Abortion Absolutism: How Some Leaders Are Adopting Extreme Interpretations of the Right to Abortion

Below is my column in USA Today on the strikingly absolutist language being used by Democratic leaders in defining the right to abortion after the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Yet, when pressed, these same politicians have been declining to address the implications of leaving the decision entirely to the woman at all stages of a pregnancy. Addressing the scope of this right is key to defining and supporting this right in constitutional law. Many Americans are open to protecting the right to choose, particularly in the first trimester. However, many politicians are pushing an unlimited view of the right that raises both constitutional and political questions — an approach that far exceeds what the current Roe case law supports. Conversely, Republicans are dealing with their own extreme responses to the pending decision in both the Senate and the states.

Here is the column:

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, like other Democrats, recently framed the right to abortion in absolutist terms.

Adams and others have argued that the decision to abort must be left entirely to the woman, without limitations. If adopted into law, that would mean a 9-month-old could be aborted at will.

It’s an extreme position, but it’s one echoed by other Democratic politicians such as Tim Ryan, who’s running for the U.S. Senate in Ohio.

A late-term abortion without medical justification is thankfully unlikely. However, embracing an absolute right to abortion is legally significant in how a politician interprets the Constitution. Under this approach, a woman could abort a full-term, “viable” baby shortly before going into labor. It would seem to support what President Joe Biden recently described as the right “to abort a child.”

Of course, women will make these highly personal decisions based on a myriad of issues, including consultation with physicians. However, in the end, if it is based solely on the decision of the woman, it is the definition of abortion on demand during the full course of a pregnancy.

If you do accept limitations, the question becomes what those limits should be and who gets to decide such questions.

Notably, after calling advocates for restricting abortions “extremists,” Adams was asked at an abortion rights rally if he believed that there should be any limitations on abortion. He answered: “No, I do not.” And he added: “I think women should have the right to choose their bodies. Men should not have that right to choose how a woman should treat their body.”

Yet, a majority of Americans support limits on abortion after 15 weeks. (The United States is one of only 12 among the world’s 198 countries that allow abortions for any reason after 20 weeks.)

Polls show that most Americans reject extreme or absolute positions on either side of the abortion issue. Polls also show that 65% of Americans would make most abortions illegal in the second trimester, and 80% would make most abortions illegal in the third trimester.

The effort to get politicians to address the limits of our rights is hardly new or unreasonable. It is the same question journalists often ask conservatives in demanding to know where they would draw the line on gun rights under the Second Amendment.

An absolutist position on abortion raises not just constitutional but political difficulties. Take Tim Ryan’s position. In Ohio, polls indicate that the public is split 48% to 47% between those who believe abortion should be entirely legal or largely illegal.

Ryan’s answer, therefore, alarmed political and media figures worried about his effort to secure the Senate seat for Democrats.

To paraphrase Hamlet, Ryan’s defenders seemed to “protest too much.” National Public Radio accused Republicans of misrepresenting Ryan’s remarks, made during an interview on Fox News’ Special Report. (For full disclosure, I am a Fox contributor).

However, Ryan answered a predictable, straightforward question on the issue without hesitation. He, like Adams, denounced “any limits on abortion.”

Special Report host Bret Baier followed up with a question about limits on abortion, and Ryan replied , “Look, you’ve got to leave it up to the woman…”

Baier responded, “So, no is the answer?”

Ryan then said, “You and I sitting here can’t account for all of the different scenarios that a woman, dealing with all the complexities of a pregnancy are going through. How can you and I figure that out?”

This was not an ambush interview and the questions should have been expected. It is one of the key issues in politics today. If we are going to articulate a right in either opinions or legislation, we need to “figure that out.”

Judges and politicians have spent decades debating such restrictions. The scope of the right goes to its constitutional foundations. Is this an area where the individual and government share interests? If so, how are those rival interests balanced?

While briefly acknowledging that Ryan may have messed up in his answer, NPR senior politics editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro criticized efforts to seek clarity as really an attempt to “mislead” voters.

“Ryan could have been clearer about what restrictions he might specifically support, but he was largely reiterating Roe’s tenets about the health of the mother being paramount,” Montanaro said.

That is not true. Ryan stated that this is a matter that needs to be left entirely to the woman — a position expressly rejected in both the Roe and Casey decisions.

Montanaro further excused Ryan’s answer by saying that he did not appear “comfortable — with two men on television talking about the subject — laying out what those might be.”

Ryan is running for the U.S Senate, which is considering the codification of Roe. He did not appear uncomfortable in declaring what sounded like an absolute right to abortion. Moreover, we must decide this question collectively as a nation. It is not left to any particular gender to discuss or decide.

What was most interesting in the NPR story and other coverage is that, while crying foul when challenged over absolute statements on abortion, Democrats do not seem eager to bring clarity to their positions.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy, for example, recently pressed now former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on the president’s evolving views of abortion. Biden was once a staunch opponent of legalized abortion while in the Senate.

Doocy asked: “Does he support any limits on abortion right now?” Psaki would not answer the repeated question beyond saying that “the president has spoken — has talked about his position many times. He supports the right of a woman to make choices about her own body with her doctor.”

The White House routinely restates the position of the president on policy and legal issues. Why would it be reluctant to clearly answer this question on his current stance, particularly in light of the news from the court?

It would seem an easy task to say that the president does support limits on abortion but believes that the right should rest largely with the woman.

There was nothing wrong in a reporter asking if the president believes that the right to abortion extends “until the moment of birth.”  That should not be difficult to answer if the president’s position is clear.

This is not a political game of “gotcha.” Whether you allow limits (and what those limits may be) goes to a person’s underlying view of the constitutional right. The refusal to discuss the outer edges of this right reduces the debate to mere soundbites.

