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Week of 6.12.09

Issue Clash: Late Abortions

Operation Rescue president Troy Newman and Cristina Page, a reproductive rights advocate, author, and moderator of an online forum on abortion debate the practice of late abortions.

View questions, answers, and rebuttals, then vote for a winner, and make your own arguments.

This debate was produced in conjunction with our show "Abortion Providers Under Seige"

Under what, if any, circumstances are late abortions an appropriate procedure?

Click a name to read his/her response to the question above.

Troy Newman: The pro-life ethic defines human life from the moment of conception until natural death. Abortion, or the killing of a pre-born child, is never appropriate. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports that there has never been a late-term abortion in Kansas to save a woman's life. The majority of physicians concur that a post-viability abortion is never medically necessary. If there is a life-threatening condition to the mother or child, the baby should be delivered and given the appropriate medical treatment.

Cristina Page: For context, the definition of "late-term" abortion is generally accepted to be abortions that take place at or beyond 24 weeks gestation, the third trimester of pregnancy. They are very rare. Only one percent of all abortions take place after 21 weeks. In Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court decided that abortion in the third trimester must take into account the state's legitimate interest in protecting both the health of the pregnant woman and the developing human life which is then beyond the point of viability. States are allowed to, and have, severely restricted access to abortion in the third trimester except when necessary to preserve the woman's life or health. These are the circumstances under which late-term abortion is an appropriate procedure.


Click a name to read his/her rebuttal to the opposing answer given above.

Troy Newman's Rebuttal: According to Health Department statistics in Kansas, where the majority of post-viability abortions took place, none were ever done to save the life of the mother. Post-viability abortions are never medically necessary. If the mother's life or health are so endangered that delivery is necessary, that can be done without killing the baby. Aborting a viable baby is simply done, not for the mother's life or health, but because that baby is inconvenient, either to the mother or to a referring physician who does not want to be bothered caring for a woman with a complicated pregnancy. Killing the inconvenient is a hallmark of an unbalanced and unhealthy society, not an enlightened one.

Cristina Page's Rebuttal: The Cleveland Plains Dealer reported about Phillip Wood and his wife who were "joyfully preparing for the births of twin boys when, midway through the pregnancy, everything went wrong. An amniocentesis revealed a disease of the placenta. .... Doctors at the Catholic-affiliated hospital told them neither twin would survive, and his wife was at risk of a ruptured uterus. That would make her infertile and could threaten her life." If your wife, sister, daughter were in this circumstance, would you recommend she continue the pregnancy? There are a wide array of tragic conditions that can harm a pregnancy, threaten the viability of the fetus and the health and life of the woman. Until you have walked in the shoes of those who have suffered through these decisions, you can never know what the right course of action is.

What impact does access to late abortions have on our society?

Click a name to read his/her response to the question above.

Troy Newman: A civilized society is judged by how it treats the weakest of its members. Access to an act that kills a viable baby devalues the lives of all members of society. I believe that drive-by shootings, mothers throwing away their children, and even the shootings of abortionists all stem from the abortion culture that openly implies that a person who is inconvenient is somehow disposable. That creates an environment that fosters violence, and is something that the pro-life movement is working to change.

Cristina Page: I think, to understand the impact, we must hear from women and their families who have needed an abortion at this stage of pregnancy. Typically these are much-wanted pregnancies diagnosed with grave or fatal anomalies. They were women diagnosed with cancer who could not start chemotherapy unless they terminated their pregnancies; women whose babies would be born only to suffer from genetic illness and die soon after; children who were victims of rape or incest and didn't understand they were pregnant until many months along. So, the impact on society can only be measured by the despair lessened and the mercy provided to women, girls and those families in these tragic circumstances.


Click a name to read his/her rebuttal to the opposing answer given above.

Troy Newman's Rebuttal: There is an adage that states: "Hard cases do not make good laws." For every woman who tells us that they "needed" late-term abortions, we can provide a story from a woman who deeply regretted her late-term abortion because of the negative impact it had on her life. In fact, women who have abortions, late-term or otherwise, are at greater risk for serious problems such as domestic violence, suicide, and drug and alcohol addiction, among other things. In fact, studies show abortion provides no mental health benefits to women and actually increases the risk of mental health disorders. If anything a woman's despair is heightened by abortion, not diminished by it.

Cristina Page's Rebuttal: If you believe the "abortion culture" leads to all of these horrendous outcomes, why are you not committed to the strategies proven to prevent the root cause of abortion—unintended pregnancy? For 36 years, the anti-abortion movement has held big graphic signs outside of clinics and attempted, often aggressively, to persuade patients on their way in to not proceed. Not only are these tactics ineffective; they are also a little late. Why not help that woman never need to be in this predicament in the first place? Yet, nowhere on Operation Rescue's website or in its history has the organization done anything to help prevent the root cause of abortion, unplanned pregnancy. The countries that have the lowest abortion rates are not those that have outlawed abortion or have an active anti-abortion movement. They're the ones that have invested most heavily in prevention and supports for struggling families. These countries—like Denmark and the Netherlands—have achieved the goal you claim to seek. Most anti-abortion Americans support prevention measures, like increased access to contraception. Why don't you and your organization?

At what point does an anti-abortion protester become a domestic terrorist?

Click a name to read his/her response to the question above.

Troy Newman: We at Operation Rescue were shocked to hear of the homicide of late-term abortionist George Tiller and were among the first groups to denounce the cowardly act that took Tiller's life. It was not justice, but vigilantism, which must be abhorred by a society that embraces the rule of law over anarchy.

Social justice begins in the womb or it does not exist at all. The spark of life is so precious that the matter of abortion demands we expose it for what it is: the brutal and immoral destruction of a unique human being.

Operation Rescue uses legal tools at our disposal, including the justice system, law enforcement, the legislative system, regulatory boards, health departments—even our ironclad First Amendment rights—to display pictures of aborted babies brutally killed through the euphemism of "choice". We do this to expose the violence of abortion and provide as much protection as possible for women and their pre-born babies.

