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Conversation With An Abortionist

Circa 1984


“I want to let you know up front that I am a gay conservative Republican fundamentalist Christian.”

Steven was amused and not sure how that fit together. I met him on the Internet and we chatted via email. We didn't meet in a chat room, but I had visited his web page and sent him email saying how much I liked it. He wrote back and we began corresponding.

Steven is a college professor of English at a popular East Coast school. I am a computer programmer in California. His webpage said he is a liberal Democrat, so I contacted him. We chatted and decided that for an exercise we would pick a liberal/conservative hot topic and discuss it rationally. I was a little concerned, because every other time I tried having a discussion with a liberal, it soon turned into hysterical screaming where I was being called names. But we were separated by 3,000 miles, so I thought I was safe. The topic we agreed to discuss was about abortion.

Our emails were sent over a period of several days. I would send email one day; he would respond the next; then I would respond the following day, and so on.


Wow. That's quite a load [about my description of myself]. How do you live with yourself? OK [we'll have the discussion], but I'm not at my best tonight. I've drank a few beers and I'm a little tipsy, but I'll try. You go first. Why do you think abortion is wrong?

Jerry (next day)

Well, the baby is a human, and it is murder to kill a human like that. No where in our society except in the case of abortion is a parent allowed to murder her children with impunity.


Hi Jerry. I'm a little drunk tonight, so forgive me if I make obvious blunders. You said something that I always thought was strange. Conservatives are so against “murder” of fetuses, but have no problem with killing prisoners. If Christians are supposed not to kill at all, then why do you advocate executing prisoners? That is such a contradiction.


Hi Steven. In every group – liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, religious or atheist – individual members of that group have their own take on the topics. What I think does not always agree with every other conservative or Christian, just as you do not agree with everything every other liberal or Democrat says.

I understand that executions are allowed to the state and not to individuals. The criminal who has committed a crime worthy of death should be executed by the state. That is the difference between killing a baby or a criminal. The baby has done nothing worthy of death. The criminal has.

The thing that confuses me is why liberals think just the opposite. They go to extremes to keep the vilest of murderers from facing just punishment, but they have no problems with killing innocent babies. Why?


[Notice that Steven has ignored my question.] What about rape or incest? If a girl gets pregnant against her will, she should have an abortion then, right?


I know a lot of conservatives and Christians will agree with you, but I'm not one of them. Look at it this way. Did the baby rape the mother? Is it the baby's fault? Why in the world would you want to punish an innocent baby for the crime of another person? That just doesn't make sense. The rapist should be caught and punished, not the baby. What has the baby done to deserve execution? That's nothing more than making an innocent child the scapegoat for a criminal.

We should help the girl and support her in every way. If she can't or won't raise the baby herself, then it should be given to new parents who will. But to murder the baby for the crime of the father just doesn't make sense.


“I'm a little drunk tonight; too many beers. But anyway, here we go. What you're doing is just driving them into back alleys to have illegal abortions with a coat hanger that endangers the life of the mother. Many women will not have the baby if they've been raped. Besides that, she's treated as if she deserved it by her family and peers. Women don't deserve treatment like that, and they have abortions to avoid it.”


That is a failing many people have, blaming the victim for the crime. I agree with you. If we want to stop women from having back alley abortions, we've got to stop treating unwed pregnant women as pieces of trash. We've got to change our opinions and begin giving support to them.

However, that is a dishonest argument if it ends there. The vast majority of abortions do not involve rape or incest. Most of them are of women who decided to have sex and decided to have an abortion.


I've got such a headache this morning; I'll be brief. Some women become pregnant and they don't intend to. This world has enough unwanted children. What you're saying will bring millions of unwanted children into the world. Who will take care of them all? The mothers won't. Will you? Will Republicans? Will Christians?


I have two really good answers for that.

First answer: So your answer to the world overpopulation is to murder the children? That's simple enough. Let's go get all the orphans, latchkey children, and delinquents and just kill them. That will solve the problem and we can get rid of all the reformatories.

No, the answer to a problem is not to go out and kill people. We don't answer a problem by killing someone.

Second answer: I do not disapprove of pregnancy prevention. I agree with the use of condoms, birth control pills, and even the “morning-after” pill.

We, both man and women, can do much to prevent pregnancy and that is where we should focus our attention. We should not kill children to answer a problem. That is lazy and irresponsible. We should actively work on another method.


See, you're being inconsistent. If life begins at conception, then you can't use birth control pills or morning-after pills. That is “murdering” the fetus. That is just another way to have an abortion.


I hate to say this again, but that is still another place where I personally disagree with some conservatives and Christians. The question is, 'When does human life begin?' Some Christians say 'At conception.' Some Liberals say, 'At birth.' Neither is right.

The American courts have already decided this issue, I think, when they ruled on 'What is death?' Death occurs when brain activity stops. A brain-dead person is dead. It's not when his heart stops, or when his breathing stops, but when his brain stops.

All right, that's simple enough and I agree with it. Brain function equals life. There is a time at the beginning of fetus development where there is no brain function. I don't know how long that time is, maybe after three weeks; I'm not sure.

That is the window. If a person doesn't want a baby, then use birth control. Use birth control pills. Use the morning-after pill. But do what you're going to do before life begins.


I'm a little tipsy tonight, but I'll try to answer your email. That is where we differ. The fetus is part of the mother's body until it is born. Until that time, the mother may do with her body whatever she pleases.


I agree that a woman has the same right over her body that a man has over his body. In fact, if you examine the controversy today, the right a woman has over her body is not even being debated. It is proclaimed as an integral issue in the abortion debate, but it is not argued against by the pro-lifers. The other side agrees; a woman has the same right over her own body as a man has over his own body.

But that's not the question, nor the topic, nor the debate. The question is, 'Does the woman have the right of life-or-death over somebody else's body?', over her own children? Parents have never had the right to murder their own children, and children have never had the right to murder their own parents, until abortion became legal, that is.


I've had too much to drink tonight. All I've got time to say is, The fetus is not a human.


What is it then? Is it a cow? Is it a fish? Is it a dog? It has arms, legs, lungs, hands, eyes, head, and brain. Those parts are functioning. The hands grasp. The eyes see light. It responds to stimuli. What do you think it is if it's not a human? Is it a pig?


It will become a human, but it is not a real, live functioning person until it is born.


So, what is life? When does it begin?


I believe life is something special that happens at the moment of birth. When the child takes its first breath, something magical happens and it is infused with life in that instance.


Wow! I can't believe you said that. Do you know what you just said? You said 'something magical happens,' and 'I believe something special happens.' Do you know what that is? That is a religious statement. That is a spiritual belief.

In our entire conversation, I never brought faith or religion into the discussion. I only discussed logic and laws. You are now bringing in your own religion to prove your point.

Do you know what you're doing? You're forcing your religious beliefs on the rest of us. Liberals complain that Christians are forcing their religion on others, but just the opposite is true. It is this point of religious belief that liberals are forcing on Americans through the courts, that life doesn't begin until something 'magical' – something spiritual – happens at the moment of birth that exonerates their killing babies before birth.

Steven never wrote to me again. I will say one thing about Steven, which I greatly appreciate. He continued the conversation in a rational way without getting hysterical, screaming and calling me names. He's the only liberal ever I've talked with (so far) who did that.