Talk:Abortion/Archive 44

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User:Orangemarlin has been violating the general sanctions on the Abortion article

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The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

User:Orangemarlin has violated the general sanctions that have been imposed on this article. [NB: Orangemarlin's talk page has been protected and reverted and thus I cannot leave this warning on his talk page. That is why the warning is being left here.] Orangemarlin has committed vandalism and is edit warring by reverting the lede to include language that does not enjoy consensus and has been rejected for years by the consensus of editors. The most recent reversion was 24 hours and 3 minutes after his last reversion. Such behavior is both tendentious editing and a violation of the 1RR rule that applies to this article ("subject to 1RR (1 revert per 24 hours per user per page)"). In addition, because on June 21 OrangeMarlin warned another editor that abortion articles are subject to the 1RR rule and is therefore aware of that 1RR rule, Orangemarlin has breached 1RR after knowing that the topic is subject to 1RR, and therfore Orangemarlin has violated the formal requirement to discuss any reversions made on pages in the topic on the abortion talk page. The following is an inclusive chronology of all editing done by OrangeMarlin to Abortion and to Talk:Abortion:

What is more, OrangeMarlin has been disruptive in this topic area by engaging in that same excessively uncivil personal attack ("My left nutsack knows more than you. Jesus fucking Christ, I have never attacked you personally, but have, in fact, ignored you commentary") against another editor. The special sanctions that apply the abortion article allow an administrator to impose actions for edit warring, personal attacks, excessive incivility, 1RR and not using the talk page when editing the article. Therefore I ask that an administrator impose extraordinary sanctions on User:Orangemarlin. (talk) 19:40, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Jesus fucking Christ, my left nutsack is a bit itchy. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 20:27, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
My itchy nutsack asks: "Please point out the 1RR violation." Oh, you can't. Talk discussions NEVER count in 1RR or 3RR unless, let's be clear, if I were reverting comments. AND...1RR is per 24 hours. I believe I went 24 hours and about 10 minutes between edits. So, please read up on WP:3RR. Your obsessiveness with me is a bit frightening. I'm actually concerned that you will harm me. Please stop the canvassing and stalking. Any more threats against me, and I will ask that you be sanctioned. OK. Stop the fucking threats. The bore the living shit out of me, but your activities are becoming very concerning to me. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 21:35, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
(Giggle. Please link to any and all threats I have made against you.) The 1RR violation was to the Abortion page. The talk page is included in the chronology to demonstrate that you did not discuss your changes to the article before or after making them. You just made the change. Because you were aware of the special sanctions, you must abide by them. Waiting 24 hours and 3 minutes to revert the same sentence is likely a violation of 1RR. Does your vulgar adolescent behavior normally accomplish what you desire? If it works here, I will be quite surprised. (talk) 21:43, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Your obsessiveness with me is awfully touching. But I don't date anonymous individuals on Wikipedia. I find your flirting style to be a tad juvenile. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 21:47, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Straw poll on lede sentence

I agree with the suggestion that it would be useful to have a straw poll on the viable-vs.-death issue for the lede sentence. The current version reads: Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of a fetus or embryo from the uterus, resulting in or caused by its death.. The proposed change was: Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of a fetus or embryo from the uterus before the fetus is viable. I suggest that involved editors indicate that they either Support Current for the current version containing 'death', or Support Viable for the proposed version if they prefer it (or something similar to it that omits 'death'). Neither sentence need be the final form of the lede, of course, but this would help us better see if there is sufficient support for a change to merit continued discussion and possible mediation if needed. JJL (talk) 02:20, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

"Before fetus is Viable":

  • Support Viable (Added: And, of course, oppose death.) JJL (talk) 02:20, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose No new reasons put forward, already debated, as other editors have said to you, "before the fetus is viable" is factually inaccurate. Fetal death is spoken of frequently in reference to both spontaneous abortion and induced abortion, both as cause and result. Straw polls don't overturn an existing consensus, and can't act as a new consensus. Waste of time. (talk) 10:52, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
  • OPPOSE. 1. Women can and do have viable fetuses aborted (by doctors) in some jurisdictions in the world. 2. "Before fetus is Viable" is always accurate only if the common understanding of "viable" is ignored and contrived to mean "no longer viable 'cuz the doctor destroyed the previously viable fetus before it was removed or expelled". 3. Question is not posed neutrally by JJL and voting area presents options in reverse order compared to JJL's question narrative that precedes it. (talk) 11:25, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
    • The ordering was introduced by RoyBoy, not me. [1] JJL (talk) 14:00, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Neverthless, its confusingly backwards regardless of who introduced it. (talk) 20:10, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Pre-viability is simply NOT a requirement for an abortion (induced or spontaneous). (talk) 14:17, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
For "spontaneous" it is per Uptodate "Spontaneous abortion (SAb), also known as miscarriage, refers to a pregnancy that ends spontaneously before the fetus has reached a viable gestational age" PMID 11023804 Still looking into elective. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:12, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
"An induced abortion is the medical or surgical termination of pregnancy before the time of fetal viability." AND "The interruption of pregnancy before viability at the request of the woman, but not for medical reasons, is usually termed elective or voluntary abortion." (Williams Obstetrics, 23e, Chp 9) NW (Talk) 16:00, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
And this "Abortion is the spontaneous or induced termination of pregnancy before fetal viability. Because popular use of the word abortion implies a deliberate pregnancy termination, some prefer the word miscarriage to refer to spontaneous fetal loss before viability" from [1] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:52, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
You may be interested in Abortion#Notes. NW (Talk) 18:52, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment I would like to suggest this definition: 'The majority of major medical texts define abortion as the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of a fetus or embryo from the uterus before the fetus is viable. Gandydancer (talk) 23:03, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Current Version:

  • Support going to ArbCom, mediation doesn't resolve content disputes. - RoyBoy 03:05, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
    • Arbcom doesn't accept content disputes. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 06:40, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
      • And I keep trying to give them work, volunteer slackers!'D - RoyBoy 03:29, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Death Cut the crap, say it as it is. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 06:40, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Support: Factually accurate and verifiable. (talk) 10:52, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
  • SUPPORT Current version. Death is always accurate (which is why popular and medical dictionaries use it). Thousands of abortions occur each year for which "before fetus is viable" is factually inaccurate. (talk) 11:47, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose death Would have the effect of inaccurately labeling many premature deliveries as abortions, even when an infant does live for some time after delivery LeadSongDog come howl! 13:48, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
    • No, LeadSongDog, your logic is wrong. Abortion => death does not imply that death => abortion. Is that too long on rhetoric and too short on substance for you?-- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 17:41, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
      • Suggest you reread the proposed text. It would include neonatal deaths in its definition of abortion: "...expulsion of a fetus ... from the uterus, resulting in ... its death". LeadSongDog come howl! 22:05, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
        • Suggest you reread the text: "its" refers to fetus or embryo, not baby. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 09:46, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
          • I'm glad you've maintained a sense of humour. If there is a less awkward grammatical construction that distinguishes the before and after states feel free to propose it.LeadSongDog come howl! 13:30, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
            • Current wording is precise: fetus dies => abortion; by implication baby dies => not an abortion. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 14:06, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. But I agree that adding a word could make it more clear ("...its near-simultaneous death"). That is why websters uses "...after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death..." (talk) 14:09, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose death We are going about this all wrong. This is a medical article, and adding "death" is merely a political statement representing ONE POV, not all, since there are a substantial number (if not majority) who do not accept that the fetus is alive, so cannot be killed. Please point out where WP:MEDRS considers a dictionary to be the final statement on this matter? OrangeMarlin Talk•Contributions 14:37, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Why do you say this a medical article? It is an article about a social/cultural/political/religious/philosophical/legal/medical/veterinary/biological topic. (talk) 16:40, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
OM, find a reliable source that says the fetus is not alive. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 17:39, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Verifiably wrong in every way possible, but if actually accurate then I put Abortion#Art.2C_literature_and_film in the wrong article, OM please direct me to where it should go. Also point out how a medical ref trumps a dictionary to assist a generalist encyclopedia achieve an accurate compromise. I'm not interested in pulling a Britannica in our lead, which is the minimum required to have any semblance of accuracy. - RoyBoy 03:44, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment: Simply opposing the current version won't cut it. Opposers need to propose a suitable alternative, a form of words which communicates the same factuality because that is not what is in dispute. But we've been there tried it got the t-shirt... I'd offer as a clumsy alternative : "by terminating the life of the embryo/fetus". But would that would only refer to induced abortion. Following Plain Style guidelines, that could be simplified to "by killing the embryo/fetus" (but untrue in reference to spontaneous abortion). The other alternative is keep it pretty much the same but include the term developing: "resulting in or caused by the death of the developing embryo/fetus". None of these three phrases are totally synonymous, but the last is to me the plainest, most neutral, and factually accurate of the three. Is there a better word than "developing"? I suggest it adds a missing nuance to the first sentence that would deal with other issues raised. (talk) 15:18, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose death I believe that Wikipedia policy obliges editors to avoid personal opinions and use information from only the best available sources. For a small group of editors to stray so far from the references and completely change the definition of abortion to one that endorses the belief that life begins at conception should not be acceptable. Gandydancer (talk) 15:25, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Your argument is silly; it is analogous to claiming that "Abraham Lincoln died" is likewise not acceptable because that wording endorses the belief that there is no afterlife or that Lincoln is not experiencing an afterlife. All of the medical/veterinary/bological sources are in agreement: only a living offspring (of any species, at whatever stage of pre-natal development) can be aborted, and such an abortion ends in the death of that previously living abortus. If an abortion is threatened spontaneously or an attempt is made to induce an abortion - but the fetus ends up being born alive, then the abortion has failed (and the pregnancy has been terminated by live birth). (talk) 16:47, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
It might be easier to interpret the results of the straw poll if arguments about whose position is "silly" were moved to another section. JJL (talk) 17:29, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
And just think of the difficulty inflicted on the interpretation process by arguments about which comments should be "moved to another section". Lawdy, lawdy! (talk) 19:42, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose current The ending phrase of the current version sounds rather awkward and I believe the sentence would sound better if "resulting in or caused by its death" is removed. On the other hand, the detail "viable" is controversial and I don't think it belongs in the first sentence. I would suggest Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of a fetus or embryo from the uterus.--EdwardZhao (talk) 17:36, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
So is Delivery. (talk) 17:49, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
62 is right: Zhao's abortion definition is so flawed because it includes the birth of all of my nieces and nephews, all of my neighbors, the entire Yankee infield, and the Broadway cast of RENT! (talk) 19:39, 23 June 2011 (UTC
Oh, I see. In that case, I support using "viable" in the definition. A link to Viability (fetal) can be added for clarity.--EdwardZhao (talk) 19:48, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Nope. Doctors abort viable fetuses every day (hundreds of them). (talk) 20:01, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
I'm sure you have a reliable source to back up your claim about incidence of post-viability abortions? MastCell Talk 20:37, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Here you go. Its a mainstream piece that highlights and praises the post-viability abortions done by slain late-term abortionist George Tiller. A group that helps women find abortion providers sponsors this link where a woman can search locally for late-term providers, many of whom offer post-viability (24+ weeks, 25+ weeks, and 26+ weeks LMP) abortions. The Viability (fetal) link mentioned above by Zhao indicates that "50 to 70 percent of babies born at 24 to 25 weeks, and more than 90 percent born at 26 to 27 weeks, survive". Let me know if you want additional sources. (talk) 20:52, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
I want additional sources that address the question, not more sophistry. None of those supports the idea that "hundreds" of post-viable fetuses are aborted "every day". That sounds to me like pro-life hyperbole rather than fact, particularly given your track record to date. In fact, the Slate piece emphasizes the rarity of post-viability abortion, so either you read it and decided to misrepresent it or you didn't read it. But I'm open to being corrected if you have a source that actually supports your claims. MastCell Talk 21:26, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
He failed to mention that the overwhelming majority of late term abortions are done for women who might die if they don’t have one, fetuses who wouldn’t survive outside of the womb, and fetuses with such extreme abnormalities that they’d best be terminated before full term. Gandydancer (talk) 21:39, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Good calls. - RoyBoy 03:31, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Not really, Roy. Slate helps us do the math (18,000 late-term abortions annually after viability) :
  • Only 1.5% of abortions occur after 21 weeks of pregnancy," notes Vanessa Valenti at Feministing. She's right. Women and clinics deserve credit for acting earlier and keeping that number down. Still, 1.5 percent of 1.2 million abortions per year is 18,000 very late abortions. How long should the abortion decision clock be allowed to run? (talk) 23:32, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
@Gandydancer, do you have a reply to - RoyBoy 07:48, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Support death is not a dirty word. - Haymaker (talk) 18:10, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose death. Concur with OrangeMarlin, LeadSongDog, Gandydancer, JJL. Adding: What happens to the products of conception post abortion is not defined by abortion. ArtifexMayhem (talk) 18:49, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I dare say I could come up with a lede that might solve the problem, or at least the first few sentences of a lede. But the issue here is whether solving the problem for NPOV editors will be enough. For that reason I think a few questions are in order to see if it would be a waste of time. I'll ask these below. (talk) 09:14, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
As applied, the use of the term "products of conception" above (instead of the well-understood and accurate term used ubiquitously in the bio/med/vet/legal discourse and in everyday discourse: embryo or fetus) is silly. But the use of it does drive home the point that this article is NOT a medical article, and that intentionally euphemistic and murky medical terms used primarily by abortion-minded doctors and activists are NOT appropriate in the lede. (talk) 19:35, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Your opinion on what may or may not be "silly" is worthless and has no place here. ArtifexMayhem (talk) 21:53, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
The IP has a valid point, but Artifex may not have been wanting to use the euphemistic phrase in the article. I prefer a plain style which describes things as they are. (talk) 09:45, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose "death", and "viable" too. This is the wrong place to decide what "life" is. 60% or more of fertilized ova never implant; medically and legally a pregnancy never starts. Do these blastocysts "die"? Has an abortion happened? BTFOM, and you and your doctor and your clergyman too. Rewrite the lede to use neither term. PhGustaf (talk) 04:00, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
    • While I agree we are not defining life here, I can tell you those blastocysts die, just as surely as the sperm and egg die if they do not join. A pregnancy is the feeding of a biological growth. Before it plants itself into the uterine wall it isn't biologically alive? Just a sack of remixed chemicals, while this chemical soup can justly be seen as just that... the egg doesn't die as it normally would if it remained empty. Biological processes, however rudimentary, are occurring regardless. - RoyBoy 07:58, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose "death" The majority of references don't use this word to define abortion. Wikipedia's definition should be in line with what the references say. Right now Wikipedia's definition is aberrant because it uses a word very few references use to define abortion. If the majority of references we looked at had "death" I'd support it staying there but since they don't I say the word should be taken out. Friend of the Facts (talk) 21:01, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Viable When we transplant organs from someone with a beating heart and ventilated lungs we are not causing "death" as the person is already technically "brain dead'. The same is true with abortion we are not killing a human when we abort a fetus as it has been agreed that the fetus is not a living / thinking human. Some thing when we do a hysterectomy or bowel resection even though we are killing human cells we are not killing humans. Thus the more WP:NPOV version would be viability.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:07, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Support death factually accurate and supported by sources – Lionel (talk) 01:09, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Could you put your comment under the section for "viable". Thanks. (talk) 09:14, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
  • There's been some work on the brain birth/brain death parallel: E.g., [2] D G Jones, The problematic symmetry between brain birth and brain death, J Med Ethics 1998;24:237-242; [3] D G Jones, Brain birth and personal identity, J Med Ethics 1989;15:173-185. JJL (talk) 00:58, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I think I have made my point clear before; I oppose the status quo, mostly because I feel that it does not adequately reflect the consensus of the sources. NW (Talk) 00:48, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Agree we need to reflect the best quality source. We are to reflect the literature per WP:V and there is consensus for that. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:12, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Mildly support "death" and strongly oppose "viable". In any event, absent consensus, the sentence needs to be reverted to the longstanding version, per item #1 of the FAQ at the top of this talk page. "Death" is a pretty strong word, and we don't say in the tonsillectomy article that the tonsils die. But WP:Euphemism argues against sugarcoating, and the stability of this article favors "death" as well, so I mildly support "death". Whatever becomes of "death", I strongly emphatically vociferously oppose "viable". The notion that abortion is physically impossible during the last few months of pregnancy entails an unusual use of the word "abortion" that is contradicted by a vast number of reliable sources.Anythingyouwant (talk) 00:22, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Viable The overwhelming description the sources use state nothing about "death", but do in fact give language that describe expulsion "before fetal viability". That is what the opening sentence should read, "Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of a fetus or embryo from the uterus before fetal viability". This straw poll, although showing that most do support this language, should not overrule Wiki policy. The sources state this language, not the "death" language. So it should be changed. Dave Dial (talk) 01:59, 26 June 2011 (UTC)