Cristina Page: Terrorism is the intentional intimidation or use of violence against others by a person or persons for the purpose of imposing a belief on them. The anti-abortion movement, which espouses non-violent measures to achieve its goals, has been tremendously injured by domestic terrorists independently acting under the banner "pro-life." Troy's organization, Operation Rescue, has been ensnared in the murder of Dr. Tiller because the assassin had been in regular touch with a staff member who (herself served two years in prison for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic.) This staff member provided the assassin information on Tiller. In the wake of this tragedy, Troy, who has since been outspoken in opposition to the use of violence, has a tremendous opportunity to transform his organization into a beacon for non-violence in the abortion conflict. For the sake of his cause, Troy should take steps to de-escalate the rhetoric, continue to send strong and consistent messages in opposition to terror though the media and to his organization's members, and alert law enforcement to unstable people like Roeder.


Click a name to read his/her rebuttal to the opposing answer given above.

Troy Newman's Rebuttal: Attempts to smear Operation Rescue with false accusations of culpability in the brutal murder of Tiller fall flat. Accusations that our rhetoric caused the slaying are untrue and only serve to inflame emotions. The pro-life movement is the most peaceful social movement in our nation's history. We preach and teach a message of life while refusing to skirt the truth of the painful fact that an abortion is, in and of itself, an act of violence that kills an innocent child. The truth is that Roeder has reportedly been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Early police statements were that he appeared to have acted alone. A lone student shot up Virginia Tech, but not all students are murderers. Postal workers have been known to kill fellow employees, but not all mailmen are terrorists. Muslims killed 3,000 Americans in the 9/11 attacks, but not all Muslims act out Jihad. However, all abortionists murder children.

Cristina Page's Rebuttal: Troy, in many ways the nation has trained its eye on your organization as the one most closely—and possibly unfairly—linked to the murder of Dr. Tiller. You listed on your website his home address and the address of his church, where he later was murdered, and your staff member was in regular touch with the alleged killer, Bruce Roeder, in the months leading up to his murder. It would seem in your best interest to take seriously the "guilt by association" aura that now hovers around your organization. You have come out with strong-sounding statements against violence but why not take it further; why not attempt to stop the violence?

You currently appear to be in a friendly network with those who support the murder of Dr. Tiller. Dan Holman, of Missionaries to the Preborn, told CNN he "cheered" when he learned of Dr. Tiller's murder. Neal Horsley, of the Nuremberg Files, told the Guardian UK that Tiller's murder was "justifiable homicide". These are your friends, at least according to your Facebook page. How can you be considered a legitimate voice against anti-violence in the abortion conflict while maintaining relationships with those who celebrate and try to inspire more of these acts? You, more than anyone, are poised to help prevent future acts of violence by alienating and condemning these forces or by helping to try to rehabilitate these extremists. Otherwise, all the anti-violence talk is simply meaningless.

The opinions expressed belong solely to the participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOW, PBS, or local stations. The facts stated by the participants have not been verified by NOW.

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Viewer Comments

Commenter: Mike Shine
It is no wonder that so many liberals (PBS itself is liberal (not quantitative statement is necessary, it is liberal)) voted for the liberal.

Commenter: Michael Martelli
Please say on point. The bottom line and only point of discussion should be whether the unborn is a human child or not. Science states that it is, Embrology Textbooks that are used to train doctors (the real reason there are less abortionists today) say it is, and 80-90% of women who see thier fetus in a sonogram realize this and choose not to have an abortion. Violence begets violence. It is NOT ok that Dr. Tiller was killed, but what can you expect for someone who has killed over 60,000 PEOPLE.

Commenter: John
Could a human fetus be anything but a human? If the fetus is in a human it couldn't be a frog. With that thought in mind, abortion should always be considered murder, because at any time in the pregnancy the fetus is always human. Here's a thought, a woman is driving to an abortion clinic to have an abortion. She stops to get a soda, and a gunman shoots her in the belly. The baby dies tragically. Will the shooter be tried for murder? I imagine yes is the answer. Next scenario, the same woman drives directly to the abortion clinic and has an abortion. No one is tried at all. How can this possibly be right?

Commenter: Candace
Stop Abortions...We have become so comfortable with the Killimg of Babies...Wake up People,we were Babies

Commenter: Keith
Newman wins! The debate on late-term abortion is swiftly conquered with one point - there is no such thing as a medically necessary abortion on a viable fetus. Ms. Page's example falls tragically short of a medically necessary late-term abortion. One fails to see how an abortion procedure, which Mr. Tiller took 3 days to complete, would improve the adult patient's health in any significantly greater measure compared to a 3 minute delivery by C-section.

Even in a hypothetical case in which one might argue that a vaginal delivery would be necessary, we fail to see any improved level of safety in vaginal abortion. The methods of choice for late-term abortionists are partial-birth abortion or saline injection followed by stillbirth. The debate was over before it started. There is simply no reason to kill the fetus before delivery.

The next set of questions deal with the impact of abortion. Mr. Newman was successful in pointing to the overwhelming evidence in support of the negative impact of abortion on a woman's mental and physical health. Ms. Page responds with distraction.

Nevertheless, her argument fails because pro-life organizations are considerably more involved in the avoidance of unplanned pregnancies (i.e. avoiding sexual promiscuity, the root cause). Ms. Page believes that contraception is the key to reducing unplanned pregnancies. However, she is also aware of two important facts: 1. From the onset of hormonal birth control and sex education programs in American society the numbers of unplanned pregnancies, single parent homes, and abortions have skyrocketed. It is a direct correlation. 2. Hormonal birth control acts as an abortifacient which is a violation of pro-life principles. She is demanding an absurdity by asking pro-lifers to abandon their position and join the mission of organizations like Planned Parenthood.