If a politician truly believes that the matter should be left entirely to the woman throughout the course of her pregnancy, he or she is going far beyond anything that the Supreme Court has maintained in prior case law.

Politicians would like to continue to rally supporters with absolutist statements while refusing to address the implications of those statements. However, if we are going to resolve the debate of the right to abortion, we need to first understand what our leaders mean in declaring their support for the right of abortion.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors. Follow him on Twitter: @JonathanTurley

89 thoughts on “Abortion Absolutism: How Some Leaders Are Adopting Extreme Interpretations of the Right to Abortion”

  1. The issue of abortion is a scientific and moral issue. For those who have yelled trust the science for 2 years, listen to what science and embryologists say. The child in the womb is a human from the moment of conception. There is a unique person from fertilization. Do we justify killing children by saying it is up to the women. A good example is Susan Smith, she buckled her two children, who were dependent on her for support in their car seats and killed them, why is that a tragedy, but 63 million babies killed since 1973 a right. Someone needs to explain why size, development, environment and age are a factor in killing babies. A person has two choices abstinence or marriage in the case of pregnancy. The CDC admits that pregnancy through rape and incest are very rare, they show that maternal mortality is something that is caused by lifestyle. We live in an advanced society, with medical and scientific advancements, to kill children out of inconvenience is immoral.

  2. What do jews, muslims, hindus, buddhists and shintoists have to say about this matter?
    Oh, even the pastafarians, I guess.

    I invoke freedom of religion!

  3. Jeff: Do you live in a guarded-gate Malibu enclave or a comparable quarters? You Dems want to take the guns, but yet you want them uphoilding your private safety. But us flyovers you are willing to confiscate the guns and then what will you Dems do? Enforce your censorships, force the people to go along with any and all of your proclamations? Yep that would be the case. That is the reason that forefathers advised that when the Gov’t is abusing its powers and the people, then stand up for your rights. That is same reason Japanese did not attempt to invade the West Coast in WWII. If you give up your guns , you abilities are abdicated. America is on the brink of another univil War. Your gun free zones do not work. Eg.: See Chicago, Baltimore, Phelidelphia, NY, etc where it is NOT Working. Just about every major city in USA has a Democrat Black Mayor and Black Chief-of-Police. USA had eight years of black Pres, Black AGs’, and now Black cities administrations, yet Dems say US is systimically racists. Yet in those and other cities, more blacks are killed by blacks in gun free zones, and how many blacks are aborted daily? Schumer will not bring the gun bill to a vote,in the Sernate because he knows that is a losing proposition, also, the House, and and most of the States general assembilies leaders know the same. Which Dem was it that said, “never let a crisis or catastrophy go to waste”.

  4. It is almost certain that in Dobbs the SC will uphold the Mississippi law, making abortion unlawful in Mississippi after 15 weeks.

    The only real question is whether a majority denies the existence of a fundamental right to choose an abortion under the constitution or two or more affirm such a fundamental right but conclude that 15 weeks is sufficient time under the constitution to exercise it. That depends on whether Roberts can persuade one of the other five that the latter solution is a workable constitutional line.

    Either way, politicians will then have to be clear about their stances on what the state legislatures or Congress should do in this area. There is a huge variance in views from one state to another. The best result would be to leave it up to the states, perhaps with Congress passing a law to prevent a state’s laws from punishing those who leave that state, or those who aid them, from taking advantage of abortion rights that are available in other states but not in that one.

    It is not clear which party will benefit from the politics of this. I would think that, in many states, those who take extreme positions on one side or the other will be hurt. If that is the case, restoring this matter to the realm of politics could be beneficial.

    1. The problem with the issue of abortion is ignorance. Women believe they are carrying a baby the moment they learn they are pregnant. The baby moves, kicks, and upon having an ultrasound, the parents see clearly what they created: life. Women who seek abortions have no desire to have ultrasounds because they know what they will see.

      Pro-aborts lie. They purposely obfuscate. They do not use the biological / scientific / medical term of life. Doing so would concede the argument, which is why in public discourse they use the term “person”. They are quick to commandeer the discussions because allowing the medical science perspective to enter the dialogue kills their argument. Thus they do not want the public to decide this issue. They want to be in control while using “controlling” verbiage “my body my choice, hands off my body”, etc. They will never allow discussions on the purely scientific level like as follows:

      A sperm is a gamete / germ cell, just like an egg. A germ cell only has 23 chromosomes, it does not undergo cell division, it lacks cytoplasmic organelles, it does not possess biochemical metabolic process that define and sustain life. When a sperm and egg unite, fertilization results, and life begins in the form of a somatic cell. Our bodies possess 30 trillion cells, all somatic cells. Germ cells are found only in reproductive organs. All other tissues have somatic cells. Each somatic cell has 46 homologous chromosomes, undergoes cell division, has cytoplasmic organelles and possesses biochemical metabolic processes that define and sustain life. When glycolysis, krebs cycle / tricyclic acid cycle, electron transport chain cycle, etc take place, they generate ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is the basic fuel of life. When a person dies, they become rigor mortis because their cells no longer produce ATP. Lack of ATP causes stiffness or rigor mortis. ATP = life.

      A sperm and egg unite to initiate life. Ask pro-aborts whether they agree with terminating life, and they will prefer to contort their faces into bizarre forms than swallow the bitter truth that they hate pregnancy. Pregnancy means sacrifice, being selfless, giving up 9 months of your life for the sake of another life. Abortion is about selfishness, as the pro-aborts commenting here make it clear with every keystroke.

      Argue with science, the public comes to comprehend and the pro-aborts lose.

      TL;DR: Educate Americans about the science of life, using scientific descriptions, and this national argument becomes history.

      The following ultrasound shows the baby moving alive and well at 18 weeks. Read the comments on the following youtube video that has had 2.25 million views in only 3 years. Science does that! Pro-aborts dont want pregnant women to have ultrasounds because they know the women will have their eyes opened.