It's been over 48 hours. I make it 10 in opposition to 'death' and 6 in support of 'death'. Not all of those who oppose 'death' clearly support 'viable'. JJL (talk) 03:19, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

And you have convinced who? The problems with "before viability" grow larger all the time, not least that its factually false. So you have no alternative wording, but another fait acompli was tried last night, by changing the first sentence before you even tallied your straw poll. So do you guys even really care about either factuality or consensus. Just level with the rest of us? DMSBel (talk) 09:56, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't think saying "you guys" helps--I'm not allied with anyone, but I am in agreement with some and much less so with others. Take your anger to the person who did the actual edit, though based on all the discussion and sources and stonewalling against change here I think it was quite reasonable. I don't see any problems with "before viability" and I think that all that's growing is the volume of your complaints. JJL (talk) 15:09, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Actually the totals are more like 10-8 in favor of death, so we should revert back to the previously established consensus.-- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 10:59, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I'd be happy to hear from others as to how they read the responses. It's clear that consensus for 'death' has been lost and that net opinion is currently against it. That's a good reason to work on establishing a new consensus, and 'viable' seems to be the leading candidate. JJL (talk) 15:09, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. Would you revert. Thanks.DMSBel (talk) 12:09, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Or instead of edit warring, we could work from these results towards a new version of the lede by discussion. JJL (talk) 15:09, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Make that 7 for death. I think it premature to claim a change in any event, and additionally I do not see a consensus to adopt "Viable." – Lionel (talk) 01:09, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
And also another against, for a tally of 11-7 as I read it. The weight of opinion is against 'death' and seems to be for 'viable'. We should start from there. JJL (talk) 03:35, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

That makes it 11-9 in favor of keeping death in the lede. (talk) 03:39, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

(Redacting incorrect report of result. JJL (talk) 01:00, 27 June 2011 (UTC))

I say again--please explain your reasoning here. JJL (talk) 01:36, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
I absolutely do not understand how you reach this conclusion. Here's what I have. I'm counting the following as opposing 'death': JJL, LeadSongDog, OrangeMarlin, Gandydancer, EdwardZhao, ArtifexMayhem, PhGustaf, Friend of the Facts, NW, Doc James, Dave Dial. I'm counting the following as supporting 'death': Michael C. Price,,,, Haymaker, Lionel, Anythingyouwant. That's 11-7 against 'death'. Not all who opposed 'death' supported 'viable'; one person only mildly supported 'death'; and one person (RoyBoy) only indicated support for going to ArbCom. If you count him in the 'death' category then that makes it 11-8. If someone feels that I have mis-assigned or over-looked them then I hope he or she will say so. But, please explain how you reached your conclusion. JJL (talk) 04:22, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
JJL, the confusion comes from your bias and inability to phrase a neutral poll. Self-proclaimed victories are always unconvincing. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 07:00, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
How surprising to hear someone from the side receiving less support now claiming it was a problem with the poll. The wording was quite simple and the issue was clear. If you were confused then you should have asked for clarification. It seemed to me that everyone knew what we were talking about, but it was clearly stated nonetheless. There is more opposition to the use of 'death' than there is support for it. But let's here from as to how he reads things. He's even found more total votes than I have! JJL (talk) 14:29, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
As usual you hear and see what you wish, and nothing else. Others complained of your role as self-appointed judge, jury and executioner, but I suppose you didn't hear that either.-- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 14:32, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
It is abundantly clear there is no consensus to change the lead from "death" to "viable". A majority vote has never represented consensus. And everyone here knows that. Editors who continuously revert should be extremely cautious: this article is subject to 1RR and is being watched by admins and they may construe this type of behavior as edit warring and block offenders. – Lionel (talk) 21:09, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
It is abundantly clear there is no consensus at all. However, the results of the straw poll show a majority against 'death' and significant interest in 'viable' as the alternative. What do you suggest as a constructive way to move forward, given this information? JJL (talk) 00:58, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
The first thing before we proceed is that 2006 consensus version remains as the lede until there is a new consensus. Without agreement on that point, then we have bad faith edit warring by those who ignore the article FAQ and edit as if there is a consensus for a change. (talk) 01:55, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Silly question regarding the "viable" alternative - is it not considered to be an abortion if a pregnancy is terminated and the baby killed after viability? If there is a huge hangup on "viable" or "death", why not just put a period after "uterus"? --B (talk) 11:32, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Because if you put the period there, then every born mammal on earth would have been the result of an abortion so defined [a live birth is also the termination of a pregnancy]. ;o) (talk) 15:26, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
  • That would be acceptable to me as a compromise. The concern that has been raised is that that could also be construed as the definition of a normal pregnancy. I think "terminating the pregnancy" makes it sufficiently clear, but 'viable' is what's used in the vast majority of professional refs. on the subject so I do find that preferable. JJL (talk) 15:17, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Edit warring: repeated change to non-consensus lede

There is a long-standing consensus lede. We are now discussing whether a new consensus version might exist, but so far there is no new consensus version, yet some editors keep changing the lede. This is not being bold - it is bad faith tendentious edit warring. (talk) 00:18, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

I look forward to such a discussion taking place. How would you suggest we proceed? JJL (talk) 00:53, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
We proceed on the talk page, not on the article page. You could assist in that by encouraging editors to leave the long-standing consensus lede alone unless the first achieve a new consensus leded. Several times now you have participated in the edit war by editing to polish the changed non-consensus lede. To state it plainly: you have been complicit in the edit warring behavior. If you are willing to stop doing that, then I am happy to assume good faith on your part. Are you so willing? (talk) 01:06, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Stop editing the page to change the grammatical case of one word? No, I'm not willing to agree to stop doing that. It's noncontroversial. (No has said that 'viability' is preferred over 'viable'.) Setting preconditions isn't a helpful way to start. However, I'm prepared to leave the lede as it currently is if others are. JJL (talk) 01:09, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Exactly the bad faith I was noting: the current lede is the edit-war non-consensus version and you snidely "agree" to leave it as it is if others will. Proof of your tendentiousness. (talk) 01:18, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
You asked. Is there a way to move forward without me agreeing to preconditions you have set? JJL (talk) 01:35, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
First of all, let's stop referring to one version as the "consensus" version and the other as the "non-consensus" version. That's silly and rhetorically dishonest. Clearly there is not, at present, a consensus for how the lead should look. One can reference previous discussions, of course, but not for the purpose of trying to shut down the current discussion. MastCell Talk 16:06, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Why should we stop to call the version that has been standing here for years and which was the result of hard content discussions and which achieved consensus anything else but the consensus version just to please those that without any justification try to replace it by a version that is both factually incorrect, POV pushing and self-contradictory. If anything, this would be "rhetorically dishonest".
How can anyone oppose the mentioning of death and at the same time include the (false) claim about viability. If the fetus is not-viable, then obviously it is alive and therefore can also die. If pre-viablity were a prequisite of an abortion, the fetus' death is the logical consequence of the procedure.
Str1977 (talk) 07:32, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
You've just asserted as "false" the definition used by almost every leading medical reference. Also, the point of the term 'viable' is that it is not that case that "If the fetus is not-viable, then obviously it is alive and therefore can also die", as we have been discussing here. To say "without any justification" is quite dismissive of all the discussion and sources here. Being the mainstream medical defn. is surely some amount of justification, wouldn't you agree? JJL (talk) 13:37, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
JJL, before you accuse other editors of being dismissive, please read throught the archive, you'll save yourself a lot of time in the long run.DMSBel (talk) 15:48, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Wording in the 'viable/viability' version of the lede sentence

This sentence has gone back-and-forth between ending in "...before fetal viability" or "...before it is viable" (linking to Viability (fetus) or Fetal viability in either case; the latter has now become the main version and so the current link should be changed to avoid the redirect). I prefer the latter form, but it appears both ways in the sources. The two versions are obviously equivalent, but does anyone have any reason stylistically to prefer one over the other? JJL (talk) 15:24, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

I'll re-iterate my comment below here regarding lede stability - it is has reference to what you have just said, though I don't object to you having moved it to a new section. The current version has stability only because of full page protection, and it does not enjoy consensus. With regard to the issue of style, in so far as it does not touch on meaning, it is rather beside the point at this stage. The real issue is not with fetal, but with "before...viability". You see because on the grounds you should be able to see that the term "viability" is even more problematical according to your own rationale against "resulting in, or caused by its death". I am surprised you cannot see this yet. DMSBel (talk) 12:14, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Our normal practice is to avoid redirects by piping directly to the target article, but wp:redirects are cheap. So whether the piped link is viable or viable has no substantial impact on the reader's experience except for the appearance of redirected from Viability (fetus) below the title on the target page Fetal viability if the second option is used. Either way, I can think of very few things less worthy of a fuss.LeadSongDog come howl! 14:08, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I think avoiding the rd is a no-brainer--it's just that what was the rd and what was the target switched during this discussion and about the time the page was locked so it ended up going from direct to rd. But fetal viability vs. it is viable may or may not matter to someone is what I was thinking. JJL (talk) 14:32, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
JJL, what surprises me is that you continue to edit as though there are no other discussions taking place elsewhere on wikipedia with regard to the editing of this article, I think you should throttle back a little if not a lot, till other issues underlying this are resolved. DMSBel (talk) 15:41, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I started a new section to discuss a minor matter of wording in the version of the lede that is currently in place and that has been the subject of discussion. I indicated in the very section heading that I was referring to this particular version of the lede. I don't understand your objection. As we continue to discuss the two versions, wouldn't it be helpful to know what we're talking about? JJL (talk) 15:58, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
It would be helpful to know what we are talking about while we are continuing to discuss the earlier consensus version and the proposed version. Discussion is as another editor pointed out for the discussion page, not the article itself. This page does indeed operate under a BRD cycle. Would you like for other editors who have already debated this to re-join the discussion? DMSBel (talk) 09:46, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Also running two discussions in parallel in different sections might risk re-polarising the issue. If you insist on doing this, it would be better to proceed under one section, simply titled Lede First Sentence where we discuss the sentence in toto. Its basically easier to follow developments that way. DMSBel (talk) 09:46, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I've no objection to that. JJL (talk) 16:38, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

'Death' in the lede

I've moved this to a new section because I am hoping to have the above one used to settle the wording of the 'viable' version of the lede sentence. The 'death' version seems to be well-settled by its adherents. JJL (talk) 02:07, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

If I might ask what you are hoping to achieve by settling a not so new sentence in contention to the one which has consensus (what you refer to as adherents)? Do you then intend to play the two against each other? Or what exactly? GK Chesterton once quipped, there are two ways to get home, one is to walk all the way round the world till you arrive back at the same place, the other is to stay there. We have already walked all the way round the world on this, you'll find that if you look at the archives. All you will be doing is taking a group of editors around again with you, while you say "oh wait I never thought of this before!" and they all reply "we have!" DMSBel (talk) 12:35, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
JJL, If I may make a couple of observations:
Firstly as you know the stability of current lede is due only to full page protection. It is also true that the earlier wording "caused by or resulting in its death" was protected from time to time, that wording however remained fairly stable while signed in users could edit the page.
If you don't mind may I ask you a couple of questions regarding your objection to the earlier consensus version? In your edit summary you asserted that the use of the term death was "clearly advocacy". My difficulty through this discussion has been following your thinking process. You seem (correct me if I am wrong) to be seeking a new rationale for altering the lede (the first sentence at least). If there is a problem with it that is perfectly fine. However I wonder if you might re-consider whether you have been set on the wrong track early on in the discussion? My difficulty is understanding the rationale you went towards, that there is a fuzziness with certain terms. If there is fuzziness would it not prevent clear discernment of advocacy? Perhaps not, but would you mind making visible your thinking process on this before your edit. The reason I said before your edit is that often once a notion captures our attention, it can subtly influence our evidence seeking. Sometimes its true that a wording strikes us as incorrect, but I, if not other editors, would be interested in what led to your view that it was advocacy, if there was anything other than OrangeMarlin's comment. In asking I want to make clear that in itself there is nothing wrong with following another editors comment, but OrangeMarlin's initial comment was not, and has not been credibly demonstrated to be either factual or verifiable in MEDRS. It no doubt is his view. But I wonder how he could credibly defend a claim of advocacy in view of comprehensive debate and discussion which considered many possible alternatives. I wonder if his comment has set you on the wrong track. One other question: would the term fetal death in your view always be advocacy, or is it just in the part of the sentence "...caused by or resulting in its death"? DMSBel (talk) 23:34, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
There are a number of things I felt and continue to feel are wrong with 'death', but the available length of the edit summary limited my ability to say them all. Given the difficulty of defining 'life' and 'death' biologically and medically; the contentiousness of the words as used in the abortion debates (pro-life or pro-death, "baby-killing", etc.); the myriad legal and psychological issues associated with personhood (which can be conflated with life/death, as in brain death vs. cardiac cessation); the differing views on the matter across cultures; and the general murkiness that such a multi-faceted set of meanings brings with it, I felt and feel that 'death' is too laden with conflicting and nuanced meanings to use without much greater discussion of its senses here. (After the lengthy discussion here, however, the secondary medical sources introduced by NW have become a large part of the basis for my position.) I can't speak for any other editor's views, and I wasn't editing because of any Talk page comment here. I must say that while I appreciate the civil tone, the suggestion that someone else "has set [me] on the wrong track" comes across as quite condescending--more because of the statement that my track is wrong than that I'm easily influenced. The continued implication that disagreement can only arise by error is distressing. As to 'fetal death', it clearly appears in the literature and may well have a role to play in the article--but then, I don't oppose having death in general discussed in the article. I just think it's not well-suited to the lede: Another term is more standard and very specifiaclly defined. JJL (talk) 02:07, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
The edit summary is indeed not the first place to try and explain your objections, or to attempt to overturn a well established consensus. After you have brought concerns to the talk page and there is discussion over whether there is in fact a problem, then the edit summary can briefly indicate any change, and reason for it. The reason for all this is that objections based in "feeling" (as you have said "you felt and continue to feel") are inarticulate. There is nothing wrong with feeling something needs changed, but the degree to which a personal point of view enters into that feeling is difficult to quantify - that is why I addressed your rationale. The "fuzziness" of language is rather a tricky rationale from which to argue that a sentence is "clearly advocacy", however strongly one feels it is. Are you not using your own WP:OR when you refer to "general murkiness...", to argue there is "clear advocacy", if so that seems rather bizarre. You are arguing from the term "death" as being multi-faceted in its meaning, but at the same time saying that it has a clear ring of advocacy to it here. Advocacy in regard to what in particular? That's why we cannot debate the term in isolation. My contention along with other editors both past and present is that it has a medical ring to it in context (part of its multi-faceted meaning), therefore cannot be clearly advocacy. Can you perhaps understand why editors feel so strongly that a lengthy debate be not so lightly dismissed as though those editors are not around now, or that they did not adequately look into these matters. Several of them have re-joined the discussion. Would you value fuller participation from more of the editors involved in the earlier consensus? DMSBel (talk) 10:44, 29 June 2011 (UTC) (talk) 10:39, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't feel I'm being "inarticulate". Here's my position: the clear WP:WEIGHT of the major secondary sources is overwhelmingly toward the use of the term 'viable' and the absence of the term 'death'. We should reflect that in the lede. A more nuanced discussion can occur in a section later on in the article. JJL (talk) 14:26, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Also, nothing is being "lightly dismissed"--we've had a lengthy discussion, lots of new sources, the views of editors who both have and have not been here for a long time, a straw poll, and requests for help from other Wikipedians (e.g. Dispute Resolution, AN/I). The majority of editors are opposed to the use of 'death'. I don't see any effort at all to compromise by the minority who continue to support 'death', while those who do not have been willing to do so (see NW's comments below, or the repeated suggestions that a new section could be added to reflect this disagreement). If no change to the lede can ever be acceptable to you, then discussion doesn't serve much purpose, unfortunately. I've asked before about what would be acceptable compromise language from those who favor 'death' and apparently there is none. B suggested leaving out both 'viable' and 'death' as a compromise. I said that'd be acceptable as a compromise, though I don't prefer it; Doc James suggested a compromise along the lines of "most often before viability" and Gandydancer suggested "The majority of medical texts define..." which were also was met with willingness to discuss by me but gained no traction from the 'death' side, even as a point from which to begin a discussion toward compromise. Your current comments--arguing about arguing--seem to me just another attempt to stonewall. If you're unwilling to compromise and in the minority, then it can't be a surprise that things aren't going your way. Let me ask plainly: Can you imagine compromising on the presence of 'death' in the lede? On the introduction of 'viable' there? JJL (talk) 14:26, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Once again JJL, this is all rooted in your misunderstanding of consensus. My difficulty is that you did not approach this in a attitude of "lets discuss this". You went ahead and changed the lede and only entered into discussion when several editors called the edit into question. Initially you said the medical sources left you in doubt, but strangely ignored the ones that mentioned "fetal death". You argued from a number of angles in succession, started a straw poll, then counted it up yourself. You have not bothered over all this time to start an RFC on this to see what the wider community thoughts are on what you are proposing. Why is that? An RFC is the standard way to approach this. DMSBel (talk) 15:26, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I have no objection to an RFC. As to what's standard, please let me direct you once again to WP:BRD: "The BOLD, revert, discuss cycle (BRD) is a proactive method for reaching consensus". I changed it once, it was reverted, we discussed. Standard approach. The attitude among those championing the former consensus comes across to me as a.) you can't make any changes without our permission, and b.) that permission will never be given. As to arguing a point from many angles...that's actually considered good science, and this is a scientific matter. As to counting the straw poll myself, I explicitly asked others to do so. And once again: Telling me that the difficulty is "rooted in (my) misunderstanding" isn't helpful. Could we disagree without it being the case that I am clearly in the wrong? JJL (talk) 16:04, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Regarding the matter of consensus this might be at the root of the problem

  • At the time of your edit the FAQ clearly said the term "death" had been debated, and no it could not be removed from the lede without a new consensus established. I don't edit the FAQs I think it is bad form to do that if I am involved in any way. Like yourself I am relatively new to the discussion, yet I have been here for several months. When I came to discuss on this page initially it was simply out of interest in what was then a current aspect of discussion which was already well into being debated. I added my comments. Thats all anyone can do. Advancing a new consensus means persuading at least some of those involved in an earlier consensus, either that they did not address a important issue, or if they did that something new has come up which means the matter needs to be re-discussed. I am still not clear what you think you have unearthed that either was not discussed or that represents an important new discovery. The attitude of those previously involved in the discussion has been lets see if we have not already discussed this. There has been no reluctance to give consideration to any genuinely new insight into the issue. You simply cannot claim that you have not been listened to. Let's address the issue you have, that means lets look at it.