In the last section, Ms. Page engages in ad hominem -- trying to link Troy's organization to the acts of a vigilante. Mr. Roeder could have easily researched the whereabouts of George Tiller in the phone book or on the abortion center's website. Op. Rescue had no reason to suspect Mr. Roeder of any illegal activity. Ms. Pages knows this, but ignores the obvious. The organization is in no need of "transformation," Op. Rescue has always stood on the principles of equal protection for all life born and preborn.

And lastly, Facebook friends? Seriously? Why would you believe that he does anything other than except all requests? So because he is friends with several pro-abortion-choice advocates he agrees with them as well? Weak.

Commenter: Jackie
Cristina made many excellent points and clearly had a good understanding of the issue involving a woman's right to choose. The most pertinent point she made was to question her opponent's efforts at assisting with contraception efforts. What has the pro-life movement done to assist poor women with avoiding unwanted pregnancies? Affluent white women have had access to abortion even prior to legalization. Isn't it interesting how men like Troy seem to be so keen on telling women how to conduct their lives. To be fair, the poll my be slightly biased given that participants may be more liberal and formally educated.

Commenter: Marj
I'm impressed by Page's sensitivity to Newman's side of things. She pointed out good ways that Newman could strengthen the non-violent image of his organisation, which he brushed off almost offhandedly. He's so focused on his message that he forgets to protect the legitimacy of his organisation's image, something that will greatly affect how his message is received. And as noted before, he completely ignored her point about birth control.

Newman may not advocate violence himself, but enough 'pro-lifers' do that they're the ones most people associate with the movement. Those with the loudest voices get heard, and if Newman thinks a simple 'we had nothing to do with this' will wash that taint away, he is very mistaken.

[jaded tone]Of course, willful ignorance seems to be a common theme among pro-life activists.[/jaded]

Commenter: Patricia Goodrich
Troy Newman answers the questions with "glittering generalities", with one "easy" answer to a very complex dilemma for women. Cristina Page answers them with the knowledge and experience of having listened to women and their husbands who have made the very difficult decision to end a late-term pregnancy.
Also Cristina's point of focusing on providing women with the means to prevent unwanted pregnancies was totally ignored by Mr. Newman. After all, it does take two to produce a pregnancy. Where is Mr. Newman's call for more sexual responsibility by men?

Commenter: Anonymous
This software does not seem to preclude multiple voting from the same IP or browser. While multiple people might share the same IP or browser, this reduces the value of the poll's results to nothing.

Commenter: Dick Sleeper
Murder under any other name is still murder.

Commenter: Holydust
I wasn't aware that 450 votes represented the majority opinion of Americans -- were you?

Why host a debate if you're just going to decide who wins beforehand? Is it really a debate if the only people who get their votes counted are the people who are going to vote for your man?

You people amaze me.

Commenter: Paul
Cristina Page: Terrorism is the intentional intimidation or use of violence against others by a person or persons for the purpose of imposing a belief on them.

Translation: Abortion is the intentional intimidation or use of VIOLANCE against an in utero HUMAN BEING by a person or persons for the purpose of imposing a belief on them!

Intellectual honesty requires the acknowledgement of an in utero HUMAN BEING as a HUMAN BEING. Until we are able to start with honesty, nothing else of the discussion has the foundation wherewith to stand.

Commenter: Maggotpunk
Troy Newman has declared victory despite the poll showing Page with 94% of the vote. Newman just can't get enough of himself.

Commenter: Donna Hall
The NOW program run last Friday night on the issues raised once again by Dr. Tiller's tragic death is a horrific reminder of the daily fears that doctors who help women face daily when others who disagree take violent steps to prevent them from performing their work.

Every woman has the right to determine her own important life decisions, regardless of whether someone else disagrees.

Maria Hinojosa is a terrific journalist who is sticking her neck out on a daily basis to cover important and distressing stories. I hope that she is treasured by women for speaking our truths.

Commenter: Christina
Anti-abortion activists should learn something about the real-world circumstances of abortion before touting absolutist principles based in the sexist tradition of valuing women only as incubators for potential men. Forced pregnancy and childbirth are torture. Where is the "compassion" the anti-abortion crowd claims when they insist a woman must risk her own life to deliver a dying fetus? A pity their "mercy" is a limited contract, lasting only until birth, and a pity it protects only those who need protection least: feti, who lack awareness of their own existence and are therefore the least able to suffer.

Commenter: One Eyed Jack
David writes:

"This "poll" was sand bagged. But in the pro-abortion world ignorance is bliss. Pro-aborts always deny chemistry, biology and embryology to try to substantiate the execution of babies. Neo-Nazis to the max."

Goodwin's Law has been invoked. I'm sorry, but you fail.

Commenter: Steve Barton
I have always been amazed at how "vocal" men can be regarding abortion. NO man will ever be faced with the prospect of dealing with having an abortion. If a woman does not want an abortion fine, don't get one. The idea that "we" know what is best for others is crazy!

Commenter: wp
Well done, Cristina Page! Very insightful arguments!

Commenter: An actual biologist
Dr. Baumgartner needs to update his knowledge of developmental biology (not embryology, that is a totally outdated term). Human life is a CYCLE, it "began" millions of years ago. The question is whether fetuses are human beings with full human rights. Development is a continuous process, so the choice of any particular time as the most important moment is necessarily arbitrary. If someone chooses egg/sperm fusion as THE important stage, that's fine, but it's a philosophical position, not a biological one. Also, the statement that "All this new being needs to grow and develop is nutrition and a warm place to grow" shows a deep ignorance of human reproductive biology. Most fertilized human eggs are inviable, primarily due to chromosomal imbalances, so the majority either fail to implant (thus no pregnancy ever starts) or they miscarry.

Commenter: Robufo2000
Troy Newman actually did win this. The far left site Pharyngula has fornicated this poll. They excell in fornicating things they do not understand and cannot comprehend. The site often portrays a violent hatred toward Christianity, creationists, and conservatives in general.

be warned PBS, you have been fornicated by Pahryngula. Congradualtions Mr. Newman. You won long before the leftist nuts showed up.

