Tuesday, February 8, 2011


"Mom and dad are going to kill me when they find out.”

“I'm not ready to be a parent.”

“We already have too many children. We can't support any more!”

“It's only birth control.”

“Let's abort it while it is still tiny, and it won't hurt. It will hurt when it gets big, and I have to give birth then.”

“He raped me. I don't want any part of that man. Get it OUT of me, now!”

Abortion has divided our country. It should not. One grouping believes it is a 'thing' – not living, and definitely not a person. Discarding ‘IT’ from their body is like removing their appendix – no harm, no foul. The other body disdains the former grouping and believes anyone who aborts is killing a person and is doomed to hell.

In this series of posts, I wish to examine multiple factors influencing opinions and decisions, recommend a better idea, and then, summarize.

To discuss abortion necessitates examining key terms. All parties must consent to common definitions in order to discuss this divisive force intelligently.

What is abortion? Merrian-Webster Dictionary defines abortion as “The spontaneous or induced termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.” The key terms in the definition are spontaneous, induced, termination, and death.

Webster says Death is “1: the end of life. 2: the cause of loss of life. 3: state of being dead. … 5. slaughter.”

The verb form of Kill means “1: To deprive of life. 2: to put an end to. Synonyms: slay, murder, assassinate, execute.” The noun form is defined as “the act of killing.” In killing, there is an implied direction, an intent.

Murder, as a noun, is defined as “1: the crime of unlawfully killing a person esp. with malice aforethought...” The verb form states, “1: to commit murder: also: to kill brutally  2: to put an end to  ….”  By strict definition, abortion cannot be murder. Why? It is not “unlawful.” Due to the decision of our highest court, in Roe v. Wade, it is not unlawful, and therefore not a crime against the state.

We are NOT talking about MISCARRIAGE. The same dictionary defines miscarriage as, “spontaneous expulsion of a fetus before it is capable of independent life.” Many women have miscarried their desired child. It is radically and fundamentally unlike abortion, where an “induced termination” is desired.

Connotation of Abortion
Another factor is the connotation of 'abortion'. Connotations are not found in dictionaries. It is that commonly understood meaning. The commonly understood meaning of  'abortion' is a willful choice based on incomplete information, a premeditated decision and action to remove life from an embryo or fetus.

An “induced termination of a pregnancy” cannot occur unless the female first learns she is pregnant, then follows with the “death of the embryo”, or “slaughter” of the “fetus.” Did you see the sequence? How much complete information was present? First, she learned of being pregnant, then decides to cause the death of the organism. This implied meaning, or connotation, indicates there was a WILLFUL CHOICE to “induce termination” of a living organism.

What could you add to the definitions and applications?
Can the Connotation of Abortion be expanded? How?
Please add your comments by clicking the link below.

If you would like to read more, please click this link for the next in the five-part series.


  1. Some good info and definitions. I think miscarriage is usually referred to as "spontaneous abortion," in medical records.

  2. Well, I followed your request and read your post.
    Here are some problems:
    1st there is your whole attempt to discuss the matter via dictionary definitions. There's a problem here: Although dictionary definitions are useful when people have to agree on definitions first, they are pretty useless in making a point in a discussion. You can go for a dictionary "hopping" where you go from one near-synonym to another one to another one until you end up with a words that's something completely different.
    In short, you'Re arguing semantics when the debate is esentially about human rights. For you, the fetus is a full human being and therefore entitled to human rights which are in your opinion greater than that of the woman (what is she? Only half a human being for her rights to be discarded?).

    Secondly there's your definition of connotations that is just plain wrong. Connotations are not "commonly understood meanings". Connotations are ideas and concepts that a certain word evokes. They differ from culture to culture and person to person.
    You give a personal connotation for the word abortion and than treat it as if it were commonly understood.
    It isn't. For millions of people there's nothing about "incomplete information" in the word abortion. And as you noticed earlier, in a medical context abotion refers to all situations where a fetus is removed from the uterus, be it by abrtion, be it by miscarriage, be it by something called "missed abortion", which is when the fetus dies but the body doesn't notice.
    But you're trying to impose your definition and connotation onto the word and then use that for further discussion.


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