Advocacy in the use of the term "death" in the lede's first sentence.

Question: If reference to fetal death was further into the lede would that address your concern with advocacy? In other words do you regard all definitions that mention "death" to be advocacy ipso facto?

To be clear on this as succinctly as possible what is it that is being advocated in your view? DMSBel (talk) 20:31, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

I don't understand why you keep bringing up the term 'advocacy'. I don't think you've been reading my posts. I'm not a priori opposed to any mention of (fetal) death in the lede. Do you have a more specific proposal? JJL (talk) 21:04, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
The reason I bring up advocacy is because it was your initial objection in your edit summary:
04:51, 9 June 2011 JJL (talk | contribs) (93,264 bytes) (this is clearly advocacy--"death" is a highly charged term here and not a medical one (does an embryo 'die'?))
You have claimed that other editors are not permitting a change from the consensus version or allowing a new consensus to be advanced. In reply I say maybe initially there was not a lot of enthusiasm from editors to re-open this, so lets examine the concern about advocacy. A couple of editors have thrown the term "stonewalling" about in the discussion. That is a rather emotive term to use in debate, especially to editors who have re-discussed something year after year. Yet if there is an issue here it should be looked at in depth and all issues of advocacy addressed. Lets do so one at a time. It would help if you could delineate your specific concern, by stating what in your view is being advocated by the use of the term death in the first sentence of the lede? DMSBel (talk) 21:54, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I think you're well behind where the discussion is. Based on the sources NW presented, the defn. involving 'viable' appears to be strongly preferred by the relevant professionals, while that involving 'death' seems to be deprecated. That's what we've been discussing, and what was being addressed in the straw poll. You're denying stonewalling at the same time that you're asking to set aside 20 days of discussion to start over again. It is now I who must ask you to read the archives and get up to date with the discussion. To put it another way, I advocate that you do so. JJL (talk) 23:43, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I am well aware of where the discussion is now and where it began in this round of it JJL, if we lose sight of where it began we no longer know what we are discussing, or why we are even discussing it. Are you saying that you no longer think it is advocacy? You see regardless of where the discussion is now, this has to be addressed. I am just puzzled why when that was your initial objection you seem reluctant to discuss it now. What are we discussing if not that? Why are we looking up sources and trying to find alternatives that have not been tried? DMSBel (talk) 10:08, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Why are we looking up sources? What are we discussing? We're discussing 'viability' in the context of the sources provided by NW. I've addressed your concerns about 'advocacy' as best I can. In light of the sources, we have come to 'viable'. JJL (talk) 15:29, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Well you have not actually told us what was being advocated. I'd have thought that was easy enough, if you perceived clear advocacy in the lede. Going by archived discussion re-introducing "viable" takes the discussion back considerably. I understand it was first considered about 5 years ago. But the problem as you know is not just with the term viable, its with the term "before viablity". DMSBel (talk) 17:20, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Draft to replace current "death note section"

Below is the proposed new notes section for "death" in lead:

While "death" has negative connotations, this is appropriate for the subject matter and acknowledges the controversial and bio-ethically difficult nature of abortion. It makes no judgement -- morally or legally -- regarding personhood. Alternatives with medical consensus have been proposed, why they were not chosen is outlined below.

The majority of medical sources define abortion as a procedure occurring before viability:

  • The National Center for Health Statistics defines an "abortus" as "[a] fetus or embryo removed or expelled from the uterus during the first half of gestation—20 weeks or less, or in the absence of accurate dating criteria, born weighing < 500 g." Cunningham, FG; Leveno, KJ; Bloom, SL; Hauth, JC; Rouse, DJ; Spong, CY, eds. (2010). "1. Overview of Obstetrics". Williams Obstetrics (23 ed.). McGraw-Hill Medical. ISBN 978-0-07-149701-5. 
  • "[T]he standard medical definition of abortion [is] termination of a pregnancy when the fetus is not viable". Annas, George J.; Elias, Sherman (2007). "51. Legal and Ethical Issues in Obstetric Practice". In Gabbe, Steven G.; Niebyl, Jennifer R.; Simpson, Joe Leigh. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies (5 ed.). Churchill Livingstone. ISBN 978-0-443-06930-7. 
  • "Termination of a pregnancy, whether spontaneous or induced." Kottke, Melissa J.; Zieman, Mimi (2008). "33. Management of Abortion". In Rock, John A.; Jones III, Howard W. TeLinde's Operative Gynecology (10 ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 978-0-7817-7234-1. 
  • "Expulsion from the uterus an embryo or fetus prior to the stage of viability (20 weeks' gestation or fetal weight <500g). A distinction made between [abortion] and premature birth: premature infants are those born after the stage of viability but prior to 37 weeks." Stedman's Medical Dictionary (27 ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0683400088. 

Viability is, by its nature, not verifiable on a case by case basis:

  • "Loosely defined, the term viability is the fetus' ability to survive extrauterine life with or without life support. A number of landmark US Supreme Court decisions dealt with this question. In Webster v Reproductive Health Services (1989), the court upheld the state of Missouri's requirement for preabortion viability testing after 20 weeks' gestation. However, there are no reliable or medically acceptable tests for this prior to 28 weeks' gestation." Trupin, Suzanne. "Elective Abortion". Retrieved 26 June 2011.  Unknown parameter |middle= ignored (help)

Abortions -- both elective and medical -- do occur after 20 weeks gestation (trying to find direct stat page, ideally with sex selection tied in):

As an embryo / fetus is an organism, its demise/termination can be accurately described as death:

This best follows Wikipedia's goal of providing reliable, accurate articles in a summary style.

So any comments? - RoyBoy 16:05, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Looks good. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 16:33, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Can you copy the current article into a sandbox and show us what your proposal would look like? I'm trying to visualize it but I'm not sure if I'm misunderstanding your proposal or not. NW (Talk) 16:54, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the move NW, I was waiting until I stabilized it, but I'm glad you're still bold and getting things done. I don't understand current article, effectively I'm streamlining your note section that is live and putting it in a ... ummm, a death rationale matrix. :"D However, this matrix can be leveraged for an alternative to death. Renamed section to clarify my intent to replace current note section. - RoyBoy 17:05, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Ooops, sorry about that. And I'm afraid I'm still not totally understanding it. Could you show your proposed changes on User:NuclearWarfare/Abortion notes sandbox? NW (Talk) 17:27, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Done. - RoyBoy 17:44, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Is there a source for "As an embryo / fetus is an organism"? I looked at this proposal in the sandbox article. When you say "Alternatives with medical consensus have been proposed, why they were not chosen is outlined below", I see that this is an effort at compromise but at this point the weight of opinion favors choosing 'viable' and I would prefer continuing to work in that direction. I still don't see an argument for the superiority of 'death', which this proposal seems to presume. JJL (talk) 18:07, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
I acknowledged we needed to do better to summarize the choice of "death" above alternatives. This is the culmination of hybridizing 2006 consensus with the dominant valid objections reintroduced recently. The key here, is the acknowledgement from 20 weeks to 28 weeks there is no reliable method to determine viability. WHO notes late period abortions happen. The rationale goes, as it did in 2006 but now with a WHO ref, that there is abortus that is viable. If we agree here this is accurate, how would this be addressed in accordance with WP:policies and Style? - RoyBoy 18:32, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
So after all this, it reads to me that what you've 'acknowledged' is that you need to do a better job of explaining why you were right all along? This isn't an honest attempt at reaching a's a condescending and less abrasive defense of the older version. To more directly respond, even if had reached such agreement, a complicated matter such as this is best handled later in the article with a Late Term Abortions or similar section. JJL (talk) 18:57, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Obviously my answer to that is use "death", you can have an alternative, but if it just involves using "viable"; I've shown above that isn't sufficient for an encyclopedia. - RoyBoy 18:38, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
You've shown that to your satisfaction, but I'll need much more to be willing to go against such overwhelming medical and scientific consensus. What other sorts of alternatives might you find acceptable? We may be able to find a middle ground. JJL (talk) 18:57, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Having looked at Britannica, I do not see one. - RoyBoy 20:40, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
If you can't see any possibility of compromising, and you feel one tertiary source outweighs an avalanche of secondary sources, then you're not playing by the rules. JJL (talk) 00:52, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
I do see it (ie. weighing down the lead with trying to define viable medically/legally/practically, and noting exceptions on top of that), but it's bad summary style, what I don't see is a requirement to do it that way. I remind you, you removed the pre-existing summarized compromise. As to rules, people will evoke policy (to the exclusion of others) to get what they want, and ignore them when its convenient. Like you did when y'all replaced death initially, and like you did when you replaced it now with a straw-poll "consensus"; if you're consensus holds under policy review I'm conducting then I'll accept it (Britannified of course, you should get on that). The thing is I will ensure Wikipolicy is updated to reflect what actual policy is, because it rejects your actions at this point in time. (Wikipedia indeed, can always change)
As to an avalanche of secondary medical sources, are you honestly going to pretend I haven't addressed that? Medical sources have a clinical style, they overtly frame abortion in a style appropriate for medical professionals dealing with patients -- and provides a guideline for abortion's intended use. Wikipedia does not define things based on intentions, but strives for reality (aka. accuracy), nor do we censor for a good bed side manner. Your narrow interpretation of Wikipolicy (and selected words) makes you ill suited to edit controversial articles, period. I bare in mind this doesn't make you wrong, you should bare in mind popular support does not make you right. - RoyBoy 23:35, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
I understand you don't see it as a requirement to do it a different way--but I'm in the same position. The case I'm hearing is that the sentence with 'death' is the only possible way, and I don't agree with that in this particular case or in the general case. Replacing 'death' initially was, I think, a reasonable application of WP:BRD. Regardless of whether you agree or not, here we are. But here's the claim I continue to see made but treated as so obvious it need not be sourced: "Medical sources have a clinical style, they overtly frame abortion in a style appropriate for medical professionals dealing with patients -- and provides a guideline for abortion's intended use. Wikipedia does not define things based on intentions, but strives for reality (aka. accuracy), nor do we censor for a good bed side manner." I don't feel the medical sources are overtly framing abortion in a certain style, only appropriate for dealing with patients, only for some 'intended' use, at odds with reality, or censored. That seems to be a personal opinion. Having sources that use 'death' doesn't make the case that medical texts are guilty of all these sins. Can you provide sources that say the medical texts are wrong? There are sources that show some historical documents have been falsified, or written in hagiographic style, for example. Where is the sourced, not synthesized, evidence that the medical sources are wrong? I think this goes to the core of (part of) our disagreement: I believe this is obvious to you, but it's counterintuitive to me. JJL (talk) 01:38, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I acknowledge "death" is hardly the only way for an encyclopedia to define abortion, but even with Britannica's (and others) best efforts, these clarify to me how viable is inappropriate for an encyclopedia. As to the core of our disagreement, we can explore further in Talk:Abortion#After_the_straw_poll. - RoyBoy 20:12, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────In the end, this looks just like the old consensus with some tweaking. Unless someone convinces me otherwise, the 2006 consensus was done by a group of anti-abortion editors (at least the discussion reads that way). No way. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 20:47, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

No surprise there, since everytime OM sees a contrary view he always assumes bad faith, ascribing it to ignorance, stupidity or a different political stance. Which is quite funny since he is still maintaining that the fetus isn't alive. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 20:57, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Surely you'll admit to being very guilty of what you've just accused him of? This is hardly a welcoming environment for editors new to the page, or who hold differing opinions. JJL (talk) 01:02, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Don't worry JLL. I'm used to Price's continued snarkiness and immature commentary. Since he doesn't have much knowledge in this matter, he must resort to childish namecalling. We have a clinical diagnosis for that. He does know a lot about geology, so Price is quite helpful to me in those articles. I don't get the dichotomy. LOLOrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 03:00, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
JLL, OM: Rather than slap each other on the back, your time would be better spend finding a source that says the fetus is not alive. You inability to find such a source speaks volumes. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 05:59, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Again, there's a section for that already on this page, above: On whether the fetus is alive. JJL (talk) 15:22, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
A section that illustrates jjl'S inability to distinguish between biological life and legal life (personhood). -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 16:08, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Let's agree at this point that you aren't actually considering the sources--you're just defending your territory. JJL (talk) 16:38, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Think what you like, but we don't agree. And I did look at the sources, although no doubt you can't believe that. How can anyone look at the sources and not agree with you, eh??? -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 18:52, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
I meant that it would lead to a more fruitful discussion if you addressed the specific sources rather than saying hey indicate I don't understand something that you do. JJL (talk) 19:04, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Since there are no sources that say the developing fetus is dead, there's not much to discuss. BTW, your stock sinks lower everytime you misrepresent what others editors say. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 19:17, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
A tweak that was already found wanting, and remains so. No one needs to convince you of jack. - RoyBoy 20:59, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't limit us that 5 years ago other people thought different things. JJL (talk) 01:02, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Reasonable, but misinformed.
  • Are you or I better suited to delineate what is truly "different" between now and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 years back? We didn't sit still for 5 years until you rolled in and picked a good time for a straw poll with some well-intentioned but misinformed and bold admins.
  • Does 5 years passing change this wisdom?
- RoyBoy 00:50, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree. In fact, I'd go less far: It's the 2006 version with a different, expanded set of notes buried in the fine print. The straw poll shows that 'death' is not preferred and shows much support for abortion 'viable' (edit). Let's use the straw poll for its intended purpose--to start a discussion from that point. JJL (talk) 00:52, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
But JJL, you did not do this, you launched in without either straw poll or discussion. The lede now stands in contradiction to what you want to discuss. Straw polls are not a good way to start debate, an RFC is the standard way. I'm sorry but throughout this it looks like you wanted to get a fast change, then force anyone who objects to that to follow the etiquet you failed to follow to restore the consensus version! JJL wrote: "straw poll...shows much support for abortion". A strong pro-choice feeling? Maybe it does. Are you saying this article should reflect the personal POVs of whichever group of editors is in the ascendency on the talk page? Could you tell me how that would result in a stable article? Clearly it would not. DMSBel (talk) 11:11, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I edited my comment as I had intended 'viable' there. I think this article should reflect the professional opinions of experts in biology and medicine. I think the case has been clearly made what that means. If you have an issue with WP:BRD, this may not be the best place to raise it. JJL (talk) 13:58, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

No one is saying that there is not death of cells. What is being said is that when terminations are pre viable there is not a death of a conscious human being. Just as when people transplant organs of a dead person in the West this is not considered murder as the person was not an alive human even though the cells are alive.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:18, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