      1. Estovir,

        “They do not use the biological / scientific / medical term of life. Doing so would concede the argument, which is why in public discourse they use the term “person”.”

        Don’t be silly.

        Of course an embryo is alive (unless it dies, which is common). But alive =/= person, and “person” has legal significance. For example, in beating-heart organ donation after brain death, the body is still alive (though soon to be killed by removing the organs). However, the person is legally dead, as brain death is one of the legal definitions of a person dying, even if the heart is still beating.

        Persons — both biological persons and corporate persons — have legal rights. Embryos do not have legal rights, as they aren’t persons. Biological persons must be counted in the census (unless they’re Indians who aren’t taxed), but embryos aren’t counted, because they aren’t persons.

        “They are quick to commandeer the discussions because allowing the medical science perspective to enter the dialogue kills their argument.”

        That’s total bullsh1t. I’m happy to have medical science enter into the discussion. In fact, I sometimes cite medical research in my own comments.

        If you’d like to discuss the actual scientific complexity of views on when “life” begins, here’s a good overview from a developmental biology text: https://web.archive.org/web/20030511191256/http://www.devbio.com/printer.php?ch=21&id=162
        I invite you to discuss it with me (but based on your prior behavior, I doubt you’ll agree to discuss it).

        1. “Of course an embryo is alive”

          What is that embryo? Is it a pig? A bird? A human?

          It’s human even if you don’t accept that fact.

  5. Women have the right of privacy and dominion over their own bodies.

    Zygotes, embryos, fetuses, babies and adults, all of whom are human beings of various ages, have the right of privacy and dominion over their own bodies.

    The act of existing, persisting and developing constitutes a statement by the zygote, embryo, fetus, baby and adult of its desire to live and to continue to develop as a human being, from zygote to fully mature adult, for an average of 78.8 years.

  6. There is no right to abortion in the Constitution.

    No author or abortion advocate cites the Constitution for a legal basis.

    No right to abortion is enumerated in the Constitution or implied by the 9th Amendment.

    Congress and State legislatures may determine the legality of abortion.

    Congress has not passed abortion law.

    States have and will.

  7. A zygote is formed after 24 hours of fertilization.

    A zygote is a very, very young human being.

    If a zygote is not killed, or aborted, it will develop, in nine months, into a human baby which will develop further for ~ 78.8 years.

    A human being develops from a zygote, embryo, fetus and then baby.

    In every stage, it is a human being, homin or man.

    Man in Latin is homin.

    To kill a human being of any age is homi – cide.

    Abortion is homicide.

    Fertilization can be defined as the union of two haploid gametes, the spermatozoa and the oocyte, hereto referred to as egg, to restore the diploid state, form a zygote through the process of egg activation, and commence a series of mitotic divisions that results in cell differentiation and embryo development.

    – Encyclopedia of Reproduction (Second Edition), 2018

    Fertilization is a complicated multistep molecular process where two highly methylated and specified haploid gametes, spermatozoon and oocyte, are coming together forming a male and a female pronucleus, respectively, and culminating in the fusion of the two pronuclei giving rise to the formation of the zygote.

    – Science Direct


    “Zygote: This cell results from the union of an oocyte and a sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo). The expression fertilized ovum refers to a secondary oocyte that is impregnated by a sperm; when fertilization is complete, the oocyte becomes a zygote.”

    “In sum, a mature human sperm and a mature human oocyte are products of gametogenesis�each has only 23 chromosomes. They each have only half of the required number of chromosomes for a human being. They cannot singly develop further into human beings. They produce only “gamete” proteins and enzymes. They do not direct their own growth and development. And they are not individuals, i.e., members of the human species. They are only parts�each one a part of a human being. On the other hand, a human being is the immediate product of fertilization. As such he/she is a single-cell embryonic zygote, an organism with 46 chromosomes, the number required of a member of the human species. This human being immediately produces specifically human proteins and enzymes, directs his/her own further growth and development as human, and is a new, genetically unique, newly existing, live human individual.”

    – Dianne N. Irving, M.A., Ph.D., Princeton.edu

    1. “If a zygote is not killed, or aborted, it will develop, in nine months, into a human baby…”

      Actually, about 1/2 of zygotes will die of natural causes before implanting, and another 1/3 or so miscarry.

      1. There are three ways to die, accidents, natural causes, or being killed. That is what happens whether 100 seconds old or 100 years old. We can accept natural causes and accidents. Should we accept being killed?

  8. Six weeks for common states of baby and granny. That said, there is no mystery in sex and conception, a woman and man have four choices: abstention, prevention, adoption (i.e. shared responsibility), and compassion (i.e. personal responsibility), and an equal right to self-defense through reconciliation. The Constitution, aside from the Twilight Amendment and Pro-Choice ethical religion, does not exercise liberal license to indulge diversity [dogma]: racism, sexism, ageism, etc. The wicked solution (e.g. planned parenthood, planned parent/hood) is neither a good nor exclusive choice.

  9. “A late-term abortion without medical justification is thankfully unlikely. ” Says who? I would bet more late-term abortions happen WITHOUT medical justification than with it. You know, Planned Parenthood is into selling intact baby parts so the president of that organization can buy a Lamborghini or whatever. Evil and vile of course, but ‘who cares’ seems to be the mantra of people with no conscience.

    1. When it comes to pregnancy, “late term” means after 40 weeks. I’m unaware of any legal abortions occurring at that point.

      You presumably mean something different, but neither you nor Turley specify what you actually mean.

  10. Turley leaves out another group that has absolutist views regarding a woman’s right to choose, Libertarians. That would include Sen. Rand Paul. He should be supporting the woman’s absolute right to an abortion. His libertarian philosophy demands it. Here’s the platform of his party,

    “ In his 1982 book, “The Ethics of Liberty,” libertarian economist Murray Rothbard wrote that “the proper groundwork for analysis of abortion is in every man’s absolute right of self-ownership. This implies immediately that every woman has the absolute right to her own body, that she has absolute dominion over her body and everything in it. This includes the fetus.”

