POV that JAMA wishes it had published should now be excluded from this Wikipedia article.

Disclosing POV of footnoted authors takes up little space, and could be done either in the text or in the footnotes of this article. I have tried both, and been reverted both times. If such disclosure is not desired in this article, then the common-sense thing to do would be to omit the footnotes, so that these particular sources are only included in the linked “main article”. That is only fair.

The subsections of this “Abortion” article where this whole issue arose are supposed to summarize respective sub-articles. Not many footnotes are needed in this kind of summary subsection, and certainly not footnotes from sources with POV issues. But if those sources are footnoted here, then it would be unconscionable to omit a few brief words about their POV, especially if that POV has been deemed sufficiently relevant by other media (e.g. by the editor of JAMA and by the BBC and by USA Today).

A few arguments have been made at this discussion page for including the sources while omitting any mention of their POV. It has been argued that Susan Lee’s article was published in a “peer reviewed journal”. However, peer review does not imply any endorsement of the content in an article, but rather screens out incompetent articles. In Lee’s case, as described above, JAMA would have published info about her POV if Lee had provided it. If JAMA can publish POV info, then why can’t Wikipedia?

The editor Andrew c argued above that Susan Lee and the other footnoted sources at issue “may also be communist, or baseball fans, or trekkers, or whathaveyou.” But this is not a Wikipedia article about communism, or baseball, or Star Trek. Rarely have I ever seen a more unpersuasive argument, than the argument that this “Abortion” article would also have to disclose that footnoted authors are “communist, or baseball fans, or trekkers”. It boggles the mind.

Andrew c also mentions that “if there are other peer reviewed studies or responses that question the findings and are on the same caliber” then they can be included in this article. Actually, I included just such a study criticizing Susan Lee’s article, but I was reverted without explanation. In any event, the editor of JAMA said that it would be appropriate for JAMA to publish such POV information, without waiting for specific refutation, so why should Wikipedia deprive readers of that type of POV information? It would place a huge burden on Wikipedia editors to track down specific refutation of a footnoted source, when the only thing available on the internet is POV info about the footnoted source.

The other editor to argue at this talk page for omitting any mention of sources’ POV is the editor Severa. She acknowledges that “Bias concerns regarding Reardon and JAMA [i.e. Lee] are definitely noteworthy....” But she wants to relegate those concerns to sub-articles, without relegating the assertions of Reardon and Lee (and the respective footnotes) to those sub-articles as well. This seems inconsistent to me, and especially unnecessary in a summary subsection like this.Ferrylodge 02:10, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry to say this, but this is getting out of hand. Ferrylodge is abusing RfC. I brought up this topic a day ago 2 threads up. There are only 3 comments from 3 different users (including myself). This is not at the point of a deadlocked dispute. One of the editors is out of town for the weekend. These things take time. The guidelines say Do not post an RfC before working towards a resolution with other article contributors first. You don't go posting a RfC 24 hours after the first talk page discussion when there have only been 3 comments total. As the RfC page points out, there are other ways you should try to solicite more opinions BEFORE posting RfCs: Consider getting a third opinion on a controversy that involves only two editors. and Consider consulting the relevant WikiProject, especially for expert subjects like at WikiProject Mathematics. For disputes over implementing Wikipedia policy, consider consulting the relevant policy, guideline, or style page. -Andrew c 03:17, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
Please check your facts, Andrew c. I brought this topic up at this talk page more than three days before starting this RfC. I brought this topic up at 00:17, 14 March 2007 (UTC). I started the RfC at 02:10, 17 March 2007 (UTC).
In those more than three days, I encountered at this talk page nothing but refusals to discuss, and opposition, from both you and Severa. While you may prefer to bottle everything up here, and require anyone who disagrees with you to waste weeks trying to deal with you one-on-one, I'm not aware of any Wikipedia policy or guideline that requires such a colossal waste of my time.Ferrylodge 05:01, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
If the authors have a page on Wikipedia, then that is where their POV should be mentioned. As long as the articles or quotes on this page are cited from reputable sources, I don't see why their POV should be mentioned. rossnixon 01:23, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
Many footnoted authors (e.g. Lee and Derbyshire) don't have pages on Wikipedia. Regarding Reardon, here's some commentary about him from the Canadian Medical Association Journal:
"Researcher bias clearly can affect the research process. Nowhere is this more obvious than in research on abortion. David Reardon has quite explicitly stated his intentions...to affect abortion-related legislation."
Concealing conflict of interest and POV concerns from Wikipedia readers is not the way to go here. There's often a gray area between POV and conflict of interest, and if visitors to this Wikipedia article are given a brief heads-up then they can determine for themselves if the POV amounts to a possible conflict of interest. Briefly mentioning POV here would also give everyone (including Wikipedia editors) an idea of whether this article might be weighted to one side or the other (as the fetal pain subsection currently is).
I already said at this talk page that the best solution would be to not include many details from the main fetal pain article in this abortion article. But, if we're going to include details here about views from sources who may have conflicts of interest, then there is no harm in briefly presenting factual information about the sources' POV. Let readers decide for themselves if they want to be skeptical about a fetal pain study whose main author was an attorney for the National Abortion Rights Action League, or skeptical about a mental illness study whose main author has explicitly said that he wants to influence abortion legislation.Ferrylodge 06:15, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Again, coming from RfC. I have to agree strongly with Ferrylodge on these edits. This is an issue I'm sensitive to. Oftentimes editors of an article on a controversial topic tend to all think the same way, and that often introduces a bias. I'm making no accusations here, just a general observation! I think the problem is rooted in the fact that some articles generate so much vandalism that regular editors get used to reverting any changes that seem sensitive to the side of the vandals. (Full disclosure: exactly this issue came up for me at an article related to the creation-evolution controversy.) Identifying the POV of cited sources is always a good idea. Ferrylodge's edits seemed factual and did not disrupt the flow of the sentences. Assuming the characterization of the source as an activist is correct, I think it's important to include that information. It's a universally-accepted principle of journalism to identify any possible biases or prejudices of a source. On the other hand, be careful that the article doesn't say something like "Joe Bob says the Beatles are the best band ever, but he's the editor of Beatles magazine, so his judgement is obviously biased." Just state the facts simply, like it seems at first glance is what Ferrylodge did. Hope this helps. Gnixon 16:47, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