Commenter: random
It's amazing that you can take a horde of hateful racists, bigots and self-righteous loons who's goal in life is to cram their personal beliefs down as many people's throats as possible, give them the label "pro-life" and a fuzzy organizational name, then all of a sudden they're perfectly respectable people in society...

It doesn't work that way. When you bully, threaten and stalk people, encouraging bodily harm to be done to them, you're not "saving lives" or "voicing your beliefs." You're still the same self absorbed, ignorant degenerate who's trying to quench his thirst for blood and power.

Of course I know this observation will do nothing to sway the likes of Newman or Terry since their concrete skulls are far too thick and their egos are far too expansive.

Commenter: cw
Why can a women kill her own FAMILY MEMBER?
Why is her soul so dark and her heart so empty?

Commenter: Thunder
If life starts at conception, what happens to all of the fetuses that are spontaniously aborted by the females body? This occures in 40% of all conceptions worldwide. Most women have no idea they aborted a baby because it was never a viable embryo.

Commenter: Leslie N Anderson
Honestly, most of you whom support abortion wouldn't be able to eat a hamburger after watching a cow go to slaughter let alone participate in something like an abortion. that 10 week glob of tissue has arms legs and a heart beat. Call it a fetus if you like and that makes you feel better about yourself. Besides how come is a baby if its wanted and a fetus if its not? America home of the ignorant and opinionated.

Commenter: George
'Biologically, embryologically, and genetically, one thing is certain: There is a no more pivotal moment in the subsequent growth and development of a human being than when 23 chromosomes of the father join 23 chromosomes of the mother to form a unique, biologically separate individual, with a gender, that had previously simply not existed. All this new being needs to grow and develop is nutrition and a warm place to grow. Although sociologists, economists, philosophers, and politicians like to debate on when human life begins, embryologists have no debate on when human life begins.'

Biologically speaking, a fertilized egg is life, but not a human being. It is also the case that a sperm is life, as is an unfertilized ovum. So, if you're trying to argue that abortion is wrong because it ends a life, then so is conception - because it ends two lives in order to create a third.

As for your claim that, 'all this new being needs to grow and develop is nutrition and a warm place to grow', this is also true of the bacteria left on my kitchen worktop after I cook. Does this mean I shouldn't clean it, as this constitutes murder?

Commenter: Rick Pikul
My advice for Mr. Newman should he choose to participate in further debates of this format:

Going off on wild tangents, and not addressing the questions actually asked, are a good way of letting your opponent win by default.

When she tears you to shreds even on your tangents, that just makes it worse for you.

Commenter: Greg Hansen
If PBS wants to insure that a debate is won by the side that you support, always give the last comment to the individual that takes YOUR side.

Commenter: Crowhed
From reading the KS stats page Troy linked, all abortions of viable pregnancies were done for significant health risks to the mother (2008 preliminary report). Quite contrary to his opening statement. Quite dishonest.

Commenter: David
This "poll" was sand bagged. But in the pro-abortion world ignorance is bliss. Pro-aborts always deny chemistry, biology and embryology to try to substantiate the execution of babies. Neo-Nazis to the max.

Commenter: Glen
If Christians want the right to tell other people what is moral, I reserve the right to tell Christians that the foundational principles of their religion are disgusting and irrational.

Commenter: Jester
Very clear thinking on Cristina's part. Troy - not so much.

Commenter: We Report - You Decide
Hey - How come PBS and Fox News whether liberals or otherwise refuse to SHOW the public what abortion is?

Bill O'Reilly on FOX has spent the past week complaining he has been attacked for calling Tiller "Tiller the Killer" - he says it is a "NO SPIN ZONE" yet - he spins every day he mentions abortion by NOT showing the babies who are aborted. CENSORSHIP !

Perhaps we could end all this by LOOKING at what is actually being done.

Check it our here:

Commenter: Abortion Doctors Speak
Dennis Christensen (abortionist):
Wisconsin State Journal, Women need control over birth choice, physician says: 3-4-2001

Quote: "At the point where the fetus becomes viable is a reasonable point where the mother should accept responsibility for the pregnancy..."I still believe, even after a woman could deliver, this is still a decision that should be made by a woman on her own, based on the circumstances of her own life."

Does a fetus have any rights to its body? "Not until it's born," he said flatly.

James Koch, board member of Planned Parenthood:
Boston Globe, Disagreement within abortion-rights ranks, 1-16-1990

(Commenting on a proposed amendment that would legalize late term abortions).

Quote: "I would perhaps be happier if there were less latitude beyond 24 weeks, with better spelling out of the circumstances under which a termination could take place after that time."

Phillip G. Stubblefield, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Maine Medical Center former president, National Abortion Federation:
LA Times, The Abortions of Last Resort, 1-7-1990

Quote: "I personally will admit that I do find it difficult and painful (to do an abortion in the latter part of the second trimester)...There is the feeling that one is close to viability, and this is something that at some point is wrong."

Richard Hausknecht, abortionist:
Portland Press Herald (Maine),Doctors speak bluntly about late-term abortion: 5-23-1997

Quote: ''There are a large number of second trimester terminations in this country and they are of two versions... There are the women who have seriously abnormal pregnancies, and then the larger group, who are usually young or indigent.''

Stanton Goldstein, former medical director of Planned Parenthood in Massachusetts:
Boston Globe, Disagreement within abortion-rights ranks, 1-16-1990 and USA Today, Mass. Planned Parenthood chief quits, 4-18-1990

Goldstein resigned from Planned Parenthood over their position on late term abortions.

Quote: "I'm against this referendum as it legalizes abortion up to delivery. I cannot think of a single reason for aborting a healthy baby."

''I cannot support an amendment which legalizes destructive procedures of a healthy fetus in the third trimester.''

Commenter: jb
Gerry wrote:
>Ultra conservatives and extreme fundamentalist, seem
>to me, to always find that things are black and white.

I'm convinced it's because they're actually the sith.