    Turley is somewhat more of a libertarian than a “democrat”. Obviously he’s an absolutist when it comes to free speech, but like Rand Paul, he’s also a hypocrite.

    Personal Liberty and freedom from government interference is the defining ethos of what libertarians are all about. Yet the most prominent libertarian in government, Sen. Rand Paul is dead silent on the government assault on women’s liberties and freedoms in regard to their right to an abortion.

    Ayn Rand herself was adamant about a woman’s right to an abortion. She stated,

    “ An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).” That fetus has rights is vicious nonsense.

    1. Oh wow. Rand Paul is a Republican , with a libertarian bent…my senator thank you and much loved in KY, again thank you. So you just put egg on your face with your connect the dots so it must be true childish gooberness BS . So pretty much after that anything else you may have to say is biased papp and not worthy of a read let alone further response.

      1. Rand Paul considers himself a libertarian conservative.

        “ Paul identifies as both a “constitutional conservative”[3][4] and a “libertarian conservative.”[4]


        Essentially he’s a cafeteria libertarian. He registered Republican because it’s more convenient than being a straight libertarian.

        He is a big fan of Ayn Rand.

        Rand Paul is all about personal Liberty and freedom, except when it comes to women.

        1. I consider myself a Libertarian and am not for killing life. You do not have the right to dictate the life of another human life. What could be more libertarian than that?

          1. You cannot demand that someone even donate blood to save your life, so why are you demanding that a woman donate the use of her body for 9th months — something that has a lot more health impacts than just giving blood — to save the embryo’s life?

            Yours is not a libertarian stance.

            1. She might be able to do to her body what she wants, but killing and independent life is not part of the deal.

              1. So if she had it removed without killing it, and it then died because it wasn’t yet viable, you’d find that more acceptable?

                1. I would say, that would be a circumstance where you had an argument, not a good one, but something.

    2. RE: “”””Ayn Rand herself was adamant about a woman’s right to an abortion.””” Ayn Rand had an opinion of no greater or lesser weight than anyone elses. Quoting her, ESPECIALLY her, does not prove a point.. She, in her own right, can be a subject of endless debate.. Tiresome!!.

    3. “The Ethics of Liberty,” libertarian economist Murray Rothbard wrote
      Pure libertarian starts as a failed system of govt.

    4. Svelaz: While Ayn Randy is a conservative icon, she is in no way a conservative religious one. So, why would many religious and perhaps cultural conservatives care about her view on abortion, or what type of geraniums she likes for that matter?

    5. oh wow. So no on cane have conflicting view points. Do you support abortion rights and oppose capital punishment? Resolve that. Oh right, one isn’t alive. FWIW, I oppose abortion and capital punishment

  11. I wonder what the state of the nation would be today if the mothers of leftist politicians would have embraced abortion aggressively?

    1. I was born before Roe, so it wasn’t a legal choice for my mom. Would be fine with me if that’s what she had chosen when she was pregnant with me. But it should have been her choice to make either way.

      And if conservative women are anti-abortion, then they’re not the ones having abortions, so you’re already getting your wish.

      1. Hey ATS being you brought up your mother based on what you said she must be a conservative? Must be a lovely lady?

        1. I did not say that only conservatives choose to bring pregnancies to term. You’ve either misinterpreted what I said or are choosing to misrepresent it.

          She was a lovely woman but died ~15 years ago. She was strongly pro-choice and donated to Planned Parenthood, as she believed that it was a decision each woman needed to make for themselves.

      2. Are you for real ?…you opine as though you wanted her to snuff you out then . No wonder fellas like you stay anonymous.

        1. I’ve lived since I was a kid with treatment-resistant major depression. It would have been fine with me not to have been born, and fine if I drop dead tonight. I do not wish to live as long as possible. (No, I will not kill myself, as that would hurt my family and friends more than a natural death.)

          1. ATS ” I’ve lived since I was a kid with treatment-resistant major depression. It would have been fine with me not to have been born, and fine if I drop dead tonight”.

            You must be fun at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

            It’s old fashioned but electro-shock therapy does often control depression for awhile. You could bring your own setup to avoid being a bummer on holidays. Put a drumstick in your mouth before flipping switch.

  12. Most recent demographic data puts 40% of the number of abortions performed in the USA squarely within the black community. Adams is either dumb or numb to those realities and certainly not a responsible advocate for that group in this matter.. What ever it might be in his life experience that has forged his opinion, it is mindless. As a young resident, I received my ambulatory anesthesia training on the OB-Gyn service of a major inner city hospital beginning about 3 years after Roe. I sadly liken the volume of patients to a line waiting to receive free government cheese. One can see those rising numbers clearly depicted on graphs of that period of time. I regret to have to suspect that there are racists out there whose socio-economic and political persuasions would lead them to support Mayor Adams fully, and hope for an increase in those numbers. Acknowledged mitigating factors accepted and set aside, responsibility and accountability form the foundation for the management of this issue. It’s the least we can ask of the two participants to a conception. until science can provide us with an irrefutable answer to the question of the precise moment the event occurs that qualifies as human life, and we all agree,

  13. So it is an abomination for a single man (18 yrs old) to kill 19 children under the age of 10, but it’s ok for 19 women to kill 19 children who happen to be in utero. Seems like a contradiction to me. And the death rate from abortions has been over 1/2 million yearly since 1973 in the US. As a proponent for life I fail to see the distinction. Murder is murder unless you have to sacrifice one in order to save another. A little extreme I admit but I spent 46 years trying to save people people from an immediate death when they had a chance to live on. I do not casually throw away the life of any human being. When you are there as people fight with everything they have to continue life, you get a little different perspective on the casualness of life lost or taken.