So to conclude we would not say organ transplant results in death as we would consider death has already occurred. Abortion does not result in a death of a human as a human consciousness has not yet occurred. So stating that abortion causes death is somewhat misleading without clarification. Similarly when one aborts a dead fetus abortion does not cause death. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:21, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
We could say "resulting in death of human cells" but even that for abortion carried out on cells already dead would not be correct but would be clearer than simply stating death.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:26, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
"Every mammallian pregnancy at its beginning must have an offspring alive inside of a gravida. If the offspring ends up exiting the gravida alive, we have a birth. If anything happens such that the offspring does not exit the gravida alive and intact, we have an abortion." Please explain any disagreement with that summary (that I assert applies to every mammallian pregnancy). If your argument is that my assertion is wrong, then I assert that you have huge problems with basic biology. If your argument is that you agree with these facts, but you think they should be phrased in some way different than the 2006 consensus lede, then more discussion might be beneficial. (talk) 17:02, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
My disagreement is that this isn't big enough...and that "does not exit the gravida alive and intact" does not clearly imply death, if the embryo/fetus wasn't alive to begin with. Also, that the medical sources are in such unanimity on the matter. This is one reason 'destruction' is used by some sources. [unsigned comment left by JJL] 17:15, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
"Destruction" is used as a euphemism by those doctors who don't want to be candid, which is likely done both to avoid disturbing their own or their patient's mental state and/or to use language that does not invite legal scrutiny. While those may be good reasons for doctors facing those situations, wikipedia is not censored and should use candid accurate language rather than euphemism. (talk) 18:17, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
What's the source for saying that it "is used as a euphemism by those doctors who don't want to be candid, which is likely done both to avoid disturbing their own or their patient's mental state and/or to use language that does not invite legal scrutiny"? Without such a source, this is just your personal inference and can't be used to disregard the sourced defns. I know you feel this way, but I don't see anything to support your opinion as to why the professional refs. don't say it they way you personally would. JJL (talk) 19:04, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Given the mountains of objective evidence (from WP:MEDRS and other WP:RS) that a non-living fetus is properly called a dead fetus, argumentation to the contrary is tortured POV pushing: (talk) 12:54, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Google searches for phrases and legal opinions are not much against the carefully analyzed sources that have been shown to be among the most widely used by the medical community in training health care practitioners. JJL (talk) 15:24, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Regardless of anything you type, it is false to assert that it is partisan or POV to refer to the scientific and medical and legal fact of the death of a fetus as the death of the fetus. No matter how many times you explain what your POV is, the fact is that "death of the fetus" is a mainstream and well-understood way to talk about what happens in an abortion. Laymen use that phrase, doctors use that phrase, lawyers use that phrase, scientists use that phrase. But you don't like that phrase. You won't even acknowledge that it is a legitimate and mainstream way to describe abortion. And if you can't acknowledge that, then it is pointless to discuss the issue with you because you have entered the discussion with a closed mind. (talk) 15:33, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't believe that I've seen JJL refuse to use the word death in the body of the article, I know I sure have not. This discussion is only about the definition used in the lede, nothing more. Because Wikipedia has no expert editorial staff to decide what definition to use, we rely on the best of the best to provide that information and reference to that. Most of us are not physicians, let alone the best in the field of medicine. The only expertise that any Wikipedia expert can claim is to be an expert on Wikipedia policy. If an editor states he or she is an expert on anything but that, they still need to offer published reports that verify their statements. You will need to accept that because that is a fact. Gandydancer (talk) 16:06, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
It would be a reasonable section or subsection to have lower in the article--it's clear that views vary on the matter. JJL (talk) 16:36, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes I would have no problem using death lower in the article where it can be put in proper context and the different opinions bother cultural and social can be elaborated on. Having it without such context in the lead is WP:BIAS and WP:UNDUE. Especially since we do not have top quality sources supporting the position.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:59, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
It is the centrepiece of the whole controversy surrounding this particular procedure, hence it must not be glossed over in the intro.
The "pre-viability" claim however is (at best) nothing more than a misleading generalisation, taking what may hold true for some abortions (and even there, it is hardly fundamental to it) for all. The article is not called "abortion before viability" but simply abortion. Str1977 (talk) 07:36, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Is the "centrepiece" of the controversy around viable in that they feel that viable fetuses are being aborted or is it that they feel that people are being killed? Gandydancer (talk) 10:34, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

FAQ #1

Given the disappearance of the consensus for 'death' in the lede and the clear weight of opinion toward 'viable', this no longer seems appropriate as phrased regardless of what ultimately becomes of the lede. I'm editing it to simply say please don't change the lede without discussion. Actually, I'd be inclined to remove it altogether, but for now I'll just reword it. JJL (talk) 13:43, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

I've changed it to: "1. Should the first sentence/paragraph of the article be reworded? This is a contentious issue. Please see the archived discussions on the Talk page, and refrain from changing the lede without first determining that there is consensus to do so." I think this should work with any wording in the lede. JJL (talk) 13:47, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't see why a frequently asked question should not be addressed, so I am puzzled at you saying you'd be inclined to remove it altogether. Your unilateral actions are really becoming quite concerning. You are a clearly involved editor, I don't think it is good for you to be making alterations to the FAQ, given that you have not shown a lot of interest in the archived discussion. The basis of the FAQ is basically what has been asked frequently over the last five years. Changing the FAQ does not change what has been asked, it just risks making it unreflective of the discussion.DMSBel (talk) 09:12, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
The current version says essentially the same thing, but in a slightly more general way. Right now 'death' isn't even in the lede sentence so the FAQ entry wouldn't make sense as it was. I understand someone may revert it post-protection, but for now doesn't this accomplish the same thing in a way that reflects the current reality? JJL (talk) 15:25, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Run that by me again? The FAQ is for the purpose of addressing questions frequently asked on the talk page, and throughout archived discussion, basically from the time the page was started. It has nothing at all to do with the current wording of the article. You didn't know this?DMSBel (talk) 16:35, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I'll run it by you again. The old version of FAQ #1 read: "Should the first paragraph of the article be changed to remove/reword "death?"" Currently, that word doesn't appear in the first sentence or even the first paragraph. This makes it a very unlikely question as worded--that someone would be wondering if they should remove a word that isn't there. I'm betting you won't get that question right now. On top of that, a majority of those polled actually did favor removing it, so the response was also not in accord with the current situation. While the discussion isn't over, the broader wording makes more sense. It includes the old case in particular, should 'death' reappear. If you're concerned about the archives, perhaps you can suggest a FAQ entry worded "Should the first paragraph of previous versions of the article have been changed to remove/reword "death?"". JJL (talk) 17:19, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Ok, the wording of FAQ1 has been altered several times by involved editors. I think that is bad practice, whatever they are betting on. I know what I'd be betting on. Also you said earlier you asked someone to add up your straw - poll, can you point me to that please. DMSBel (talk) 17:59, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
It's in the "Tally" subsection. JJL (talk) 19:14, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
To be fair you did tot it up yourself, although you asked others later how they read it:
It's been over 48 hours. I make it 10 in opposition to 'death' and 6 in support of 'death'. Not all of those who oppose 'death' clearly support 'viable'. JJL (talk) 03:19, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
you'd have been wiser though to leave it for an uninvolved editor to close and tot up. There was an issue with the poll narrative too, and it changed in the middle of the poll. Not a very firm basis to conclude anything from is it, let alone assume either support nevermind consensus. DMSBel (talk) 03:02, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

After the straw poll

In my opinion, the results show that there is considerable interest in rephrasing the first sentence to remove 'death' from it. I suggest we leave the current 'viable' wording in place while we work to form a consensus on how to handle the lede (which may or may not involve the concept of viability when all is said and done). I also suggest we delete the FAQ #1 entry as it no longer reflects the current state of affairs. JJL (talk) 03:19, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Do you not see you are running your own poll, running you own tally and drawing your own conclusion! DMSBel (talk) 10:44, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
...and then I made some suggestions that we could discuss. What's the problem that you have with that? JJL (talk) 15:03, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

There was no consensus to alter the lede, nevertheless it was changed. Such editing is bad faith editing. You don't change the former consensus version without acheiving a new consensus version - especiually on a lede that has such a history of lengthy discussions and hard work to forge what had been the consensus version for over 5 years, with no new arguments having been made. (talk) 15:42, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

I didn't change it. I agree with the change and think there's good cause for making it, but it's inappropriate to take me to task for things I did not do. The length of the previous consensus is immaterial--and all the more so now that we see how it was defended (by stonewalling and name-calling until those with opposing views gave up in disgust and left). If you think no new arguments have been made then you're not really engaging with the posts here, esp. NW's new sources and the arguments that they represent mainstream medical thought. New arguments have been made, but perhaps they have not been heard. JJL (talk) 16:53, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I'd reiterate, from my perspective they need not be followed after being heard several times, as we are not a medical reference. - RoyBoy 08:13, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Agreed--but we are supposed to be accurate and un-original. The vast majority of the major references don't use 'death'. Isn't that a strong caution against us doing so? Surely the physicians writing these texts are aware that 'death' is a possible description here. It's conspicuous infrequency of appearance should make us leery of using it here. Viable is a simple term that we can link to a description of--and it's a simple issue, whereas death is a complex, many-faceted one. If death is to be discussed it should be philosophised on later in the article. JJL (talk) 14:39, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
That is clearly one of your best posts on this subject. Did you want me to clarify again why "conspicuous infrequency" has occurred, and how death is dead easy (if tumor growth can die, so can a uterine growth), viable in contrast is very complex. This is the essense of why I've found you impossible to deal with, but again, exceptionally well written post. Hope for you yet. (PS: no need to philosphize on whether an embryo is an organism) - RoyBoy 12:19, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Here's the thing: That's been clarified repeatedly, but always as OR and never in a sourced way. I have asked several times for sources that state that the medical community knows 'death' is the right description but avoids it for whatever reason(s). I understand that you think you understand why they do, but surely you see that you're asking us to trust your personal opinion over the relevant professional source material? JJL (talk) 15:22, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Well small confession here, I was pretty sure we had done our homework in 2006 on that, but couldn't figure out where (made me realize we needed to do better on summarizing the previous consensus). When GTBacchus came into the discussion I was relieved to hear we had in Archive 18 with the subject Uterine 2. But at the time I was low on sleep and ill. I gave up trying to understand that section (and archive) and hoped someone else would step in to clarify what it meant in a larger context, but it didn't happen so I decided to rely on aspects I did understand to maintain the consensus. If I thought it would turn this discussion I'd have brought it up again, but I'm still uncertain how to accurately interpret, let alone weigh Uterine 2 in relation to how abortion is defined today. I would say that if we misinterpreted "Uterine 2" that would be a basis for overturning the 2006 consensus. - RoyBoy 19:13, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Thanks; I see the relevance of the quoted material attributed to Dr. Tietze. I also understand some of the objections mentioned in the archive--that it's (apparently) a primary source and, more importantly, that while he calls for this it isn't clear that his (and others') advice was followed and is the cause of the defn. in use. It also refers to a a particular means of contraception (IUD) that prevents implantation, if I understand the context properly. JJL (talk) 01:20, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Compromise suggestion from DRN

One suggestion [4] from DRN is that we consider avoiding using either term in the lede sentence. I think part of the difficulty is that this article addresses both spontaneous and induced abortions despite a clear focus on the latter, but I gather there's little support for changing that. (Please speak up if I'm mistaken about this.) Is there a good wording that avoids either term but still says what's in the sources? JJL (talk) 16:22, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

I note that Miscarriage is where Spontaneous abortion points and that that page's lede sentence defines the two terms as being synonymous. The defn. used there is essentially the one proposed here, but without the specific term 'viable': "Miscarriage or spontaneous abortion is the spontaneous end of a pregnancy at a stage where the embryo or fetus is incapable of surviving independently, generally defined in humans at prior to 20 weeks of gestation.". Does this wording help address any of the concerns about the term 'viable'? I wouldn't object to seeing the Abortion page state the matter in a manner like this in the lede sentence. As suggested at DRN, it avoids both terms, and as it spells out what exactly it means it may address the concerns of those who find 'viable' too medical-sounding. For the exceptional cases we could refer the reader to Late termination of pregnancy (and see Late-term_abortion#Definition). JJL (talk) 16:22, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
As another note, WP editors on these other pages define abortion without recourse to using the term 'death'. I take this as evidence against the claim that due to WP's special nature we are somehow obligated to use it, and against the claim that the prior consensus was somehow ideal. It can be, and has been, done using a viability--based approach, though not necessarily using that specific term. I'm willing to compromise at not using 'viable' in the manner that editors at other WP Pages have done--including at the page that covers what some editors here consider the most problematic case for 'viable'. JJL (talk) 16:22, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I understand that its easy to have subsequent thoughts after having made a comment, and there is nothing wrong with adding those, but would you please not indent your own comments immediately following one another - it makes it look like you are replying to yourself. Indenting distinguishes between one editors comments and another's replies. Thanks DMSBel (talk) 17:28, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Looking at the DRN comment it in fact makes two suggestions: Rewrite first sentence to
a) Exclude either term
b) Use both terms. DMSBel (talk) 17:42, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
It seems that several suggestions have been offered by those that believe that it is not correct to keep death in the definition because almost none of the references use it. So far a group of editors have refused every suggestion. Would it be possible to open a section where they could offer suggestions that they would agree to? If it turns out that they will accept only the previous definition we need not go on discussing a compromise. Gandydancer (talk) 18:15, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes, as I said, this is one suggestion from one editor. It's not all he, or others, have said, but I thought it could be a fruitful avenue to try. Feel free to start a section on another approach. JJL (talk) 19:24, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that none of us really know why we are discussing this. Advocacy? OK - lets discuss advocacy in the article. DMSBel (talk) 19:04, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
You keep bringing this up but it isn't clear to me what it is about 'advocacy' you want to discuss, or even what kind of advocacy you mean. I think most of us know what and why we are discussing: The sources that clearly point to 'viable' being the preferred term and the near-absence of 'death' in quality sources. I'm at a loss as to how to make it clearer that that is the point at issue. JJL (talk) 19:24, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Upon your arrival on the scene one of your first edits mentioned that "death" is advocacy. Regardless of the countless WP:RS and other references that use the word "death" to define and describe abortion (including a major abortion clinic website that uses that word to discuss what happens to a fetus), your initial claim was that it is an advocacy word. Those wanting to remove the word from the lead initially (and continuously until very recently) based that change on their claimed desire to remove an advocacy word, and refused to acknolwedge that death/dead/die are accurate terms used by doctors/vets/biologists to describe what happens to a fetus when ceases to grow/develop (in fact, those editors were invited to acknolwedge that but would not). It is good to see that there is some movement to admit that the death of a fetus is part of every abortion. Once editors can acknowledge that this has been verified, we can then discuss how and where to state that important fact. And it is very important because without that death, the expulsion/removal of the fetus is considered a birth. It seems that negatively defining abortion as "removal of a fetus that does not result in its live birth" is unnecesarily wordy and complex when the affirmative "removal of a fetus caused by or resulting in its death" is simple, covers all possibilities, and is always accurate. (talk) 19:02, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
That is not what is being discussed. That is the rationale that you and some other editors are attempting to piece together. But advocacy is where you started us, and why I insist on asking you what is being advocated, by the consensus version (not the current version) of the lede's first sentence? DMSBel (talk) 23:24, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Gandydancer what you're saying sounds a lot like, "If you don't like duck, you're rather stuck!" Or perhaps "If you'd like duck, you're rather stuck!". I would have no objection to either viable or death in the first sentence medically nuanced and correctly phrased, if we were dealing with a simple medical article. Abortion however is not a straighforward, or solely medical topic, and resists being reduced to one. That said I still have hope that the issue can be resolved. As an editor who in the past has attempted to see the issue as others might view it, recall in the picture discussion you were able to recognise that the early stage embryo was seen by some people as a complete human being (I hope I got you right and that I am not putting words into your mouth) I wonder if you might consider the DRN suggestions: Use both terms, a possible way forward, or droping both terms, which I think leaves the definition rather vague, but your thoughts? DMSBel (talk) 19:16, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Well folks "be excellent to each other!" and take it easy. :-) DMSBel (talk) 19:20, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
DMSBel, I don't remember my words in the photo discussion, however, yes I may have well said that because that is what I believe. I have said in this discussion that if I were to have miscarried a child I would have grieved in much the same way that I would have for a full-term birth. It would not be as deep a grief, of course, but a lot of crying never the less. If I had miscarried a child at one time, the beautiful photo that was being used for this page would have brought the grief back in much the same way that a parent that loses a child of any age never gets completely over the loss. On the other hand, I have many friends who feel completely different. Some of them have had abortions and they have not sensed loss or grief at all. This does not mean that I am more intelligent, or moral, or loving, or anything else, it only means that we are different. It also does not mean that if one of my daughters had decided to have an abortion I would have discouraged her, in fact I would have strongly supported her if she decided to abort an unplanned pregnancy. I feel that all women should have the right to their own decisions about when to start a family, if ever, and the right to limit their family when they feel they hardly can afford and care for the children they already have. I hope that I have fully explained that I believe that it is possible, and in the case of abortion, of the utmost importance, to be able to see an issue from another's point of view.
You state that the definition for our article must not use a medical definition because it is actually broader than only the medical aspect. However this issue has come up in the past and NW furnished us with more references which are not of a medical nature and still the word death is absent. Your comments?
You have suggested a definition using neither death nor viable. Could you submit a possibility? Gandydancer (talk) 13:25, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I have not suggested a definition using neither death nor viable, but maybe you misunderstood me, or I failed to make myself clear. I have said dropping both terms would leave the definition vague, that to my mind is not good in an encyclopedia. "before it is viable" / "before the fetus is viable" is not an equivalent to "resulting in or caused by its death". However both presuppose the life of the embryo/fetus. Thats why I support a version that can incorporate both [viable] and [death], but not "before viability" or "before it is viable". DMSBel (talk) 17:14, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
No they do not both presuppose the life of the embryo/fetus. Some people believe that life does not begin till birth. You can not tell those people you are right and they are wrong just because God told you so. Maybe they have a different God that told them life begins at birth. Gandydancer (talk) 17:45, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
No scientist or physician believes that a fetus (including an embryo) developing in the womb is not alive. The issue you bring up needlessly (because no editor in favor of "death" has ever relied on it or brought it up) is whether the living fetus should be afforded personhood status (rights). When discussing the state of organisms and parasites and mammallian fetuses, the typical langauge used is alive/living or dead. Non-living things (whether classified as parasites or organisims) are not treated as patients. Yet in Western medicine, doctors are legally and ethically bound to treat the fetus as a patient unless the mother affirmatively declares that she wishes to abort the fetus, and even then the doctor must treat the fetus as a patient until the actual abortion procedure begins, and even then if the fetus ends up alive outside the womb because an induced abortion attempt has failed the doctor must treat the baby as a patient. The medical profession is not thereby conferring personhood on the fetus prior to birth, but rather the profession is simply recognizing that the fetus is alive and is capable of being treated as a patient while in the womb (and must be so treated until such time as the doctor takes affirmative action to end-the-life-of/cause-the-death-of the fetus). Many in the profession will defer to the mother's decision as to whether that life of the fetus will be artificially terminated. After ensuring that the fetus (having been re-classified as an unwanted parasite or organism) is dead, they will then remove it from the uterus (although some abortion procedures are designed so that the act of removal itself is so destructive that it causes the death of the fetus). This is all medicine and science and not at all dependent on any ideas about personhood or any religious ideas. If you review the entire dialogue for the past 3 weeks, not one person has mentioned or implied personhood (rights) or religion as a basis for the word "death". It has always been an appeal to medicine/science/law and the broader context of abortion as a part of the culture. (talk) 19:34, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Gandydancer: Nice WP:OR. But false. Viability means being able to survive if born prematurely, reaching viability requires growth, which requires life.DMSBel (talk) 19:59, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
If that's all the better you can do how can I even debate you? How can I attempt to start all over again from page 1 of this discussion. You just lead us round and round. I don't think you're doing it on purpose but that is exactly what you are doing. We have discussed again and again that everyone is well aware that cells, etc., are alive - they are "born", they grow, and they die. We are speaking of "personhood life" here, not the life of a cell or an organ. One does not say the baby's liver is alive or dead because it had or had not grown to a state of viability. If you still can not get that clear in your mind I do not see how you can be considered able to go on with this discussion. I can say that I for one am totally unable to continue to discuss this with you and from the looks of things pretty much everyone else has given up as well. Gandydancer (talk) 20:31, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Who says we are speaking about "personhood life"? You are imposing that POV onto the clinical and scientific and legal fact of death. Certainly the medical profession is quite clear that the fetus dies, and uses "death" to refer to both induced death and spontaneous death.
Your argument apparently is "death" implies personhood. But it does not. It states that in an abortion a living fetus (regardless of what status you afford to it) must die, otherwise the "termination of pregnancy" is always a live birth.
Death can mean many things. But to qualify death in the lede by noting "biological" would then highlight the POV that the fetus is not a person, just as some other qualifier might highlight the POV that the fetus is a person. Either qualifier would be wrong.
Clearly in the profession of medicine, the fetus is treated as a person if the mother does not indicate she wants to abort, and spontaneous abortions (of a wanted fetus) are often situations where the mother considered the death to be same as if the child had died after being born alive. So "biological death" is POV and improper.
Biology considers the cessation of life of any organism to be its death. When a biologist observes that an organism has ceased to be alive, this observation is typically called death. (talk) 21:03, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