Commenter: Abortion Abolitionist
What a joke this survey is. Troy was obviously winning and then PBS just couldn't stand that a pro-life person was winning. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Commenter: JustJoeP
online polls are inherently inaccurate

Commenter: rnelsonbrown
In any reasonable society, all individual rights must be respected. In this case, a mother's rights along with the unborn, must be taken into consideration.

I believe that as we march forward as a society, the need for abortion will become less and less as we strive to rid ourselves of the factors that make abortion necessary. Until that day, the rights of the mother must be paramount to those of the unborn, for who is to look after the unborn if there are no mothers.

Commenter: TheMerryHeathen
You have been Pharyngulated, feel our power.

Commenter: Bean
Newman's arguments are fraught with logical fallacies, e.g.:

"Social justice begins in the womb or it does not exist at all."

False Dichotomy.

Commenter: Nils Ross
To the "Abortion is murder, period" crowd: this is simply a matter of definition. I could equally define the death of a mother because of late-term pregnancy complications murder BY the foetus. You can define anything you like involving death to be murder. It doesn't have to make sense.

Moral absolutism is either cowardice or stupidity. If you're incapable of making reasonable judgements about the real moral and practical complications involved in and distinguishing murder, self defence, war, justice, abortion, euthanasia, and so on, then you should comment less and think for yourself more.

Incidentally, I don't doubt that many of the Pharyngula readers who crashed this poll did so just because PZ Myers thought it would be a good idea. Many, however, really thought Page had a better argument and a more defensible point of view. Irrespective, the issue here is that internet polls aren't a good way of establishing what people really think, since the sample size is so small that an interest group CAN crash them. This is precisely the point Myers is making every time he asks his readers to do just that.

Commenter: Carl
Cristina Page brings up some really good arguments.

Commenter: Robert
Biologically, embryologically, and genetically, one thing is certain: There is a no more pivotal moment in the subsequent growth and development of a human being than when 23 chromosomes of the father join 23 chromosomes of the mother to form a unique, biologically separate individual, with a gender, that had previously simply not existed. All this new being needs to grow and develop is nutrition and a warm place to grow. Although sociologists, economists, philosophers, and politicians like to debate on when human life begins, embryologists have no debate on when human life begins.

Commenter: Logicel
Ms Page is intelligent, clear-headed, and compassionate while the very creepy Newman is brimming with lies, misinformation, and confirmation bias. No wonder Christianity is losing followers fast and furious, with 'model' Christians like Newman, they don't need enemies.

Commenter: Logicel
I was shocked at Newman's lies and confirmation bias. Christianity has many things going against it and are losing followers--no wonder if Newman is your typical Christian. What a creepy, disgusting, and immoral person is Newman.

Ms. Page on the other hand, was compassionate, intelligent, and informed.

Commenter: Sasha Lee, MD
Biologically and physiologically, one thing is certain. The uterus belongs to the woman, not the embryo/fetus developing within it. The uterus has the woman's DNA in it. The embryo/fetus is merely a passenger. While a woman may donate that space to another life form developing there if that is her CHOICE, she has every right to refuse. It's her body.

Theists have the ridiculous notion that once two strands of DNA fuse, this new cell of nucleotides, lipids, and protein is magically infused with a soul and it's a person to be protected. You think they should be protesting against in vitro fertilization and fertility clinics.

Theists say that a single celled zygote, mere biological life without the neuro-architecture to think and perceive, has more rights over someone else's body, the uterus of a fully grown adult host who that can think and perceive. We have heard their arguments and it is plainly nonsense.

Commenter: Mads
Reading Trpy Newman is like looking into the darkness of a society who puts arbitrary principles above the welfare and well-being of the people living in the society. A society who does not care abot the suffering of it's people. On top of that Troy Newmans statements about late term abortion is done to viable chldren is simply a lie. Let it be known that Troy Newman is either lying or that he does not know the first thing about what he is talking about, in which case: why is anybody listening to him?

Commenter: musubk
"Biologically, embryologically, and genetically, one thing is certain: There is a no more pivotal moment in the subsequent growth and development of a human being than when 23 chromosomes of the father join 23 chromosomes of the mother to form a unique, biologically separate individual ... Although sociologists, economists, philosophers, and politicians like to debate on when human life begins, embryologists have no debate on when human life begins."

One word for your 'chromosomes join to form a unique individual' assertion: dizygotic twins.
Okay, it was two words, one term. Either way, you're either arguing that fully grown dizygotic adult humans are one single individual instead of two individuals, or you need to go back to med school, or most likely you need to stop letting your religious beliefs get in the way of your logic.

Commenter: Rich
Troy Newman said "all abortionists murder children."

Since he has just accused millions of American women of being participants in the act of premeditated homicide, I wish someone would ask him exactly what penalty he would prescribe as punishment for their crime.

Should these women be sentenced to a prison term of 25 years to life? Life without possibility of parole? The death penalty? If not, why not? These are common sentences for others who are convicted of first degree murder.

If he and the other forced birth proponents are not prepared subject women who have abortions to the laws governing homicide, then perhaps he should stop calling them murderers.

Commenter: a concerned parent
More religious families should have abortions. That would cut down on the amount of stupidity in the world. Who's with me? Mandatory abortions for the religious!

Commenter: RN retired
Abortion is an industry, is corrupt and evil.
This child killing is murder, kills an innocent child and wounds a mother grievously, even kills her.
All society is affected.
The laws of nature, of God are clear and simple:
Not to commit adultry, sex outside of marriage and not to kill, murder.
Today's culture of death attacks the sacredness of life, family and society, civilization by Satan and the evil who seek the suffering, ruin, destruction and death of mankind.

Commenter: Leah Clare Tharpe De Batty
Abortion is legal and it will go on with natural people ....only the supernatural can change these people....

Commenter: David Mitchell
Uphold the law.

Commenter: Brock
@Fritz Baumgartner,MD: Biochemically, there is no single point when the chromosomes combine. DNA doesn't instantaneously assemble, it requires enzymes to unzip it and match up new sets of base pairs. Thermodynamics and kinetics don't go out the window; it takes time and there's possibility for errors. Perhaps in the future, medicines will be developed to correct errors within that *window of conception* and thus cut down on birth defects. But your characterization of that span of time as a single point is misleading and gives the impression that embryology is separate from other sciences, when it's really quite dependent on underlying biology and chemistry.