    1. If my sister needs a bone marrow transplant to save her life, and you are a match, she cannot demand that you donate some of your bone marrow. Yet you want to insist that a woman donate the use of her body for 9 months.

      I believe that abortion should be legal prior to viability and generally illegal after, with exceptions for the woman’s life and health and for situations where a fetus is newly diagnosed with a serious medical problem that will likely result in death shortly after birth, like this one, where a husband describes his and his wife’s decision to have an abortion at 24 weeks with a wanted pregnancy newly diagnosed with an awful medical condition: https://twitter.com/wtadler/status/1521167627833552899

      And the reason has to do with bodily autonomy — giving the woman long enough to make a decision, save the $ for an abortion (and time off work, and travel time if needed, etc.) if that’s what she chooses, …

      “As a proponent for life I fail to see the distinction.”

      The distinctions are:
      a) A child who has been born is a person. An embryo is not a person.
      b) The embryo is inside the woman’s body, literally attached to her, using her lungs to get oxygen, …, and a child who’s been born can be cared for by any adult.
      c) In ALL other situations involving saving a life, you still have bodily autonomy. Society can’t even demand that you give blood in order to save someone’s life, and giving blood is a minor thing compared to the health effects of pregnancy.

      If you truly object to abortion, contribute to research for an artificial womb and a means of transplantation.

      1. RE:””The distinctions are: a) A child who has been born is a person. An embryo is not a person.”” You can continue to push that rhetoric to suit your agenda and, in your arguments, now as in the past, choose your criteria to suit it. Generally, the entity is called an embryo from conception until the eighth week of development. After the eighth week, it’s called a fetus until it’s born. As to the legal status of the fetus, federal law has already addressed that question, a fact which I never see brought into the abortion conversation. I have posted this link in these pages elsewhere and I do so again for the benefit of all..The question of viability is one that the evolution of scientific knowledge is bringing us closer to and upon which human kind has yet to reach consensus. Presently, the the ‘heartbeat rule’ appears to be reasonable to many, if not all. As to the matter of TPMR’s and the tragic case you keep citing as example, most legislation provides for that., even Oklahoma’s rigid criteria. So what we have left in your thesis is your personal contention as to what a woman has the right to do with her body as when she becomes nothing more than a vessel for the inconvenient or unwanted living being within. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unborn_Victims_of_Violence_Act#:~:text=The%20Unborn%20Victims%20of%20Violence,listed%20federal%20crimes%20of%20violence.

        1. “the entity is called an embryo from conception until the eighth week of development. After the eighth week, it’s called a fetus until it’s born.”

          I know!

          And if you’re a doctor, as you claim, then you should know that the majority of abortions occur during the embryonic stage, not the fetal stage.

          “As to the legal status of the fetus, federal law has already addressed that question …”

          Notice that the law you cite does NOT declare that an embryo or fetus is a legal person. Here’s the text of the law: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/PLAW-108publ212/html/PLAW-108publ212.htm
          Notice that none of the references to “person” in the text are to the embryo/fetus. Also notice that the law explicitly excludes abortion:
          “(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the prosecution–
          “(1) of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law;
          “(2) of any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or
          “(3) of any woman with respect to her unborn child.”

          The Supreme Court has addressed whether an embryo or fetus is a person. It is not.

          As they noted:
          “The Constitution does not define “person” in so many words. Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment contains three references to “person.” The first, in defining “citizens,” speaks of “persons born or naturalized in the United States.” The word also appears both in the Due Process Clause and in the Equal Protection Clause. “Person” is used in other places in the Constitution: in the listing of qualifications for Representatives and Senators, Art. I, § 2, cl. 2, and § 3, cl. 3; in the Apportionment Clause, Art. I, § 2, cl. 3; in the Migration and Importation provision, Art. I, § 9, cl. 1; in the Emolument Clause, Art. I, § 9, cl. 8; in the Electors provisions, Art. II, § 1, cl. 2, and the superseded cl. 3; in the provision outlining qualifications for the office of President, Art. II, § 1, cl. 5; in the Extradition provisions, Art. IV, § 2, cl. 2, and the superseded Fugitive Slave Clause 3; and in the Fifth, Twelfth, and Twenty-second Amendments, as well as in §§ 2 and 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. But in nearly all these instances, the use of the word is such that it has application only post-natally. None indicates, with any assurance, that it has any possible pre-natal application.”

          “the ‘heartbeat rule’ appears to be reasonable to many, if not all.”

          It absolutely doesn’t appear to be reasonable to all. More to the point, polling does not determine our laws. For example, there are all sorts of gun regulations that appear reasonable to many people but are not law.

          “As to the matter of TPMR’s and the tragic case you keep citing as example, most legislation provides for that., even Oklahoma’s rigid criteria.”

          No, Oklahoma’s law would have made that abortion illegal had she not had a miscarriage. Because had she not had a miscarriage, the pregnancy would not have been threatening her life. I dare you to quote the section of OK’s law that you believe would have made their planned abortion legal had she not had a miscarriage.

          “So what we have left in your thesis is your personal contention as to what a woman has the right to do with her body as when she becomes nothing more than a vessel for the inconvenient or unwanted living being within.”

          Yet you have no counter to what I said.

          No one can even demand that you give blood (and I’m a blood and platelet donor, am registered with the National Bone Marrow registry, and registered as an organ donor upon my death, and was assessed but rejected as a living organ donor to save the life of someone I loved). Have you ever talked with the donation team that assesses potential living donors about what leads them to reject potential donors?

          But you want to insist that the rule be different for pregnant women. WHY? Deal with the actual issue instead of deflecting.