I have to disagree. I edit a lot of Christian/historical topics. And while there is conflict between secular scholars and apologetic scholars, I do not feel that when citing sources we need to point out someone's religious belief before citing them. By doing that, we are drawing attention to something that would be otherwise not-notable. It's implying that scholars are incapable of compartmentalizing their lives. That if someone is Christian, then that is going to bias their research, or if they are agnostic or Jewish, that will bias their research. Similarly, if these scholars can get their studies published in one of the MOST prestigious PEER REVIEWED journals without a conflict of interest or other disclaimer on their study, then there is NO reason for us to bring up thing in their personal lives implying that the peer reviewed study is somehow flawed. You mentioned evolution vs. creation. Would you want every Christian scholar to have a disclaimer before we cited their study, implying that Christians cannot do fair science when it comes to evolution? Or vice versa? point out when an author is an atheist before citing their studies? Just because someone has a belief or disbelief in a deity does not automatically mean their ability to do science has failed. Same thing here, just because someone may vote democratic/republican, or donate money or time to planned parenthood/NRLC does not mean that we can go and accuse their peer reviewed work as being biased. This is the heart of original research and POV pushing. Full disclosure would be saying a study was only published in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, the Guttmacher Institute's journal, or was only published in the Catholic Bishops newsletter. Do you see the difference?-Andrew c 20:17, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
Andrew c, you're continuing to completely ignore this: the editor of JAMA stated publicly that her journal would have published the info about the pro-choice backgrounds of the authors, if the authors had properly informed JAMA of those backgrounds: "This is the first I've heard about it....We ask them to reveal any conflict of interest. I would have published the disclosure if it had been made." Even if the editor of JAMA had taken a different position, I would still agree with GNixon. As you know very well, I never suggested footnoting the religion or the political party of anyone.Ferrylodge 20:42, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
I apologize, my last comment was far too hasty. Certainly, I don't mean to imply that irrelevant personal information should be included in order to bias the reader. I'll stand by what I said about the need to supply relevant information about potential bias, but on further review, those comments may not apply here. Honestly, I only glanced at the first edit, and I'm sorry for that. In the 2nd edit, I see no useful information about potential bias from the source. I think the third edit is awful---"has been linked to pro-choice groups" can have no use except to slander. The text of the first edit at least seems fine upon first glance---to use the religion example, if a scholar writes critically about Judaism, I certainly don't care if he's Christian in his private life, but I certainly do care if he's an outspoken Christian evangelist. That's why "pro-life" isn't relevant to David Reardon, but "pro-life activist" may be. Andrew's point about publication in the prestigious BMJ is well-taken, and unless David Reardon's activism is particularly vocal, to the extent that it comprises a large part of his public identity, I see no reason to point it out before the citation. Edit: I've just seen Ferrylodge's most recent comment, and I think it bears weight. Gnixon 20:45, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