Commenter: Brock
Ms. Page made it painfully obvious how worthless Operation Rescue is by their failure to even *mention* prevention of unwanted pregnancies. Troy has zero ground upon which to complain that abortion is a supposed act of murder against "inconvenient" humans when his organization takes no steps whatsoever to prevent the situation in the first place.

Commenter: Q
No individual has the right to employ the body of another individual against their will to support their own life. For the same reason an individual cannot be compelled to donate organs, a woman cannot be compelled to use her body to support a fetus (even if one conceded the fetus constituted a person, which is clearly not the case). The single greatest right an individual has is dominion over their own body.

The religious objectors should do as commanded and leave final judgment to their deity. One might note however, that this deity would apparently endorse abortions given the incidence of natural miscarriage and a marked absence of divine interventions to prevent either natural or medical abortions. This should come as no surprise to adherents of the Abrahamic faiths given Yahweh's murder of infants and children in the flood, the demand for Isaac's murder, the command to slaughter Amalekite children and infants and the slaughter of the children who dared mock Elisha. Talk about moral relativism...

Commenter: Pancho
I first encountered Troy Newman when he used his "Truth Truck" to repeatedly and dangerously block a peace march from the Mennonite Bethel College Campus to the town square in Newton. He loudly blew a trumpet to drown out the hymns and chants of the protesters on 2/15/03, just weeks before Bush invaded Iraq. At the square, he used his bullhorn to try to drown out the speakers at the rally.

In the last six years, I've regularly witnessed the vile behavior of his crew, abusing women seeking medical services, stalking clinic workers, terrorizing their escorts.

Cheryl Sullenger, the "senior advisor" for his wretched bunch, was in regular contact with Roeder before the assassination. She did two years for plotting to bomb a California women's clinic.

Shelly Shannon another OR operative, confessed to arsons of and acid attacks on clinics. She is doing time for firing many shots at Tiller and hitting him in both arms, while attempting to murder him.

His comrades in arms include Operation Save America's defrocked Wichita Spirit One Christian Center's pastor Mark Holick, recently arrested for attacks on gays, and Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church "God Hates Fags" cult, who picket GIs' funerals. Both groups were disrupting vigils and Tiller's funeral. Both proudly spew the most loathesome tirades against Catholics, Jews, Muslims immigrants, etc. In fact, anyone who does not belong to their cults is considered by them to be an unbeliever to whom they wish death.

Should anyone believe a single word Newman says? I don't know why anyone should.

Commenter: Joshua Lucht
This was enlightening to say the least.

Dr. Tiller, thank you for the lives you saved and sleep well.

Commenter: Dylan G.
Page took this debate, hands down. George Tiller never killed any "children" as Troy states. He killed a lot of fetuses. Fetus != Person

Commenter: Cedric Katesby
The decision to have or not have an abortion should be a free choice strictly between a woman and her doctor.

Commenter: Fritz Baumgartner,MD
Biologically, embryologically, and genetically, one thing is certain: There is a no more pivotal moment in the subsequent growth and development of a human being than when 23 chromosomes of the father join 23 chromosomes of the mother to form a unique, biologically separate individual, with a gender, that had previously simply not existed. All this new being needs to grow and develop is nutrition and a warm place to grow. Although sociologists, economists, philosophers, and politicians like to debate on when human life begins, embryologists have no debate on when human life begins.

Commenter: Ken
Yes, Rev D. (reverend?) Thou Shalt Not Kill should be universal shouldn't it? There was no list of exceptions on the tablet were there?

... Except of course where killing to support and spread the Xtian cult is involved of course. That's ALWAYS a good thing as western history shows.

The hypocrisy of Xtians is never ending.

Commenter: MIchael
The strategy of the religious seems to be win by redefining the terms. By defining what is "Medically necessary" rather than leaving that decision to the doctors, they can then set the parameters of the arguement.

The medical/legal community has decided, based on the current evidence, that the interests of the fetus begins to outweigh the interests of the host at 24 weeks. If a person disagrees, if a person's religion states something different, SHE is free to choose. THAT is the CHOICE issue.

Certain religions claim that birth control (such as condoms) is tantamount to abortion because it prevents conception. Can they bomb Wal-Mart because of the "murder" caused by their prophylactics?

We are a SECULAR society, not a THEOCRACY, but a segment of our society is pushing to codify it's beliefs into law. They were unable to win through legitimate means, so they resort to semantics, half-truths, outright lies, threats, and "shock images" to get their way.

Commenter: Mark
Gotta love how Cristina praises Troy and his organisation for opposing violence, and urges him to continue to do so, and to "de-escalate the rhetoric" then Troy goes on the defensive saying that "Accusations that our rhetoric caused the slaying are untrue and only serve to inflame emotions" only to quickly move onto comparisons to the Virginia Tech shooting, a generalisation about postal workers, a reference to 9/11, and finally the ludicrous quip that "all abortionists murder children." Thanks Troy, good job on the de-escalation of rhetoric. Way to highlight your hypocrisy.

Commenter: Mike
Abortion is not murder. Supporters of the anti-abortion movement are encouraging real murder.

Commenter: Alabama
There will always be a disconnect between many in these two groups.

FIRST-Anti abortion (pro-life) or whatever "name" you wish to apply talks as if all pregnancies where equivalent to walking, talking people or bouncing grinning babies.

Surprising as it may sound, not everyone shares that opinion. I'm not saying they're wrong or right, but they seem to forget that they take this position for granted. There are many that are in between, and would consider these fetuses (at least at an early enough stage) more than "a choice", but less than a person.

SECOND there are some in the pro-choice (or anti-life if that makes you feel better) who see any oversight as an infringment, but they don't understand how passionate some people are in (as they see it) defending innocent life.