          1. RE:”””Notice that the law you cite does NOT declare that an embryo or fetus is a legal person…..”‘ Of course I read it. Otherwise why post it .As well, for others to read. You cherry pick facts to suit your agenda. The law was carefully crafted to side-step the abortion issue. I can play your silly game!! What is does contain, that is relevant, is as follows: (d) As used in this section, the term “unborn child” means a child in utero, and the term “child in utero” or “child, who is in utero” means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.” Ho·mo sa·pi·ens/ˈhōmō ˈsāpēənz/the primate species to which modern humans belong; humans regarded as a species;.a member of the Homo Sapiens species; a human being. Therefore, according to the Oxford English Dictionary as a factual source for English language use and definition, a fetus is declared a human being.. As with all else, law l promulgated AND enforced will steer and guide this ship. I’m done with this.

          2. “The Constitution does not define “person” in so many words.

            So now you are not a fan of the 9th amendment.

            1. The 9th Amendment refers to “the people” without defining “person.”

              1. The Ninth Amendment says just because its not here does not mean the people cannot make it so. That is your claim about abortion. That is why the people can legalize and regulate abortion, based on protecting the life of a baby in utero. At the State level. That’s the 10th amendment.

                1. You apparently have difficulty understanding that individual persons have rights.

      2. A woman who has sex MUST know there is a chance she could wind up pregnant. Use protection, take the day after pill, whatever….but why wait to kill a baby after it has a heartbeat?? SELFISHNESS.

        1. All forms of birth control sometimes fail. Women/girls are sometimes raped. Women with wanted pregnancies sometimes have serious complications or the fetus is diagnosed with a condition that’s incompatible with life after birth.

          Poor women have to save up $ to pay for the abortion, for travel to the abortion, for time off work to travel to the abortion, … If you actually wanted women to have an abortion as early as possible, you’d make it easier for poor women to do that.

      3. Yet you want to insist that a woman donate the use of her body for 9 months.

        That’s a worse position then , ‘God! declares. ‘

        Go over to Volokh, He has a post dismantling your specific argument. Based on the law and Constitution.

      4. I don’t know your sister. I have no connection to her. I owe her nothing. And, I most certainly do not have the right to kill her for getting a naturally occurring bone disease.

        1. You have the right to withhold the use of your life-saving bone marrow, even if it means my sister will die.

          And a pregnant woman has the right to withhold the use of her life-saving uterus, even if it means that the embryo will die.

    2. GEB—I wish the Supreme Ct. would overturn Roe this week, in the aftermath of the murder of those precious children in Uvalde. Would the pro-abortion crowd still unpeaceably march and scream and harrass in the streets, as Texas parents mourn the unthinkable and unspeakable loss of their children?

      1. They would, Cindy, with satanic ferocity.

        Bari Weiss got it right on the ills of our society

        The social rot that’s come over America, the nihilism and hatred of each other, is part of the cause here. The dissolution of our social ties—and with them the accountability and responsibility that an actual community demands—has allowed insanity to fester unnoticed.

        Through all of the descent into Hades of our society since the 1970s, I have held steadfast that family, church, and local community are bedrock institutions. If these collapse, I always believed, society collapses. I never thought outside forces would purposefully seek their destruction. I was naive.

        The pro-aborts are only getting started. Given that the White House worked with the national teachers union to target parents, followed by AG Merrick Garland declaring war on parents vis a vis “terrorists”, Garland did not protect SCOTUS Justices from Pro-aborts descending on their homes, while Nancy Pelosi declared that the Catholic Justices on SCOTUS are dangerous to American families, we need to stop ignoring their actions. It is time to take note and conclude the facts

        By their fruits you will know them
        – Gospel of St Matthew 7:16

        Pelosi says Supreme Court is dangerous to families and freedom

    3. Until we have a cohesive culture that willingly agrees upon a societal definition of when there is “life” we cannot answer this question. When you push secularism and multiculturalism from the left you will never have cultural cohesion nor any satisfactory solution until we have a cohesive society, that the dems do not want.

      1. Until we have a cohesive culture that willingly agrees upon a societal definition of when there is “life” we cannot answer this question.
        If only we had a system where the people closest to the issue could make their own decision, rather than be dictated to by the Federal Government

              1. Then what is it? In any case, an embryo become a fetus if it survives the first eight weeks of pregnancy. There are reasonable disagreements about when a fetus (aka unborn child) becomes pain capable, but I do not believe anyone can support an assertion that a post 20 week fetus is not pain capable. So how can people who decry the school shootings (while ignoring the carnage on Chicago streets and in other large inner cities) support the tortured ending of a pain-capable, unborn child up to the moment of birth? Barbaric does not begin to describe such evil.

                1. It’s a human embryo. Later, it may become a fetus (though many embryos are instead miscarried).

                  You and I are “pain capable,” yet we are not in pain when under anesthesia. You claim — without evidence — that it’s a “tortured ending.”

                  1. “It’s a human embryo.”

                    You can pretend to know what you are talking about, but human life begins at conception. The egg and sperm are living. However, until conception, they do not represent a future human being. If you wish to believe your own life began as a frog, do so. A frog is alive as well but is not a future human being.

  14. “many politicians are pushing an unlimited view of the right that raises both constitutional and political questions — an approach that far exceeds what the current Roe case law supports.”

    But Turley cannot bring himself to address that the politicians in Oklahoma have already outlawed almost all abortions after fertilization occurs:
    “a person shall not knowingly perform or attempt to perform an abortion unless:
    “1. The abortion is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency [including ectopic pregnancies]; or
    “2. The pregnancy is the result of rape, sexual assault, or incest that has been reported to law enforcement.”

    Turley chooses to focus on one extreme (one that has not been enacted) while ignoring the other extreme (even though it has already been enacted).

    He likes to feed the “age of rage” that he complains about.