I've been out of the loop on this article for a while, but reading over this section, a suggestion occurs to me. In cases where a researcher's potential bias has itself been discussed in reliable sources, then it's entirely appropriate for us to mention it, because that's a citable fact about reactions to their research. If we're simply stating their politics because we happen to know about them, then it would be original research to decide that their politics are notable in this context. -GTBacchus(talk) 20:52, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

That sounds reasonable, and I think it would resolve this particular issue, but I think there's a simple rule that's more generally applicable: if a source's active promotion of some philosophy is notable, and if it is related to the content of the citation, it is appropriate and indeed necessary to provide that information. Gnixon 20:57, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
Actually, those two principles are probably complimentary---sometimes a person's activism is notable enough to include even if the source in question makes no mention of it; other times, even when their activism is not particularly notable (say, someone who is a fierce activist, but not famous for it), if the source found cause to note it, we should, too. Gnixon 21:00, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
I generally agree with GTBacchus and Gnixon, but I would like to briefly address my (third) edit about an author having "been linked to pro-choice groups." Those were not my words, but rather were quoted from a linked BBC newspaper article. Moreover, our main fetal pain article links to an additional newspaper article (in Forbes) on the same exact point: "Derbyshire has served as an unpaid consultant to Planned Parenthood of Virginia and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, as well as the U.K.-based Pro-Choice Forum." So, I've linked to two reputable newspapers here (BBC and Forbes), and it seems that should be enough to justify the edit.Ferrylodge 21:07, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm still a little nervous about that one. I think "linked to pro-choice groups" is really too vague. Is there more information to be had? I'm not sure---meaning I'm not sure either way---whether consulting for Planned Parenthood is enough to raise concerns of bias. Gnixon 21:10, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Having taken only a few more minutes to read about Reardon in various places, I'll again strongly support mentioning his activism. In fact, there may be justification for a sentence briefly mentioning the controversy over his work, which seems to be considerable. Gnixon 21:10, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

GNixon, I think you may have overlooked this information in the second of the three edits: "2 authors of fetal-pain paper accused of bias, USA Today." Combine this with the fact that JAMA announced they would have published the info about bias if they had been properly informed, and I don't see any reason to exclude that info from this Wikipedia article.
And, regarding the third edit, we're not just talking about Planned Parenthood in two states, but also the Pro-Choice Forum in the U.K. Both Forbes and the BBC thought this was relevant. Certainly it cannot hurt to footnote this stuff in the Wikipedia article so readers can form their own opinions.Ferrylodge 21:24, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

The Fetus as life

Guys, the fetus fulfills all of the "characteristics of life" that are defined by biology. Therefore it IS life. It may not fulfill as soon as it is concieved, but once it has hit about 3 weeks it is definately life. Discuss.--Rich —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Richco07 (talkcontribs) 22:06, 21 March 2007 (UTC).

Talk pages are not for general topical discussions. They are for discussing specific article content and proposed changes. Please review the Wikipedia:talk page guidelines, and always sign your posts by typing four tildes (~~~~). Thanks. -Andrew c 22:27, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Abortion is Wrong

Abortion kills babies before they get a chance to come into this world and offer the God given talents that they may have. These babies that are being killed could, if given the chance, come into this world and discover chemical, engineering, or technological break-throughs and contribute to our world in an amazing way. My advice to anyone who wants an abortion is to not have it; instead, tell your parents about your pregnancy and talk with them about whether or not you should tkae care of the baby or give it up to an adoption agency. 08:02. 22 May 2007 (UTC)