Arguments like this deny the middle, which is where most of us fall.

I think a better analogy would be war.
No one except extremists welcome it, but most (with some passionate exceptions) would say that there is a time and a place. Most of us can envision legitimate reasons to go to war (although we will never agree completely on when these are met), realizing that ultimately innocent blood will be spilled. We will always strive to avoid an minimize these things. I hope that we never become oblivious to them. But the world is a complicated place and some decisions are hard and unsatisfactory.

Commenter: tell the truth only the pro-choice is doing that
"It is time America faces the truth about late term abortions. They are legal and are being performed for "any reason" in all stages of pregnancy.

Amazing that when your claims are fact checked they are easily debunked.

Also here is the thing the women going to get a late term abortion which is the 24 week are sent by doctors who have to legally explain why the woman needs it. In other words your claims are bs.

Fitzsimmions is a lobbyist not a doctor. Even he admits he has no medical credibiltiy to speak on such matters. He had no evidence to back up his claims. He said it was a guess based on talks with providers.

Btw late term third trimester abortions are less then .1 of all abortions. Funny how you people neglect that fact.

Commenter: only one side the pro-choice tells truth.
"wish the truth would be told by the media about the numbers of Late Term abortions done for "personal Choice" within the US.

The truth when it is told makes the pro-lifers look like nimrods. Late term abortions are done for the following reasons, health of the mother (since guess what pregnancy and birth are the number one killers of women worldwide, more then accidents, murder, disease) insect, rape, the baby is still born or would die at birth or shortly after and the medical costs would bankrupt the family.

Hilarous that those ads are for medical clincs that guess what don't charge money for to save a woman's life. There is no such thing as teh abortion industry nor do they make money.

If they were interested in making money then they wouldn't perform abortions.

Commenter: Robufo2000
The far left hate site Pharyngula is openly fornicating this poll like it does so many others.

PBS, you have been fornigulated.

Commenter: Jack Kerouac
There are acceptable arguments to be made from both sides. I don't think it can ever be absolutely decided one way or the other. Thus, in a free society the default position on any issue must be freedom, which means choice. If an issue has no clear answer, we must defer the case to each man or woman's conscience and leave it there. If you disagree with abortion, if it stirs your conscience, then fine; but, your conscience, your values, cannot deny another citizen of his or her right to make a choice. This is a difficult thing for many people to do, but once you start taking another man or woman's rights, the slope starts getting slippery. The default is freedom. If you wish to deny another citizen of a right, it rests with the anti-choicers to make an irrefutable case based on reason and science, not on subjective values and religion. Since that cannot be done, the default is choice.

Commenter: TechSkeptic
I simply don't believe pro-lifers mean what they say.

Commenter: Alethias
They seem like two opponents that are very familiar with each other, and very adept at talking past each other.

I value the life of the baby, and I value the choice of the mother. It is horrific to terminate the life of the baby, and it is also horrific to in effect enslave the mother by denying her personal choice and sovereignty over her own body. Troy Newman doesn't seem to be willing to address the horror of enslaving pregnant women to the needs of the state, and Cristina Page doesn't seem willing to address a reasonable horror at terminating a pre-birth baby.

Both are horrible. I'd love to see a couple of debaters that would be willing to set aside their personal vituperance and try to understand and address the viewpoints of their opponents. Sorry, but I'm not seeing that here.

Commenter: Rea
If the "spark of life" is so "precious" then could you please start concerning yourself with the 6 billion "precious" lives that already exist. Giving up on their lives once they are born in favor of a jumble of pre-human cells is not what I would call "pro-life".

Commenter: Steve R.
Women can't be trusted with an issue of such importance. They often make hasty decisions without thinking of the feelings of those around them. I applaud Mr. Newmans efforts to correct the way our society deals with this rather simple issue.

Commenter: Susan
All abortion decisions should be made by the woman, with input and advice from her doctor. It's a private matter. Also, all abortions should be performed in hospitals. Do you know which of your neighbors is having an appendectomy today? Does your community have any say in your heart surgery? Abortions are NO ONE ELSE'S business, either-- and when we get decent universal health care in this country, perhaps women will finally have the privacy for this decsion that we have the *right* to.

Commenter: Peter
I'm always amazed at how so-called pro-life advocates never consider the consequences of their decisions. Cristina Page made a strong case for protecting the lives of pregnant women. Troy Newman seems to remain willfully ignorant and unmoved by any kind of facts or reasoned argument.

Commenter: speaking for the innocent
Why not call a spade a spade. When pro-death people speak of a right to choose, ask "a right to choose what" Just finish the statement . A right to choose murder!

Commenter: xalisae
By the way, I happen to be a young, female, atheist pro-lifer who would appreciate an end to the stereotyping of all pro-lifers as old, white, christian males. I'm getting quite sick of it, to be honest.

Commenter: xalisae
Wow, when it said "NOW: See a gallery of alarming images from anti-abortion websites", I thought they meant pictures of the results of the abortion procedure. Personally, I find the end result of an abortion to be infinitely more disturbing, disgusting, and alarming than anything shown in this little slide show of theirs. I can't believe that to some people, simply stating truth about another person's vocation is "alarming", but the thousands of dead humans the person creates in a lifetime is just fine and dandy.

Commenter: Diane
Anti-life = pro-abort.

The inhumane killing of MILLIONS of innocent defenseless human beings is the real act of terrorism!

Those who support abortion are anti-life because they have no problem with KILLING the life of the unborn child!

Those who support abortion can NEVER back up their de-humanizing comments with medical and scientific facts!

It comes down to educating yourself about the truth...because IGNORANCE is also a "choice."

Commenter: Mary
The issue here is that abortion is racism.The majority of abortions are done by blacks and hispanics. It is time that we make the connection between abortion and racism.When your people are trying to be exterminated then you can talk.Check about the Negro Project by Sanger and planned parenthood.
The purpose of this web site is to expose the disproportionate amount of Black babies destroyed by the abortion industry. For every two African American women that get pregnant one will choose to abort.
A Black baby is 5 times more likely to be killed in the womb than a White baby.Between 1882 and 1968, 3,446 Blacks were lynched in the U.S. That number is surpassed in less than 3 days by abortion.