    1. He certainly does and that’s why he’s such a hypocrite. It’s funny that he is only discussing the “absolutist” examples of democrats but never mentions those of republicans. Just that they too have extreme absolutist views that they are actively trying to pass in state legislatures. From criminalizing travel to another state to death sentences for women who have abortions.

      Turley is doing a disservice to what the politicians are saying with a lack of context. It’s certainly true that ultimately the decision to have an abortion is a woman’s. She is the one who controls and owns her body. Nobody else has a right to dictate what she should decide. Even libertarians should be defending a woman’s independence from government intrusion into their private decisions. Libertarians are strangely silent on that. It should be their biggest issue because it involves government infringing on personal autonomy. These are the same people who protested against mask mandates because they didn’t like government telling them what to do. Irony or just plain old hypocrisy?

  15. The media has framed it as though the right is extreme because they want to ban all abortions from the moment of conception ( one time I happen to agree with the media) but they ignore the fact that it is equally as extreme to want abortions up to and including the 9th month. This is where the media will play their game by never asking a Democrat about their support for the 9th month abortion while forcing all Republicans to defend the extreme’s wanting the total ban.

    The country is center or maybe center-right, but due to our primary system the edges force both parties to the extreme. It is unfortunate that a candidate that supports abortion up to the 15th week, a position that the majority of voters support, will have trouble winning either the Republican or the Democrat primaries due to the nature of our system.

    PS. Now watch as Anonymous EB comes on here saying that Turley should be discussing whatever his little pet project of the day is and that he is ignoring said pet project because he is a Fox News guy, a Trump guy and he will do so in about 40 or 50 different yet similar comments throughout the day. Of course Jeff will “opine” that Trump cause more abortions than anyone in history and that he lies about it in his attempt to overthrow the government. Anonymous is a narcissist who yearns for his own site and Jeff is a little boy obsessed with a former president.

    PSS. Anonymous, probably a paid troll, will accuse me of having multiple names when in fact he refuses to drop the “Anonymous” moniker!

    1. There are multiple people who post anonymously, including eb (who used to post as Elvis Bug, but Darren blocked that account), the Anonymous who refers to the “blog stooge” (who used to post as Seth Warner and Peter Hill), S. Meyer (who posts anonymously whenever he wants to encourage others to ignore the exchange), and others.

      If you assume that all anonymous comments come from a single person, no wonder you dislike that imagined person.

      1. If you could learn to read you may notice that I said ANONYMOUS EB, not Anonymous et al. As for you, why not pick a name and help us ignore the bad ANONYMOUS guy rather than having to wade through all comments by all people using Anonymous until we detect the rantings of ANONYMOUS EB?
        Try it pal, use an actual made up name rather than Anonymous so we can at least know which personality you are. I am HULLBOBBY, not one of a myriad of Anonymous commenters.

        1. Bug (eb) doesn’t come anywhere close to posting “40 or 50 different yet similar comments throughout the day.” You’re clearly confusing different anonymous commenters.

          I used to post under a unique name, and a couple of the conservatives here hounded me endlessly. You tell me to try something I already tried.

      2. ” S. Meyer (who posts anonymously whenever he wants to encourage others to ignore the exchange)”

        Yes, all anonymous posts should be deleted and probably shouldn’t be permitted on the blog. This post should be deleted as well.

        However, there is one anonymous who tenaciously hides his identity without a signature at the end. He even stoops to pretend friends and uses other icons and names. In the past, he saw to it that he would stimulate debate knowing (the address he was using was banned?) so that all posts in that mini thread would be deleted. That was a spiteful thing to do to people that were honorably responding. That is the type of person he is. He posts day and night. Most of his posts are recognizable and they are voluminous. He has been labeled to make some of his postings easier to recognize. Many have their own label and some use the label Anonymous the Stupid or ATS.


        1. Alan, many of us would prefer to use ‘one’ name. But we can’t! The Blog Stooge will endlessly smear whatever name we use. Yet I don’t see you complaining about The Blog Stooge. But you know he exists. In fact, Hullbobby is one of the Stooge’s puppets.

          The Stooge is quite possibly a paid employee whose job is to make sure liberal commenters never gain traction on these threads. The Stooge is the reason real debates rarely develop anymore. The Stooge won’t let any discussions develop out of fear that liberals might score a few points. Therefore he feels the need to blow-up discussions before they go too far.

          The Stooge’s main puppet is Thinkthrough. But he is also Ralph, Feldman, Margot Ballhere, Alma, Mistress Adams, Estovir, James, Iowa2, Ray In SC and many, many more. On most days The Stooge is writing more than half the comments. He is the reason genuine commenters are increasingly scarce. The Stooge makes this blog look like a forum for Losers-Only.

          1. You need to grow a pair of balls, and to be politically correct a pair of ovaries as well. You are a sissy from way back. If you didn’t act like such a fool you wouldn’t have to worry so much. If you weren’t so stupid you wouldn’t have to worry so much.

            If you are unhappy here go to mommy’s basement where you belong. Bring your favorite toy. Lock the door and don’t leave.

          2. I know at least one identity you have wrong. That discredits all of your wild guesses

            1. So this new Anonymous is whining because somebody “attacks” him or her when every he or she comments???? Grow a pair is right. Suck it up and just use a name that will let is differentiate you from the Anonymous that does comment 100 times a day. Why can’t this site, a great site by the way, figure out that allowing many people to use the same name frustrates the will of the readers and is being abused by one lousy creep named Anonymous.

    2. Hullbobby says:

      “and Jeff is a little boy obsessed with a former president.”

      I am flattered that I am worthy of your disparagement, for I don’t criticize you out of the blue.

      I don’t have much to say on abortion except that the Pro-life people are liars. They believe that a life begins even before a woman asks her lover in bed, “What are you thinking?” Yet, they will allow the woman to murder the “baby” in cases of rape and incest. Herschel Walker’s statement of “no exceptions” is the only honest position.