That does not seem to be what this editor from the photo discussion said:

The British GMC policy does not address whether a fetus (or for that matter a sperm or blastocyst or zygote) is an internal organ or structure, so I don't think we should assume that the policy would be applicable here. Under British law, a 10-week fetus is equivalent to a tonsil in terms of legal status, which is another reason for us to hesitate before using the GMC policy to erase numerous prenatal images (including featured images) at Commons. In any event, the image in question is not simply a fetus, but rather a fetus internal to an amnion (the latter surely being an internal organ or structure).Ferrylodge (talk) 18:02, 26 June 2011 (UTC) Gandydancer (talk) 20:04, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Interesting. Is a Fetus alive Gandydancer? DMSBel (talk) 20:21, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry but this has been discussed again and again and I refuse to be led round and round in the same circle any longer. If you really did want my answer to that question all you'd have to do is read my previous posts. In fact if you really want to know what I think about any aspect of this discussion, please just read my previous posts because it's all there and I am not going to keep repeating it over and over. Gandydancer (talk) 22:26, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Whilst I appreciate that you do try to look at the issue from another angle at times, you also finished one of your comments: "OK, I think I've changed my mind...for now...". It's a little difficult to determine which way you are facing after reading that. Basically I most often see a pro-choice sentiment in your posts though they tend to go off on a tangent at times. Asking people to repeat things is something you have done quite frequently in the discussion, especially sources. From what I can gather you do indeed understand that an embryo / fetus is alive, or at least that life begins before birth. DMSBel (talk) 12:01, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Gandydancer, the issue is central here, and, as has been previously pointed out, you are one conflating life/death with personhood. That is why the argument is circular. As has been stated Who says we are speaking about "personhood life"? You are imposing that POV . If you think the fetus is not alive then find a reliable source that explicitly states the developing fetus is not alive. I've asked for such a source a number of times and none have been supplied. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 06:38, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
The Kushner ref. does that. What is it about that source that you find unreliable? JJL (talk) 14:09, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
No it doesn't. Try again. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 16:11, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I agree this has been previously discussed. This section was meant to discuss the compromise suggestion from DRN - why don't we all try a little harder to stay on topic. If you still have problems with other issues perhaps you should add your thoughts/requests in the appropriate section. Gandydancer (talk) 10:25, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
And I reject the suggestion, since the developing fetus is alive and can therefore die. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 10:29, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Just like a living toenail that is injured and dies, like living skin that dies, and like a living kidney that is ill/injured and dies. "Alive" and "dead" are common terms used to describe human tissue.
  • Of course typical terms used by the general population when referring to a human or animal fetus are "alive", "living" and "dead.
  • Certainly doctors refer to a fetus as alive (and treats the fetus as a patient) until a pregnant woman states that she wants an abortion, and if such a fetus is stillborn, they will refer to it as "dead".
  • Even people who are abortion lobbyists refer to the wanted fetuses among their family and friends as "alive" or "living" (and if there is a miscarriage as "dead").
  • Abortion in every single possible clinical situation is ALWAYS "the expulsion or removal of a dead fetus from the uterus".
  • Abortion does NOT always terminate a pregnancy (e.g. selective reduction).
  • Abortions are performed on at least tens of thousands of viable fetuses each year (many for sex selection in countries where male babies are desired).
  • There are billions of people who think that killing a viable fetus is murder, and hundreds of millions who think any abortion kills a person.
  • The article lede cannot be forced to couch the basic explanation of abortion using a lexicon that doctors performing abortions use when speaking to women seeking induced abortion. (talk) 00:22, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Removing death from the lede?

Before we go any further I think a few questions need to be asked:

  • 1. Those opposing "death" in the first sentence. Are you opposed to any mention of fetal death in the lede?
  • 2. If there is consensus that the first sentence needs changed, and "death" is removed from that sentence, but not from the lede, will you continue to push for its total removal from the lede? Remember the lede is not a definition but an introduction.
  • 3. How do you propose to differentiate your definition of abortion from delivery?

I see no way things can proceed without candid answers to the above questions. (talk) 09:14, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

I think we could proceed in the obvious way: refashioning the first sentence, possibly but by no means necessarily using the previously suggested 'viable' version, and then moving on to any other issues in the article. If by 'lede' we mean not the first sentence but the whole introduction prior to the TOC then while I think discussion of the complicated issue of life and death better occurs in the body of the article it doesn't follow that the word 'death' cannot appear in the introduction, especially if it's expanded upon later on (or, of course, in the uncontroversial sense of maternal death). At this point this probably wouldn't be my preference but without suggested wording it's hard to say. I don't see a risk that the medical defn. of abortion will be read as if it includes normal delivery. I gather that editors were very concerned about that possibility last time but the concern seems to be much less with the current group of editors. JJL (talk) 13:22, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
You are aware that editors were very concerned about this possibility last time, but a new set of editors does not remove that concern. You seem to think this operates on the basis that once a year we can reboot the discussion. It doesn't. Previous discussion is there for the benefit of all current editors, anything that was a serious concern to previous editors is still a serious concern.User:DMSBel (talk) 17:12, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
It`s not just normal delivery that is at issue. Consider PMID 20840264. It discusses outcomes for extremely low birth weight neonates, that are only "viable" in the context of a modern NICU with advanced interventions. Their births and subsequent deaths should not be conflated with abortions. Conversely, full-term deliveries of evidently viable pregnancies still sometimes result in unintended perinatal "death" (for want of a better term) by asphyxia. That first breath is enormously significant both in biology and in law. Our wording should not obfuscate. LeadSongDog come howl! 14:10, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
The first breath oxidizes chemicals which had kept the fetus sedated and anesthetized during the third term of pregnancy, allowing consciousness to arise for the first time. Some would consider that a significant event. My statement is based on findings by David Mellor and his team, "The importance of 'awareness' for understanding fetal pain." The most up to date consensus shows that the fetal brain is insufficiently developed to experience pain prior to week 24, and probably not before week 29. Since the fetal brain shows no coherent brainwaves at this point, it could be considered brain dead. Ermadog (talk) 05:14, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
No point in mentioning "death of the fetus" in the lede until the article has a section discussing what that means, and what the implications are. Is there controversy about the meaning of words like "life" and "death" in terms of pregnancy and its end? Are there people out there saying that the fetus isn't "alive" and that ending a pregnancy (via abortion) does not "kill" the fetus?
Is all this a way of pussy-footing around the controversy over whether (as "pro-lifers" call it), "Abortion is murder"?
I think we have the cart before the horse. As an engineer, I'd say we need to decide what has to go on the cart, build that cart, load it up - and then craft a concise description of the horse. --Uncle Ed (talk) 15:49, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
LeadSongDog, unless I am not understanding your point, I'm not seeing the problem. If for instance a woman would miscarry a 24 week old fetus and it showed any signs of life it may be placed in intensive neonatal care, in other words machines would give the premature neonate the support that till that time had been provided by the mother/placenta (and it could not survive without it). If the neonate subsequently died it would be termed a non-viable birth and be considered a miscarriage/abortion. If it survived it would be considered a live birth of a premature infant. If a clearly viable fetus suddenly dies, it is considered a stillbirth. Now I do see a little problem, perhaps: Is the neonate considered alive during the hours or days that it survives on life support? Well, I would think that clearly it is alive untill it dies. Or maybe it's not really so clear after all? If one wants to wander down that lane of thought all sorts of problems start to crop up just as in the problems surrounding life support for brain-dead people. Dead or alive? In my opinion, all the more reason to simply use a definition that clearly states what the majority of medical sources term as an abortion without getting into "excepts" and "howevers" and such. If it was good enough for them it should be good enough for us. Gandydancer (talk) 16:28, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
I too am all in favour of sticking to the definition used by the predominance of the best-quality current biomedical sources that we can find. But some here are clearly not, challenging the idea that wp:MEDRS should pertain and wishing to craft a Wikipedian definition. My previous comment was intended for and should have been addressed to that group. Sorry I neglected to make that explicit. LeadSongDog come howl! 17:04, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Suggested compromises

Well, my original goal in coming here was to settle a dispute, and I fear I have only exacerbated it. In the interests of trying to move on, here are a few compromise versions: [5], [6], [7]. Tell me what you guys think, or suggest your own. NW (Talk) 13:26, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm still inclined to go with the medical defn. and add a section on defns. and/or death later on in the article, as suggested here [8]. We don't need to fit the whole article into the lede. Giving a defn. and then undercutting it isn't what's done, typically, on WP--it's not standard style. I think progress is being made here--it would be good to have a discussion of how 'death' could be worked in later on in the article and see if we can get some kind of agreement on the medical defn. up top and tweaks, caveats, and varying opinions further down. I think that's a pretty standard approach. JJL (talk) 14:05, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
However, if there's agreement that this is the way to go then I certainly won't object. It would be nice to bring this to a conclusion. JJL (talk) 14:28, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Who, as in who is actually trying to fit the entire article into the lede? How are we undercutting our definition? You think progress is being made here? Progress towards consensus, doesn't come about by ignorance of what has already been debated. Consensus is determined across the whole of the discussion - thats the standard approach. Otherwise you are setting up the article to be based not on Reliable sources, factual accuracy, verifiability, and least of all on consensus. Not good. According to your understanding of consensus (basically who is here now) there can never be one, or it will always be in flux. I am not saying consensus can't change, but it doesn't remain in constant flux, especially when its been debated and re-established five years in a row. If every editor edited like that, I'd hate to be an Admin. Your saying in effect there can never be a firmly established consensus formed even for your own version. DMSBel (talk) 14:55, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to link to those NW. You might have company in that I cannot say for sure how well I have helped the discussion. Still we each hope if we are neutral something we say might help. I really don't have any issue with the earlier consensus version which was "...expulsion or removal of an embryo/fetus from the uterus, resulting in or caused by its death".
The reasons I have no issue with it are that
1. the first sentence is general in scope and not specific to induced abortion.
2. "death" is not a clear advocacy of personhood
3. "death" is neutral in comparison with "killing"
4. I understand the issue was debated from every angle, and I have enough confidence in those editors who have debated it to assume they looked at the options thoroughly.
5. It's been brought up in tit for tat fashion by OrangeMarlin.
If there is really something new to present in regard to this, could we have it? DMSBel (talk) 14:55, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Pretty much NW, at least your trying. I'd suggest using the following:

The medical definition of abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of a fetus or embryo from the uterus before it is viable.[note 1] This terminology does not encompass the abortion topic.[note 2]

Note 2 would contain:

The word abortion is derived from the Latin word aborior (ab (from, away from) + orior (rise, get up; appear), translated in English as to miscarry.

The medical definition for abortion is based on "viability" which is, by its nature, not always verifiable: "Loosely defined, the term viability is the fetus' ability to survive extrauterine life with or without life support. A number of landmark US Supreme Court decisions dealt with this question. In Webster v Reproductive Health Services (1989), the court upheld the state of Missouri's requirement for preabortion viability testing after 20 weeks' gestation. However, there are no reliable or medically acceptable tests for this prior to 28 weeks' gestation." Trupin, Suzanne. "Elective Abortion". Retrieved 26 June 2011.

Abortions do occur after 20 weeks gestation: "The second trimester of pregnancy (also called mid-trimester) is the period from 13 to 28 weeks of gestation. It is subdivided into an "early period" (between 13 and 20 weeks) and a "late period" (between 20 and 28 weeks). Worldwide, 10%–15% of all induced abortions occur during the second trimester." Cheng, L.. "Surgical versus medical methods for second-trimester induced abortion : RHL commentary". Retrieved 26 June 2011.

As an embryo / fetus is an organism, its demise/termination can be accurately described as death: "[T]he termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus". "Medical Dictionary". Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary. Merriam-Webster. Archived from the original on June 15, 2011. Retrieved June 15, 2011.

While this definition has the advantage of including late-term abortions and avoids the legal/biological ambiguity of viability, it is controversial as it may suggest the fetus is independently alive. (I am unsure if killed is necessary at the end)

And a rewritten "Etymology and definition", get your head examined with: "asserts that a fetus is a life that may be killed". Huh? I'll drink until I forget you wrote that drivel, you deserve that much. asserts = fail NW.

The word abortion is derived from the Latin word aborior -- ab (from, away from) + orior (rise, get up; appear) -- translated in English as to miscarry. The medical definition for abortion is based on "viability", however a few sources use the "death" of the fetus as the marker. While this definition has the advantage of including late-term abortions and avoids the legal/biological ambiguity of viability, it is controversial as it may suggest the fetus is independently alive... to those who cannot read the first sentence of the death article at Wikipedia! Which is significantly easier then to fully understand viable, that may or may not require a masters in bio-ethics."

My version isn't great either, and maybe this section is redundant and can be integrated into my note 2 refs? I've tried that right now in note 2 draft for kicks. - RoyBoy 03:24, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

I assume that in suggesting we add " to those who cannot read the first sentence of the death article at Wikipedia! Which is significantly easier then to fully understand viable, that may or may not require a masters in bio-ethics" to the article and saying to another editor "get your head examined" that you are attempting to be humorous. It isn't working, and it makes it quite plain to me that you have no interest in reaching a new consensus. If you're going to mock someone suggesting a compromise then you're certainly not working to help build a better article. JJL (talk) 04:20, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I'm not mocking NW in particular (sorry if it came off that way, I acknowledge his efforts above), but rather anyone insufficiently NPOV to acknowledge "death" isn't the end of the world (doesn't mean they need to agree death belongs in the first sentence), and as a consequence are making the lead less "better" (medical style and longer than necessary). I have transferred my intellectually valid humor below note 2. - RoyBoy 12:07, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that the word death has two meanings, and is beloved of the anti-abortion faction precisely because it enables the old bait-and-switch between the two (I won't call them pro-life as the implied suggestion that doctors are somehow anti-life is absurd). Viability is unambiguous in context, whereas death is emotive. I would prefer technical to emotive language in any discussion of a contentious topic like this. Just my £0.02 of course. The discussion below looks good-tempered enough. Guy (Help!) 21:30, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
What Guy said. Optionally, something along the lines of NW compromise 436847438...
Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of a fetus or embryo from the uterus that does not result in birth. or maybe birth.
Just my 0.032134 US$ - ArtifexMayhem (talk) 01:23, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
2006, that proposed "compromise" was the first time I ever agreed with pro-life at Wikipedia. It stands out in my mind as a result. At the time we concluded, pro-choice is so steadfast to contort away from death, they will define abortion with the opposite of what it is, for positive effect. Defining it by what its not, is grammatically awkward and dishonest. - RoyBoy 15:36, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Glad I'm not an awkward dishonest pro-choicer. - ArtifexMayhem (talk) 20:16, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Be glad if Wikipedia can avoid it. - RoyBoy 02:39, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
JzG! Long time guy! I'd love your £0.20 on the following. Technical language is not preferred, death is indeed emotive just as the abortion issue is, that's why it was chosen. Can you clarify the two meanings of death, I'd assert death is perfectly defined once. Most importantly for me, viability has way more than 2 meanings (legally, biologically, ethically) and it does not actually define abortion; rather it defines medical intent for abortion. Late-term abortions do not fit it. - RoyBoy 15:36, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I have waited a few days before commenting, in the hopes that you would strike out some of your nonsense above. I am disappointed that you chose not to do so. But moving on then.

death is indeed emotive just as the abortion issue is, that's why it was chosen—that's nonsensical. We shouldn't be basing the way we write articles on how passionate people are on the subject; if that were the case, The Holocaust would be far too blandly written a million times over. A user below suggested something along the lines of [9], which sidesteps the whole issue somewhat nicely I think. What would you think of that? NW (Talk) 03:20, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Is the Holocaust controversial? I don't get the analogy in relation to -- one accurate word -- in the lead (to present both sides with biological reality and include exceptions you concede exist). Perhaps someone should call someone else a Nazi to auto-lose the discussion. I'm disappointed too (Holocaust), you don't like anything above? - RoyBoy 02:39, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
As to the sidestep, inventive and great attempt, but Wikipedia isn't a dictionary. Looking here it is opening with generalization of the third definition, or the fifth definition here. Opening with a minor definition doesn't seem to work, I will put "medically defined" in the article for now. - RoyBoy 02:49, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

The Lede opening sentences in light of DRN suggestions

Following on from the Dispute Resolution Noticeboard (DRN) suggestion that we might try to find a version which either avoids both terms or uses both terms, ie death | viable/viability, I offer the following as a basis for further discussion.

The [subject] of abortion is one that ranges across many [fields], as such it is not limited to solely legal, medical, philosophical, bio-ethical, or theological considerations. Abortion is the cessation of embryonic or fetal maturation and the [the ending of nascent life], prior to natural ending of pregnancy at birth, and often before viability. It is caused by, results in or preceeds [embryonic/fetal death]. It includes expulsion or removal of the embryo/fetus from the [uterus] [womb]. It may be termed either spontaneous (miscarriage) when due to embryonic/fetal demise, or induced when an abortificient or other method is used. Medical reference works vary in their definitions [add footnote]. Debate about the beginnings of meaningful life, moral personhood is sometimes polarised...

[....] words/phrases that may need to be discussed further. Where two [….] are together, the terms/phrases are fairly synonymous and it is suggested that either one or other is used rather than both.

The above is only a suggestion for the first few sentences of the lede.

I believe this removes the problematic and inaccurate notion of abortion refering only to abortions done before viability, and leaves open the option of whether or not to include “death”, which has been considered for a long time a good compromise, and enjoyed consensus, and is less emotive than references to “kill” or “killing” and in this version is in the third sentence rather than the first. Most editors here have not objected to any mention of death. But only to where it carries an inference of advocacy. The issue of pro-choice/pro-life advocacy is not limited to the lede of course. But we should deal with one thing at a time here. And lets avoid [[10]]. I hope this helps. DMSBel (talk) 13:59, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

I'm open-minded but we'd need a much less wordy version, I think. This moves the "caused by or resulting in its death" language further down but the very language is still problematic. If 'death' is to be used in this context then its heavily laden meaning must be acknowledged (and then expanded on later in the article). Is this format based on something from another, similarly contentious article? Spontaneous abortion is "natural" but I think the " birth" is reasonably clear. I don't think the medical references vary very much: The truly medical ones are all but unanimous in using 'viability'. I certainly prefer the one-line definition and then later discussion of at-the-edge issues further down in the article approach. Readability is certainly one of our goals and to start by acknowledging (correctly) that it's a tough topic sort of dodges the requirement to tell the reader what we're talking about. I like the form in the currently protected version: It's short and to-the-point and in agreement with the medical community. To my mind it's not that the subject of abortion ranges over many fields--induced abortion is simply a medical procedure. But unlike most medical procedures, there is significant commentary on it from many fields. The Catholic Church doesn't condemn appendectomy but does condemn abortion. They're both medical procedures but one draws the attention of, and criticism from, the outside world. I mean that it isn't so much that the "subject of abortion ranges" as that "a wide range of academic disciplines study abortion" (which is also clearly inadequate phrasing). JJL (talk) 14:23, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
No its not based on any other article. It is an attempt to find a version that manages to address all the issues. It is not intended as a definition but as a suggestion of how the first few sentences of the lede could read while at the same time trying to be more precise and less vague. I am reading your post but not having a lot of success understanding you in places : The version I have suggested starts not by acknowledging its a tough topic but by acknowledging the scope of the topic is wide, so I don't know what you mean by dodge. Once the scope of the topic is acknowledged it moves right into what we are talking about, which is not induced abortion solely, or a procedure solely, that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the article, and is likely at the root of this dispute. Some editors are reading the start of the lede (incorrectly I believe) as though it was speaking about induced abortion specifically. Your alternative wording "a wide range of academic disciplines study abortion" I have no problem with and it could be included easily enough, its not all that inadequate. But is that your issue? "Theological" is not limited to Catholic theology, so that seems a little off on a tangent. I don't think we need to craft a lede to get back at conservatives or catholics, we just need to describe things as clearly, plainly, accurately and honestly as possible. DMSBel (talk) 14:45, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Question to JJL, is the mention of embryonic/fetal death problematic to you because of the very fact that it is mentioned at all, or because it is mentioned without further elucidation in the article? If the latter would you then be happy with a section specifically in which embryonic/fetal death is addressed in more detail?DMSBel (talk) 14:57, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
A mention of it in the lede would need to be qualified since it's nonstandard and open to wide interpretation. I'm thinking of something like "...which some view as a 'death' though others do not" or the like. That could be expanded on at great length later in the article. JJL (talk) 15:08, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
But is there a medical source in existence which states emphatically it does not view abortion as either caused by resulting in or preceeding fetal death? The article is not supposed to be mixture of WP:OR and medical sources. The silence on "death" in one source and the addressing of "death" in another does not make them contradictory. It is better to craft a description from several complementary sources which don't emphatically contradict each other. Synth is also a problem when sources are selected which studiously avoid something in exclusion to other reliable sources which don't. DMSBel (talk) 15:18, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I've given some above that point out that while one view is that life begins at conception, there are conflicting views as to when life begins (e.g., "brain birth"), and some that contest the very notion that an embryo is an organism that could be considered alive. JJL (talk) 18:31, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
That rejecting sources that mention "death" is a form of WP:SYNTH is made clear in this quote from an article in California Medicine: The Western Journal of Medicine
"Since the old ethic has not yet been fully displaced it has been necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent. The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra-uterine until death. The very considerable semantic gymnastics which are required to rationalize abortion as anything but taking a human life would be ludicrous if they were not often put forth under socially impeccable auspices. It is suggested that this schizophrenic sort of subterfuge is necessary because while a new ethic is being accepted the old one has not yet been rejected." [[11]]DMSBel (talk) 15:35, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think you have the journal name correct. That says in 1970 that older ideas were being supplanted by new ones. It's been over 40 years now so I wonder what the author would have to say in 2011? In any event, this goes precisely to my point--that the view of "death" is ill-defined. As this author puts it, new ideas are being accepted but old ones are still around. Isn't that exactly the sort of conflict that makes use of the term 'death' difficult absent any further context? JJL (talk) 18:31, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Sorry its been renamed, I corrected the title. It's now just Western Journal of Medicine (WJM)[[12]]DMSBel (talk) 20:49, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
So what further context should there be?DMSBel (talk) 20:29, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
By the way I am not saying that it is deliberate WP:SYNTH. But just that things seems to have resulted in WP:SYNTH in the current lede, rather unintentionally. DMSBel (talk) 15:54, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I just don't see how a quite literal transcription of the modal defn. used in the literature could possibly be considered synthesis. JJL (talk) 18:31, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Can you explain how the earlier consensus version of the first sentence would be synth, because your earlier suggestion that it seemed like SYNTH has thrown a few editors into confusion. Synth is the result of putting together a combination of sources to draw a conclusion that none of those sources explicitly draws. But in the sources we had footnoted, there was one (a basic medical dictionary) which explicitly defined abortion as:
the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus
therefore in the lede there was not any drawing of a conclusion not already stated in one of the sources cited. So no WP:SYNTH. So why change the lede? However in the current version a piece of information is omitted from the lede, that at least one source provides, and no other source denies. It also gives the impression abortions are only performed before viability, which is misleading. The problem was solved when the footnote was added to the earlier consensus version. DMSBel (talk) 20:29, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Why change the lede? Really, you're asking that? Look, you're not even being serious. I don't know which editors you think are confused or where you think I said the old version was synthesized, but at this point it's quite clear to me that you're just playing rhetorical games and not trying to reach a compromise of any sort. You opened up a section allegedly to look for a compromise when in fact you're just suggesting that we have to return to the old version because you still have that one favored source that agrees with your language. There's no point to this. JJL (talk) 21:57, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes I am asking that in regard to the first sentence, because I did not see any particular problem with the version we had as far as the first sentence was concerned. I had added a POV tag, which I explained in edit summaries and on the discussion page was in reference to other editors bringing up concerns with the terms theraputic and elective. OM threatened to open up this whole can of worms, in tit for tat fashion sometime earlier (I have the diff. of what he said), in response to the mere mention I made of it being better to hold an RFC on an image in the article at the time. You joined just after he tried this. I had added the POV tag to the lede but not with reference to the term "death". OM took advantage of that to open up the issue of the word "death" but that was not the reason the POV tag was on the lede at the time. You did claim a synthesis and I can quote the diff here. And I am taking this seriously.DMSBel (talk) 22:40, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
An earlier comment of yours to RoyBoy: Your claim is that the medical side is wrong. That's OR or at least synthesis until you have sources that criticize the medical defns. as mistaken, not just different. JJL (talk) 19:00, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
We are maybe misunderstanding each other. But there most emphatically was no synth in the earlier consensus version. One source supplements the others. Thats great is it not? We don't need to be agnostic. Rejecting a source for no good reason is POV. DMSBel (talk) 22:58, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
But then there is this also: "Much of what I see argued in favor of bringing in 'death' reads as WP:SYNTH or undue WP:WEIGHT to me."
JJL, if there is a problem with something it will fall within the boundaries of one or the other. And you will know which it is when there is a problem. Just casting around for violations because you like one version, and don't like another is not good. DMSBel (talk) 23:11, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Can you explain what you mean by modal definition. DMSBel (talk) 21:15, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Most frequently occurring, as in Modal score. JJL (talk) 21:51, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Ok, I would like us to understand each other as best as possible, but I'd prefer if we could invite a couple of other editors who have some linguistic background before we proceed further. Have you any objections? I am thinking of Ludwigs and Ed Poor.DMSBel (talk) 22:24, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

There is not reason to use a modal definition in the lede for abortion. The whole reason the lede has read as it does since 2005 is because the editors have consistently over time reached the consensus that other definitions were inadequate and inaccurate and thus should not be used in the lede. OM, JJL and the other johnny-come-latelys have approached the article as if they have information that has not been considered by editors over the years as the 2006 consensus has been re-affirmed again and again. That a few editors in June 2011 had a pissy-fit is not a reason to change the consensus when (a) no new information has been brought to the talk page and (b) the dozens and dozens and dozens of editors who have considered the lede over the years have not been asked what they think of upending this applecart because a few people have arrived thinking they are brilliant. (talk) 23:03, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

That's right! It's a well-established fact that if a decision has stood for 6 years any johnny-come-lately that thinks they know better than a decision that has stood the test of time (6 years) and been reaffirmed again and again and has no new information to add, should stand! This was true when the wemmon-folk wanted the right to vote and the nee-gras said they didn't like being slaves and it's still true today, by gawd. I also think we need to go back to kings and queens rather than this voting for different administrations every 4 years. Hog wash! Just a bunch of upstarts thinking they are brilliant and trying to upset the applecart. Balderdash! Gandydancer (talk) 00:14, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
The 2006 version is out. We're not talking about that any longer. Based on the new information and discussions, the best-supported version currently uses 'viable'. Discussion of just leaving the 2006 version alone for time immemorial has ended. You need to get up to speed. JJL (talk) 04:04, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
LOL, we most certainly are talking about it, we have been talking about it for several weeks. You started by talking about. And we are still talking about it, and quite right too. Seems we are all up to speed here except you JJL. You don't resolve things by saying "we are not talking about this anymore". You are not talking about it now maybe, but any resolution to this dispute cannot avoid talking about it. There is a bigger problem with your behaviour JJL than the version of the lede you are against.User:DMSBel (talk) 10:07, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
And the problem here is that JJL is damning with faint praise[[13]], nearly every suggestion. Once again the phrase "caused by or resulting in its death" was the compromise. I have no objections to moving it to the second or third sentence. But I will not support pro-choice advocacy by omission of basic factual information found in a easily available medical dictionary. JJL has argued that other sources are not incorrect, but different. I disagree that Merriam/Webster Medical Dictionary has to evaluated on the basis of what other sources do not say, esp. if those sources are simply "different", that it is impossible to do so. Each one of those sources confirms Merriam/Webster as far as they go. Leaving all agendas aside, "caused by or resulting in its death" meets basic verifiability requirements and has consensus. This information should therefore be mentioned in both the lede and with further elucidation in a section of the article.User:DMSBel (talk) 10:39, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
And I will not support pro-life advocacy by using the information found in only one of the multitude of references we offer. You need to fight your battle in the blogs, on the streets, in letters to newspapers, in petitions, and in any other way you choose, but you may not turn Wikipedia into an abortion battleground and expect to win. Gandydancer (talk) 12:36, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
This is one thing that's nice about using the language that the physicians have settled on--it's scientific and noncontroversial. We avoid being seen as pro- or anti- anything by simply using the best medical defn. available and not claiming that they are engaging in some grand conspiracy top keep the WP:TRUTH from us. JJL (talk) 17:10, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, caught up yet with where embyrology was fifty years ago?DMSBel (talk) 17:40, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
The original lede should have been better referenced, yes. That was a failing, but not an irremediable one. It is not grounds to completely change it to a far more contentious version. We just add a tag that more sources are needed when a statement is not well referenced. We are writing an encyclopedia article, not a dictionary definition. We can't find another compromise, because the earlier version was the compromise. When will you see that? Would you prefer "Abortion is the killing of unborn babies"? Do you see what I am getting at? Can you not see what a compromise the version you are complaining about was. It's no more good editorial practice to try to railroad through a version that lacks support, than to try and cement an earlier version in place. But that was not what editors were trying to do, they were trying to see if your proposal had been discussed and what the reasons were that it was not adopted before. DMSBel (talk) 23:24, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
This gentleman is correct and who could deny the sound logic here? Look at it this way: The former group compromised and said that abortion results in the death of an embryo or fetus when they could have said it is the killing of a an unborn baby. Perfect logic. Think perhaps of the Three Fifths Compromise and then some trouble-makers came along and decided 3/5 wasn't good enough. Happens all the time. Anyone should understand that 3/5 was a great compromise compared to making the darkies zero or one, since that was out of the question. Sound logic and worked perfectly till some upstarts upset the applecart. Really, who doesn't long for the days when logic ruled and the women-folk and the darkies knew their place, other than them, of course. Gandydancer (talk) 15:27, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Are we talking past each other or what JJL, I find you very difficult to understand at times. You undercut your own rationales, then move on to other ones, then forget what you said in the past. I don't know how to discuss this with you. DMSBel (talk) 00:08, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
I guess I missed where JJL forgot what he said in the past. Could you please point that out? Gandydancer (talk) 16:50, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Stop wasting editors time! DMSBel (talk) 17:34, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
I know exactly what the WJM article is talking about. You are turning this into a complicated mess, for what? I can understand someone who writes in broken english, even though their grammar is bad. I don't take the view that language or some terms are even half as "fuzzy" as you claim. DMSBel (talk) 00:15, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
What terms and language do you speak of here? Gandydancer (talk) 16:57, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Ask JJL, he made the claim! DMSBel (talk) 17:34, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
By the way: I know that a fetus is alive before viability. I don't need to wait till medical definitions catch up with what most people knew 50 years ago.DMSBel (talk) 00:21, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
What branch of science led you to that knowledge? Gandydancer (talk) 16:27, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Embryology.DMSBel (talk) 17:34, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Exactly. The language used in most med. refs. carefully avoids the philosophical issues associated with when life begins and just keeps itself to what's scientifically knowable. Going beyond that is not just leaving science, it's leaving what any group of people could hope to agree upon. Claiming to 'know' medical facts that the medical community does not claim to know is highly problematical here. JJL (talk) 17:10, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
No its not problematic. Conception, Fertilization are not philosophical issues! Or someone should tell doctors. Really!DMSBel (talk) 17:34, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
If we're turning to philosophy now, let's use sources from philosophy dictionaries. Let's start with the one in the article: ""A term that, in philosophy, theology, and social debates, often means the deliberate termination of pregnancy before the fetus is able to survive outside the uterus. However, participants in these debates sometimes use the term abortion simply to mean the termination of pregnancy before birth, regardless of whether the fetus is viable or not." "abortion." Dictionary of World Philosophy. London: Routledge, 2001."