      1. Herschel Walker’s statement of “no exceptions” is the only honest position.

        No surprise you consider Walker is honest considering he was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder / dissociative identity disorder. So I am guessing your bat sheet crazy behaviors on here are rooted in MPD as well. That explains a lot

        Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder

        Walker is about as qualified as being a US Senator as Joe Biden being as US President. In other words, are politics are beyond repair and we are all going to die (paraphrasing PJ ORourke)


        1. Estovir, are *your* “bat sheet crazy behaviors on here … rooted in MPD”?

        2. Estovir,

          I did not know Walker was so diagnosed, but that is irrelevant. At least one of his personalities is honest unlike the Pro-lifers who allow babies to be murdered out of convenience to the mother.

          1. Nothing he says is trustworthy. His physique is very impressive. I wish I had his traps. He is slightly older than me, but his physique is one to be respected. To sustain that shape, symmetry and amount of muscle, one has to consume protein every 3 hours. Unlike carbs and fat, protein is metabolized every 3 hours, with metabolites excreted in urine. Protein (amino acids are never stored). Muscle depends on amino acids. I eat 6 meals a day, low carbs/fat, high protein to keep my size. Yet, Walker states he has never engaged in weight resistance training, opting instead for pushup, sit-ups and similar calisthenics. He says he eats one meal a day comprised of soups, vegetables and salads, all low in amino acids. The traps he has require weight resistance training. His violent behaviors against women are troubling. Yet this is the best the GOP could do in GA? on top of his MPD? I’m no Republican but if Walker is the standard-bearer for the GOP, they need to close their party. Of course Democratic US Sen. Raphael Warnock is also a wife beater. Just sad all around and the norm it seems with our politicians

            1. I repeat:

              At least one of his personalities is honest unlike the Pro-lifers who allow babies to be murdered out of convenience to the mother.

            2. Estovir,

              Fitness, I suggest ck’in back through Joe Rogan’s library of interviews/guest on fitness.

              For victims that have taking any so called vaccines & fitness they should take the comments of Dr Malone, Dr Peter McCullough (Dallas, Dr Fleming… The Fleming Method. Com, Dr Michael Yeadon, ….
              Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Eads & the rest of the group of 17000+ Docs & plus Lawyers like RFK Jr & Robert Barnes that are all over the Govt’ ABC outfits’ Azz & having success’ against the mass murders.

              I’ve not seen this Vid yet, but he’s a retired Phizer head Vax guy.


              I have seen this.


              You can hate my guts later, but I suggest Vax people check into what these people are saying for their own benefit.

              You can always phone or Email them.

  16. The lefties keep expanding abortion.

    If the lefties have their way, abortion will be legal until 3 years after the child is born.

    Better not be restless, colicky, or bad tempered as a child.

    1. I’m amazed that the self proclaimed “party of science”, the Democrats, are willing to ignore that the unborn human has its own unique DNA and is separate but dependent on the mother, the developing child IS NOT the mother’s body. The fundamental human right is life, without which no other human rights exist.

      1. Unique DNA does not establish personhood. In fact, every single person has more than one kind of unique diploid DNA in their body.

        I agree that the embryo is not the mother’s body. But it has attached itself to her, is using her lungs for oxygen, her stomach for nutrition, … It does not have any rights, much less a right to use her body without her consent.

      2. …ignore that the unborn human has its own unique DNA and is separate but dependent on the mother…

        Pro-aborts lie. Evil people comprise the darkness of our world.

        Every individual human being has unique DNA. Even identical twins do not have identical DNA. DNA identifies life; it possesses the genetic material which allows all forms of life, (e.g. Bacteria, Archaea, Eukarya) to thrive, grow and reproduce. DNA is it!!!

        As I already stated above and in previous times, every human has ~ 30 trillion somatic cells. Each cell has 46 homologous chromosomes located in the cell’s nucleus, just like the fertilized egg or zygote. Each chromosome is a long molecule of DNA. All DNA is wrapped tightly around “spools of thread” or nucleosomes. DNA on each nucleosome appears like “beads on a string”. The DNA can be moved, shifted, repositioned to allow transcription factors access to DNA so as to “turn on” or turn “off” DNA. In this epigenetic schema, it allows DNA to express / silence specific proteins.

        Fun fact: 10 years ago and prior, geneticists stated as dogma, and all biology textbooks taught, that most of the genetic material on chromosomes was “junk DNA”, with less than 3% being “coding DNA”. The ENCODE Project (an offshoot of the Human Genome Project) changed our understanding vastly of genetics with dozens of papers published in 2012. See below link. “Junk DNA” is now known as an embarrassment in science. Science makes mistakes….often. “Junk” noncoding DNA is known as epigenetic material that controls coding DNA. IOW, consult scientific resources published in the last 5-10 years. Anything published older is junk.

        it is very complicated but so are our molecular and cellular lives, from the moment we are conceived at fertilization


        Nature: Encode Encyclopedia of DNA Elements
        05 September 2012
        Access the collected papers by exploring the thematic threads that run through them, with topics such as DNA methylation, RNA or machine learning.


    2. monumentcolorado
      California had a draft piece of legislation that legalized parinatal abortions. They got it changed early on. I have seen ethicists speak of abortion up to 6 months after birth.

      The notion is out there

      Then we cant fiqure out how a person can kill school children. The sanctity of life has been lost in the culture.

      Abortion proponents themselves justify abortions due to economic interests. Treating a life as a liability, instead of an asset. Peoples values are terribly messed up.

    3. Monumentcolorado says:

      “If the lefties have their way, abortion will be legal until 3 years after the child is born.”

      If the Right keeps calling Leftists “child killers,” over abortion, is it any wonder the Left calls them “child killers” for not protecting kids by passing gun laws? Turley would never engage in such polarizing and rage inducing rhetoric.

      Why do you?

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