But I forgot, sources don't matter; we don't have to wait until sources catch up to what we know is right. NW (Talk) 03:12, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

JJL doesn't want philosophical discussions in the lede. Not sure if the end of your post was meant to be irony ;-) but I agree with you which is why the Merriam/Webster definition cannot be ruled out. It provides information other sources don't and doesn't contradict other sources. Science does not move from knowledge back to ignorance, there might be a paradigm shift every few centuries, but that's based in genuinely new insights and discoveries. So far embryology still tells us fertilization and conception bring about an organism with a new genetic code, which manifests all of the following: Growth, Response to Stimuli, Organisation and Metabolism. (talk) 17:14, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Somebody keep an eye on these editors. And be nice to the IPs. Goodnighty :-)DMSBel (talk) 00:27, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Compromise #6

Compromise # 6

If we are going to introduce our subject with the words "Abortion is medically defined as", then we must provide a definition which includes viability, rather than death, because that reflects the consensus of evidence as to what the medical references actually state. I believe that point has been proven in the previous discussion. However, I also feel that we must include a qualifier along the lines suggested by NW in his 1st compromise suggestion: "This definition is not universally accepted".

Royboy has objected that the medical definition is too narrow, and have suggested we use a more general discussion. I have also suggested a more general discussion, one that allows us to drop the fate of the fetus from the lede entirely. PoorEd has suggested that fetal death can be discussed in another section, and I support that idea.

Additionally, DRN has suggested a compromise which avoids both "viability" and "death", which are the terms under contention in the lede.

In my post "Abortion is not just a medical term," I provided a number of current definitions that are general in nature and can be applied here. the ones I favour most are:

3. Cessation of normal growth, especially of an organ or other body part, prior to full development or maturation. -American Heritage dictionary

3. arrest of development (as of a part or process) resulting in imperfection; -Merriam-Websters

My compromise, which incorporates some of NW's suggestions, is:

"The term "abortion" generally applies to any process which fails to come to fruition, especially biological processes. The term can be applied to any pregnancy which does not result in live birth, either in humans or in other animals. Several medical definitions are detailed below.[note 1] Abortion can occur spontaneously due to complications during pregnancy, or can be induced, in humans and in other species. In the context of human pregnancies, an induced abortion may be referred to as either therapeutic or elective. The term abortion most commonly refers to the induced abortion of a human pregnancy; spontaneous abortions are usually termed miscarriages.Ermadog (talk) 06:54, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Lets do one thing at a time. Forget about Therapeutic / Elective for now. I'd have prefered you to participate in the writing for the enemy exercise. Gandydancer seems most neutral, and NW has acknowledged his involvement, though he has helped the discussion also. At the moment I'd rather Gandydancer facilitated the discussion of a compromise. Your also skipping over the mention of destruction when it appears [[14]] Not facing these issues doesn't help the discussion. I can accept a compromise that includes "often before viability" in the definintion, but the absense of a mention of fetal death, I cannot agree to. I won't change my mind on that. I am open to discussing position and precise phrasing of death but not total removal of information that meets WP:VERIFIABILITY, and WP:RS. User:DMSBel (talk) 08:49, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I am not discussing Therapeutic / Elective. I included that material because it is already in the lede and I am proposing no changes to that material. I am also not proposing that I facilitate the compromise. I offered a draft compromise for discussion, based on the expressed interest in a lede that offers a more general discussion of abortion as its introduction to the topic. The question here is: how general should we make it? As for you claim that I am "skipping over" the fate of the fetus, I have twice suggested that the fate of the fetus could be discussed elsewhere in the article. I have endorsed PoorEd's suggestion that the topic deserves its own section. I don't "write for the enemy", as I consider that a polarizing excercise. I would prefer to see a more general discussion of the meanings under dispute here, each in its own section. I fail to see how a discussion can progress when there is unclarity in basic terms.Ermadog (talk) 21:34, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
'Death' is already out and 'viable' is already in. It isn't much of a compromise you're suggesting. The medical sources remain clear on the matter--viability is the key issue. JJL (talk) 21:52, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
But the defn. is universally accepted as a medical defn., so I think we can't say it's medical and then say "This definition is not universally accepted" without pointing out that it's non-medical sources that might differ. I'm not sure how to word that. This is the problem with trying to fit every possible nuance into the first sentence (or two) of the article. JJL (talk) 16:16, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure that you have established that it is universally accepted. However, you have established that a consensus exists. My general discussion avoids the problem of including every nuance in the lede.Ermadog (talk) 21:34, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
The acceptance if so nearly universal that it's difficult to avoid this wording. I do agree a clear consensus exists for the 'viable' version. JJL (talk) 21:52, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Your statement is false because you ignore the medical definitions from various sources including Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, which is the 6th most popular medical book at
  • Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary on MedlinePlus - MedlinePlus, the National Library of Medicine's consumer health web site, has expanded to include an online version of Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary. "We know that including a dictionary will be very helpful for consumers," says Eve-Marie Lacroix, Chief of the Public Services Division. "Consumers don't always know how to spell medical words, or they come to MedlinePlus with a phrase their healthcare provider has written on a piece of paper and want to know what it means. We received feedback from many users telling us that they'd like to have a dictionary added to our collection of online health information." Nearly 2 million unique visitors access MedlinePlus each month; they view over 15 million content pages. "We're delighted to begin this relationship with MedlinePlus and the National Library of Medicine," said John M. Morse, President and Publisher of Merriam-Webster Inc. "Merriam-Webster's Medical Desk Dictionary introduced a new concept in medical dictionaries, and we welcome the opportunity to introduce one of our finest reference products to a broader audience." The Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary contains definitions for 60,000 words and phrases used by health- care professionals. Designed to be easy to read, it offers the right spellings of medical terms, a pronunciation guide, and biographies of individuals who have given their names to the language of medicine. (talk) 17:03, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
We've established that the sources used by the medical community use 'viable'. Amazon is a measure of popularity, not reliability. JJL (talk) 21:52, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
No, we have not established any such thing. If you wish to be on record claiming the definitions used by the most trusted dictionaries in the US are not worthy of significant weight, then you are not even trying to act in good faith. Death is a fact of every abortion (and this has been verified by countless RS). You cannot produce any RS that states that death is NOT a fact of every abortion. You have the burden of proof. (talk) 22:39, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Per Wikipedia:Verifiability#Reliable_sources, "Where available, academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources, such as in history, medicine, and science.". Per Wikipedia:RS#Some_types_of_sources, "Articles should rely on secondary sources whenever possible." The textbooks trump dictionaries (tertiary sources). JJL (talk) 04:29, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

A living dog fetus dies as part of every spontaneus canine abortion

The key distinction between (a) the stillbirth or miscarriage of a dog fetus, and (b) the live birth of the dog fetus , is the death (at any point prior to emergence from the uterus) of the dog fetus. If the fetus emerges alive, we have the birth of a puppy. If the fetus emerges dead, we have a spontaneous abortion. The naked (unvarnished) description of abortion (as a biological, medical, veterinary issue) is about objective facts and has nothing to do with personhood (personhood is treated as a subjective aspect of abortion). The only argument for death in the lead has been science/reality: if you don't have death, you don't have abortion. This is no small fact. The naked truth objective facts about a human fetus is that a human fetus is by definition a human offspring that doctors MUST treat as a patient unless and until the mother asks for an abortion and the abortion procedure begins. Up until the moment the abortion procedure starts, the doctor MUST treat the fetus as a patient. And obstetricians refer to a fetus as alive unless a woman asks the doctor to rid her of the fetus. Obstetricians also refer to the stillborn or miscarried fetus as dead when the mother wanted the child to live. By all thorough and objective factual accounts, if the fetus exits the womb dead - and ONLY IF the fetus exits the womb dead - then it is AWLAYS an abortion. If the fetus exits the womb alive, it is ALWAYS a live birth (though some abortion providers do sometimes redefine abortion to include the infanticide of those infants who are accidentally born alive during a botched induced abortion). There is plenty of WP:RS to confirm that the fetus dies as part of every abortion. That some sources are not thorough and gloss over this very important and controversial fact is no reason for WP to do the same. In fact, WP principles militate against such daintiness and censorship. By the way: fetus (as correclty used here) is a broad term that includes the embryo at its earliest stage. (talk) 14:20, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Other pregnancy end-cases exist, such as when the pregnant female dies, or when the foetus is resorbed, never exiting the womb. Do we not consider these to be abortions? LeadSongDog come howl! 16:11, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
The child can fail to be born alive because of problems at delivery. Some continue to search for a mathematical defn. that precisely marks every case as either clearly falling within or without the defn. of the term but such is not appropriate in many biological circumstances. Lots of disorders are diagnosed by certain symptoms interfering with one's life--clearly a subjective matter. It isn't as simple as some would like it to be. JJL (talk) 16:22, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Sorry could you clarify what you mean by "...falling within or without the definition of the term". Which term are you refering to?DMSBel (talk) 19:53, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
'Abortion'. JJL (talk) 21:52, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
JJL, the 2006 consensus lede sentence applies to every single abortion (incoluding the unusual permutations of abortion). Some editors object to that definition not because it is inaccurate, but because these editors think it violates NPOV. The unmet challenge for those editors is to provide some convincing evidence of the NPOV violation and to come up with an equally clear and concise definition that applies to all abortions and is NPOV. So far, this has not been done. (talk) 20:06, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I think it's simply inaccurate. The weight of solid medical evidence is that that is indeed the case. JJL (talk) 21:52, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
In both absorption and the death of a gravida, the fetus stops living (dies). They would seem to be forms of spontaneous abortion in which the fetus dies. What is your point? The point that I make (and that the CDC verifies below) is that an abortion - whther spontaneous or induced - always involves the death of a fetus. I don't see how these medical facts can be labled as advocacy of any non-objective information. The objective facts of what happens are neutral. Leaving out a basic fact is not neutral. (talk) 16:54, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
You seem to feel you've discovered something that the mainstream medical community has missed. JJL (talk) 21:52, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
I've been doing a little more research to see how common the term "intra-uterine fetal death" and related terms appear in medical literature, and to see how best a compromise can be reached without advocacy:
Intra-uterine Fetal Death:
Different classification systems for the cause of intra-uterine fetal death (IUFD) are used internationally. About two thirds of these deaths are reported as unexplained and placental causes are often not addressed.[[15]]
Intrauterine fetal death is sadly a common occurrence and one which all labour ward personnel should be trained to manage[[16]]
Fetal Death:
The cause of fetal death can often be determined through gross and histopathologic examination of the fetus and placenta. Determining the cause of death is important because sooner or later parents will want to know "Why did this happen?" and "Will it happen again?" Answers to these questions are often impossible without information gained from pathologic examination. [[17]]
This is all I have had time to come up with at the moment. But if other editors can find more references it would help to see how medical literature uses the term death in a neutral way.DMSBel (talk) 20:30, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Coding Cause of Fetal Death Under ICD-10

The Centers for Disease Control is a non-partisan medical agency of the US Government. The CDC issues procedures for doctors to use when recording health events (used by the CDC for statistical purposes). The 2011 PROCEDURES FOR CODING CAUSE OF FETAL DEATH UNDER ICD-10 candidly distinguishes between the term of art "fetal death" (which applies only to spontaneous death of the fetus) and an induced abortion (which applies only when a fetus dies during an induced termination). The Procedures note that the induced expulsion or extraction of a spontaneously dead fetus should not be classified as an induced abortion, and clarifies that an induced abortion cannot occur on an "already-dead fetus" because an induced termination is not "one in which fetal death has already occurred" (this is another way of stating that the fetus must be alive at the beginnning of an induced abortion). For this reason, the Procedures note that the term of art "fetal death" does not include a fetus that "died" during an induced abortion.

The CDC Procedures highlight two things pertinent to our discussions:

  • A) "Fetal death" is the term of art used whenever the fetus dies spontaneously in utero (even if doctors later induce its removal).
  • B) "Induced" abortion is an abortion performed on a not already-dead fetus.

Item "A" above verifies that every spontaneous abortion involves the death of a fetus.

Item "B" above verifies that an induced abortion is always performed on a fetus that is not already-dead.

A good encylcopedia editor will state this clearly and concisely.

Here are relevant excerpts (all bold emphasis has been added) from the CDC Procedures:

  • Abortions: All induced terminations of pregnancy should be excluded from the fetal death file except when the fetus was known to be dead before the procedure and when the induction was performed for the sole purpose of removing an already-dead fetus. The term "induced termination of pregnancy" implies an induced termination of a pregnancy in progress, not one in which fetal death has already occurred.
  • As NCHS and the States are trying to get the best count of fetal deaths that occurred, NCHS and the States do want to include those induced terminations where the fetus died prior to the induction procedure, and exclude those where the fetus died during the induction procedure. (talk) 16:46, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

That is all good source material, though perhaps not wp:WORLDWIDE. I'd conclude it will be helpful for the body of the article. But the above discussion is about the lede, which necessarily must be succinct, not comprehensive. LeadSongDog come howl! 19:12, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
"...resulting in or caused by its death" is pretty succinct, would you not agree? Succinctness is fine if its not at the expensive of information. I think we can work on a relevant part of the article, once the consensus version is restored. That would give the context currently lacking. DMSBel (talk) 19:21, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Marvelously compact. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 19:28, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
It would be a wonderful gesture of good faith if JJL or Gandy or Leadsong or NW would restore the most recent consensus lede sentence (the 2006 version). (talk) 20:23, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
The 'viable' version has consensus. JJL (talk) 21:55, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Certainly I agree. I have refrained from making any changes myself.DMSBel (talk) 20:31, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 20:37, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
2006 consensus for the right wing anti-abortion lobby that is prevalent on Wikipedia, sure. But not a real consensus. NPOV lede (what a fucked up word, since this isn't a newspaper) should stay. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 21:26, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Because you say so? DMSBel (talk) 21:43, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Evidently only because OM says so, since he has provided no argument at all, just an assumption of bad faith. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 22:37, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Oh by the way OrangeMarlin thanks for looking back in on what you opened up, what did you call it a few months ago "a shitty can of works"? Correct me if I am wrong.DMSBel (talk) 21:48, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Oh and its not the "sh##ty" I am bothered about, its your threatened tit-for-tat which violates WP:BATTLEGROUND on a contentious article made in responce to the mere mention of an RFC. User:DMSBel|DMSBel]] (talk) 21:53, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
That sounds like OM. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 22:37, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Please comment on edits, not on editors. See wp:TPG#YES. LeadSongDog come howl! 13:12, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
When someone claims there is a "right wing anti-abortion lobby that is prevalent on Wikipedia" which justifies their non-consensual edits, that merits commenting on here. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 17:12, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Can you link to a policy or a guideline to support that assertion? LeadSongDog come howl! 19:32, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
WP:CONSENSUS & WP:AGF, for starters. -- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 20:33, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Can you point out a part of those which says this is the place for comment? I don't see it.LeadSongDog come howl! 02:48, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Discussion of contradiction of source by the phrase "either therapeutic or elective"

Source used in article states most providers consider all abortions elective.

The ability to define therapeutic abortion performed for maternal indications is difficult because of the subjective nature of decisions made about potential morbidity and mortality in pregnant women.(bold mine)[[18]]

Most providers consider all terminations to be elective, or a voluntary decision made by the patient herself.(bold mine) [[19]] DMSBel (talk) 12:02, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

"Therapeutic abortion" is a medical term meaning abortion done for medical reasons and "elective abortion" a medical term meaning abortion done for personal or social reasons. Of course all abortions are "elective" in the sense of being consented to because short of China women can't be forced into it. But the same can be said for any other procedure or treatment. The distinction is based on medical necessity not patient consent. Facelifts are still called "elective surgery" even though people dying of cancer have to consent to chemotherapy they need to save their lives. Friend of the Facts (talk) 17:28, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

On finding compromise

Reminders to all: wp:NOT#BATTLEGROUND. Edits that actively seek to build a text upon which all (or nearly all) can agree are the ones we are looking for. Given that such text will never represent either polar position we should wp:EDITFORTHEENEMY. Consider the smallest change to the other's preferred text which would make it (just barely) acceptable in your own view. Concede the largest change to your preferred text which will leave it (just barely) acceptable in your own view. Acknowledge others' efforts to find compromise, but do not expect others to acknowledge yours. That is how this can ultimately be resolved. LeadSongDog come howl! 15:32, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the suggestion - I think it's a good one. For starters, I will attempt to present the situation from the other's point of view.
Six years ago the community worked long and hard to come to an agreement for the definition for abortion. Every possible issue was presented, including all the issues in the present debate, and we eventually decided on a definition that we could agree upon. This definition has been questioned several times, however the 2006 definition has held firm, further giving weight to my belief that we came to the correct decision.
It is presently being argued that the word death should not be used in the definition. Initially it was argued that it was not appropriate because since it has never been proven that the fetus is alive as a separate person from the mother, it could never be proven that the fetus could experience death. It was argued that an embryo/fetus is alive only in the same sense that a human organ is alive, but a fetus did not have "personhood" any more than an organ does. However, while on the surface this may sound like a good argument, in fact a human fetus has the potential for personhood while an organ does not. There has been an attempt to complicate this issue when as a matter of fact it is quite simple, as any basic biology text will tell you: The life of any organism begins at the moment it is conceived.
The discussion then moved to a period of discussion regarding the references to be used for the definition. Interestingly, none of the major medical texts use the word death. However, it has been pointed out that our article about abortion should and does discuss not only the strictly medical aspects of abortion, it looks at it from a much broader viewpoint, and for this reason a medical definition is not appropriate for the article. Many other references were then offered, again the word death was not used in the definition, however given the well-known fact that there is a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding this term it would not be surprising that published sources would choose to stay out of it. One may view the rightness or wrongness of their decision as they wish, however as editors of Wikipedia it is our duty to not let controversial issues sway our decisions in the same way that a commercial publisher may be swayed.
OK, this was done rather quickly and I'm sure I could improve it, but all in all is this about right? I encourage any help to improve this short overview. Gandydancer (talk) 17:11, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
To be sure I am understood, please do not rewrite my overview with your suggestions - just offer changes that you would like to see and I will rewrite it if "the others" agree with you. Thanks! Gandydancer (talk) 18:13, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Interestingly, no major embryology text claims that an actual human being is present in the zygote. This is because scientists are able to discern a difference between actual and potential. It also reflects the fact that "human being" is not a scientific term, but a philosophic one, not subject to objective verification. As long as we have majority support for embryonic stem cell research, we have evidence that the general public does not consider the conceptus to be a human being from conception. As long as we have voters in the US consistently rejecting attempts to define the fetus as a person from conception, we have evidence that the general public does not consider the fetus to be a person from the "moment" of conception. As long as we have majorities refusing to support outright bans on abortion, we have evidence that the general public does not believe that the fetus is a human being from conception.
The use of the term "death" in this context does indeed bias the discussion, is an example of the use of weasel words, and comprises a question begging fallacy. It should not be used in the lede sentence.Ermadog (talk) 22:50, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Ermadog, would you mind not bringing up that just right in the middle of this. Stem cell research takes the whole thing off on a tangent, I don't mind discussing it at some later time, but Gandydancer is trying very admirably to help each side see the others viewpoint. I take it you mean you are refering to the lede first sentence though, not the lede. In any case it is not a weasel word, whether it is advocacy can be discussed. If anything leaving it out would be tergiversation [[20]]. With it in it represents at the least a verifiable assertion, that is not a weasel word at all.DMSBel (talk) 00:27, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Since DSMBel is no longer reading my posts, I will address this to anyone else who had difficulty figuring out what my point about stem cell research was. It was a point about public opinion of the status of the fetus, specifically, whether the fetus should be considered a person from the point of conception. This is a valid point to make when discussing whether the term "death" in the context of fetal destruction, biases the discussion in favour of treating the fetus as a person from the point of conception. I will continue to make it. And, yes, "lede" and "lead" in this context are interchangeable.Ermadog (talk) 02:44, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
In the first place, why don't you just quit the childish comments re DSMBel. Secondly, he is correct, this information has no place here. It is hard enough to stay on track in this discussion without stem cell research news added just because it's "interesting". Gandydancer (talk) 16:55, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I think the stem cell comments are on point regarding whether or not we view the fetus as a living human organism, but there's no need to resort to arguments when the sources align themselves so nearly uniformly in favor of 'viable'. JJL (talk) 14:24, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Well I don't deny that it was on point, etc., but did s/he have to introduce the idea here? There seems to be plenty of other places where that information would be appreciated but it seems to me that this was the last place s/he'd want to place it if s/he'd actually read the (damn thing) to understand what this section was all about. Gandydancer (talk) 15:22, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
(Since we are not face-to-face it does not come across that I am not at all so PO'd as it sounds! :-) Gandy Gandydancer (talk) 15:34, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, GandyDancer, yes it sounds to me a pretty good summing up of things from I joined at least, and concurs with archived discussion to the best of my knowledge. I'd say anyone arguing something "can never be proven" isn't talking scientifically at all. In any case absolute, final, unassailable proof the fetus is alive is not required WP:TRUTH. Verifiability is, and we have that in spades[[21]]. The only thing left to discuss is how to introduce it. DMSBel (talk) 18:24, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
In any case following your example of writing for the enemy. I'd say that the removal of "caused by or resulting in its death" was done with good intentions, and the lede may need to be re-worked to introduce that in a better way. JJLs edit was not exactly greeted with great enthusiasm. His interest in removing pro-choice and pro-life advocacy is commendable.DMSBel (talk) 18:34, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks DMSBel, there was an edit conflict as I was adding this:
I see I forgot the issue about whether or not the straw poll was done properly. I will look through the discussion or perhaps one of the other editors on this side of the argument could suggest that addition to my/our overview? My goal is to write an overview that "the others" find fully and fairly expresses their point of view. Gandydancer (talk) 18:38, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
By the way I come at this with a moderate pro-life viewpoint, but I also accept women have to make a choice, I prefer that to be an informed choice.DMSBel (talk) 18:42, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Hmm, I hadn't anticipated a history of this discussion discussion, but I suppose it might be useful. Thank you both for a good start. Would someone from the "for death" supporters care to make the reciprocal explanation of the history from the "for viability" perspective? LeadSongDog come howl! 18:52, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I was thinking that perhaps it may be best to do one at a time? I strongly feel that one at a time would go a long ways to keep the discussion on track, something that has to this time been extremely difficult. Gandydancer (talk) 19:09, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Fine by me, wp:NODEADLINE and all.LeadSongDog come howl! 19:18, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Ok, I had something to add regarding that, but I agree one thing at a time works best, we aint all multitasking :-), I'll save it for now.DMSBel (talk) 19:24, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
By the way I have been through a period of philosophical skepticism in the past, and have had to mentally "re-tool". This debate has kind of brought back bad memories, but I still am just on the verge of sanity :-). DMSBel (talk) 19:39, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I have thought about how to include the poll controversy from the other's point of view and I am having a little trouble. In truth, while I have been careful to read most of the discussion, I have for the most part ignored that controversy because I felt it was just so much sour grapes. JJL, could you or anyone else present an account coming from "the others" POV? On the other hand, if only DMSBel and I are interested in approaching our problem from this point of view I will abandon my efforts here and work on other ideas that the group feels to be more productive. Gandydancer (talk) 20:49, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure I can actually do it from another's point of view, but let me say this: We had discussed the possibility of a straw poll earlier and had seemed to agree that it might be of value but also that it wouldn't define consensus and that consensus isn't as simple as 'majority rules'. I posted a straw poll and voted; RoyBoy refactored it and commented; others voted, and I tweaked my comments after the refactoring. A deadline for voting hadn't been specified as I didn't think it was that formal. When it seemed to me that voting had petered out I posted a tally; two other editors posted that they found a different number of votes and a different conclusion as to which viewpoint had achieved more support (Michael C. Price and believe the later was relying on the former's tally but am not certain); I listed by name whom I had counted against each side and invited to explain how he reached his tally. (I had invited others to post their tallies when mine was questioned.) The other editors did not explain how they had reached their conclusions, and no one else provided a tally. After this a couple more votes were cast, if memory serves. The tally showed, in my opinion, a clear majority in favor of removing 'death' (I had it at 10-6 initially while Michael C. Price reported it as 10-8 in favor of retaining 'death'. Two votes after the tally gave 11-7 against 'death' as I read the results.) Some people voted twice--in favor of one and in opposition to the other--but I did not find it hard to gauge the support/opposition for 'death'. It was clear that not all those who opposed 'death' supported 'viable', however. I didn't consider this consensus but did consider it to mark the end of the previous consensus. Some editors accused me of bias and of phrasing the poll in a non-neutral way. When the tone of the conversation did not improve, another editor made the change to 'viable'. JJL (talk) 22:03, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
(EDIT CONFLICT AND I WIL INSERT MY POST) JJL if you justify your POV in this section the other side will only respond with their POV. I think I may have asked the impossible of you at this point. I have asked "the others" to make a clear statement re their problems re the poll in another section and perhaps we may go from there. The idea for this section is to show that we are listening to the other's viewpoint and really do understand how they see the situation. It has not been long enough for all of the "others" to respond in this section and one editor (and I commend him for his efforts) with "the others" POV has responded with a couple of his concerns which are not yet addressed. Perhaps the poll needs more discussion outside of this section to be certain that all opinions have been expressed and then we may come here and attempt to show that we do understand their POV? On the other hand, this may all well be a nutty idea on my part... I do know that it is an extremely useful tool in some situations. I will say again, if other editors do not respond I will not continue with this effort. Gandydancer (talk) 23:03, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I understand the assumed POV of JJL's camp; they like abortion and don't like abortion's association with "death" in the lede - all the trawling for (irrelevant) quotes, denying the life of the fetus etc etc is just a painful demonstration of post-hoc cognitive dissonance. How do I know this? Because I'm pro-abortion myself, but I believe in honesty, plain talking etc etc.-- cheers, Michael C. Price talk 21:02, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Yes I agree with JJLs comments regarding the straw poll. I could only remember that a narrative change had occured and was not sure at what point, but I think JJL is right that it was fairly early - There was a change from voting for "death" to voting for the "current version" which at that time if I recall correctly included the phrase "caused, by or resulting in its death". I had no problem with that. The methodology in tallying the poll though caused me concern because I knew JJL had a fairly strong view on the matter. Basically one could count it a few ways. For instance -
the number in favour of "death" and the number in favour of "viable"
or the number against "death" and the number in favour of "viable", (biased towards "viable")
or the number in favor of "death" and the number against "viable" (biased toward "death")
You'd get different results each way!
I don't particularly like polls on these controversial issues, because they tend not to convince anyone. And we are not voting on two equivalents. It needs to be done by a completely neutral editor, and there needs to be agreement by all on who does it, how long its for etc., otherwise it just polarises the debate and positions become more entrenched. DMSBel (talk) 22:36, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Editor 71 has made some suggestions on my talk page. I'll copy them here: 1)something about the behavior of several editors who changed the lede without respecting the FAQ (and also changed the FAQ) and 2) the fact that not one death editor has argued anything about personhood and instead has relied upon science and medicine and 3) the most popular English-langauge medical dictionary includes death in the definition (it is the top medical dictionary at Amazon and the online dictionary used by the NIH's MEDline.

OK, how about this for 3):

But while it has been argued that the overwhelming number of medical texts do not use the word death, it should also be noted that the top-selling medical dictionary used by non-medical professionals does use the word death in the definition.

I don't understand what you mean in 2). Actually I don't understand 1) either but that is because my understanding of FAQ is very poor. I will try to learn more... As for the previously discussed supposed poll problems, so far I am completely unable to write anything because as I reread that section, it seems to me that the complaints only came after the "score" was tallied. If someone had a problem in the set-up, which was admittedly poor (though it seems it was set up by Royboy?), they should have made their complaints known rather than just go ahead and vote. I also can not see how the wording changes altered the total and I believe that is completely out of line to question JJL's integrity. I may have to conclude that I am unable to speak for "the other" in that case. Gandydancer (talk) 17:59, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Reading my post, I want to make it perfectly clear I am not suggesting that Royboy set up a crappy poll so he must be to blame, blah, blah, blah. I'm not even sure he set it up. We were all doing the best we could at the time and no one is to be blamed. Gandydancer (talk) 18:22, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Tto clarify, JJL I think setup the crappy poll, I tried to assist (with headers); but I didn't do much better... then someone else removed my headers. PS: A straw poll has little place on Wikipedia, let alone controversial topics. - RoyBoy 01:45, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Gandy, The problems with the poll question (as it was posed) were noted almost immediately: "Question is not posed neutrally by JJL and voting area presents options in reverse order compared to JJL's question narrative that precedes it." [at 11:25, 23 June 2011 (UTC)].
Regarding suggestion 1: the "death" editors rightly note that the "war" is the result of rude behavior by editors who changed the long-standing 2006 consensus lede without first acheiving consensus for the change, ignored the FAQ that cautioned editors not to do so, and ignored the special "general sanctions" on the abortion article. It is difficult to see good faith in that behavior. The article has been frozen on a non-consensus version due to rude behavior by these editors.
Regarding suggestion 2: There is a recurring claim that those who want "death" in the lede are advocates against abortion. But not one editor has argued that death should be used "because its killing a baby", etc. Instead, such editors have been saying "regardless of what you think about personhood, a growing offspring always dies and it is censorship to avoid stating such a basic bio/med/vet fact out of political correctness." You do cover this a little, but I think it is hugely important that the argument for "death" has NEVER been about policy advocacy. (talk) 18:53, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
The FAQ#1 has been ping-ponged several times, and like ping-pong I can hardly keep track of it! I'd say going for the FAQ close after an article change, without very good reason is very bad practice. It should be representative of questions asked in the discussion from the start, without the answer giving the impression nothing can never be changed. An answer may need to be in several parts. It should however give a clear answer if things have been discussed. I think more than most things the FAQ requires neutrality. It should state if a consensus has been repeatedly debated. It should be not be used to attempt to erase from memory what has been asked! Phrasing the questions to reflect a current state of the article might be unwise. I wonder if this can be surrmounted in some way?DMSBel (talk) 21:28, 5 July 2011 (UTC) DMSBel (talk) 21:18, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

I understand that at least one "pro-death" editor understands the NPOV implications of the use of the term "death" in discussing the fate of the conceptus in abortion. Uncle Ed explained it to DMSBel on his talk page/ I take "Yes, re implications" to mean that DSMBel does understand how "death" can bias the discussion:

When a contributor wants an idea removed from an article, it's often because of the implications of that idea:
Abortion causes the death of the fetus
The fetus is human
Causing the death of a human is "homicide"
Homicide is sometimes a crime
Therefore, abortion is sometimes a crime
This conclusion is opposed by those (pro-choice?) who assert that elective abortion is rarely or never a crime (or that it should be legal).
Does the implication thing help? --Uncle Ed (talk) 18:18, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes re implications, but nascent is more nuanced than that: beginning to develope or come into existence is a closer definition. 13 DMSBel (talk) 18:42, 1 July 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ermadog (talkcontribs)
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