1,452 African-American children are killed each day by the heinous act of abortion.

3 out of 5 pregnant African-American women will abort their child.

Since 1973 there has been over 13 million Black children killed and their precious mothers victimized by the U.S. abortion industry.
Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America. 78% of their clinics are in minority communities. Blacks make up 12% of the population, but 35% of the abortions in America. Are we being targeted? Isn't that genocide? We are the only minority in America that is on the decline in population. If the current trend continues, by 2038 the black vote will be insignificant. Did you know that the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a devout racist who created the Negro Project designed to sterilize unknowing black women and others she deemed as undesirables of society? The founder of Planned Parenthood said, "Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated." Is her vision being fulfilled today?

Commenter: J.K.
From the website Newman cites, saying that no post-viability abortions were performed to save the life of the mother:

100% of post-viability abortions in Kansas that are provided were performed because "the patient would suffer substantial and irreversible impairment of major bodily function if she were forced to continue the pregnancy" (, the stats of post-22 week abortions starts on page 8).

Commenter: Tell the Truth about Later Term Abortions
I wish the truth would be told by the media about the numbers of Late Term abortions done for "personal Choice" within the US.

Check out the ads that the abortion industry advertises their "Late Term" Killings under, after all MONEY TALKS, huh?

Commenter: A Weeks
No one else business.

Commenter: Carole
It is time America faces the truth about late term abortions. They are legal and are being performed for "any reason" in all stages of pregnancy.

In 1997, Pro-choice spokesperson, Ron Fitzsimmons of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers (NCAP) Told Nightline this about the number of late term abortions being done, "The majority of these procedures are performed in the late second trimester on healthy women and healthy fetuses. That's -- the law allows that. Women come in at that point unfortunately, for whatever reason, seeking abortion services. We estimate that approximately 3,000 to 5,000 are performed in the United States on an annual basis." ( NCAP is an organization of abortionists).

The Bergen (NJ) Record interviewed an abortion clinic employee in 1996 who admitted that "Most (late-term abortions) are for elective, not medical, reasons: people who didn't realize, or didn't care, how far along they were." (This person was employed by a New Jersey clinic that performs at least 1,500 partial-birth).

In 1990, The LA Times asked, Anne Walshe who is an abortion clinic administrator in Manhattan, her view on late term abortions and she replied, "What's the difference? Abortion is abortion. The nice folks who are debating this, who want to draw the line and put a limit on gestational age, will just be putting a restriction on poor women. Women who want abortions get them...These women know they are pregnant, but not until the 16th or 17th week, when the fetus is kicking and bothering them, do they say, 'Oh, I have to deal with this,' " she says. "It's not that these women are bad, or they're wrong. They're just poor. They don't lead organized, routine lives." Walsh's clinic does as many as 16,000 abortions a year. At least half are performed during the second trimester.

And to respond to the lie that few abortionists do late term abortions, listen to late-term abortionist, Warren Hern's response to the New York Times in 2000: (Responding to the competitive business of late term abortion). "The startling thing to me was that a very large room was filled -- packed. Twenty years ago, there were just two or three doctors in the country doing late abortions."

Commenter: Daniel
"The third case [of a second trimester abortion] was a pro-life, Christian couple who decided to abort when pre-natal testing revealed Down Syndrome."

My uncle Chris had Down's Syndrome. He enriched the life of my family incalculably. He lived a full, joyous life and died in his 50's. A family who cuts up or otherwise kills a human fetus with Down's Syndrome is neither "pro-life" nor Christian.

Commenter: Mark N
I find it funny how people call someone who disagrees with them stupid. How someone finds 55% of PBS voters stupid, because it goes against what they believe. I find it funny how people think only their beliefs are the ONLY belief. Why do people not get as upset over Private Long as Dr. Tiller's? Dr. Tillers is supposedly "inflamed" by Right Wing Press(Fox News and others). Private Longs is supposedly by Left Wing coverage of Iraq War. He said it himself, he killed a military man because of killing Islamic people in Iraq. I do not think he was ever in Iraq, but his only view was media coverage, which neglects good thing happening in Iraq. I have seen many good things in Iraq myself in MANY Photos.

I think it very hypocritical to say if you don't believe as I do, you are wrong. I think it speaks of a little mind. I have ALWAYS tried to see things from both sides.

I think it boils down to we as a society can not take responsibility for our actions, we look for others to blame. We can not accept that someone is so insane that he will kill Dr. Tiller or Private Long. We want to find our opponent in our belief to be at fault. We don't want to accept that someone can not think for him/her self. Both these murders were committed by people with insane thoughts. You could argue, probably rightly, that seeing someones view being the same as yours, strengthens you insane tendencies. Bill O didn't take gun and shoot Dr. Tiller, but maybe killer saw his show and just helped him "rationalized (in killer's mind)" the killing of Dr. Tiller. We need to accept our ideas are OUR ideas and someone can not brain wash us into killing someone.

I have a question. If a pregnant women gets murdered it will be listed as two murders. If I was defendant and found out women was on her way to appointment at a clinic to terminate pregnancy could I get off on babies murder? Baby was going to die anyways. I would imagine this sounds crazy, but why does it? Why is it human life in one case, when women is murdered. And not human life in an abortion clinic? It is either human life or it is not. We can not pick and choose when it is human life. It is human life when we want to get murderer in prison longer. It is just a piece of tissue when it is a problem in woman's life.

I personally believe that technology is helping the pro life movement. If you can see baby as a baby and not just tissue, it puts a face on it. It humanizes it. I was not a huge pro life person until I watch a documentary on Discovery Channel (I think) called something "life in the womb". The showed human development thru 3D imaging (ultrasound?). Prior to watching that show I just thought was just a "dead" tissue. I watched baby move and such his thumb and many other things. They interesting part the baby looked more "human" than I thought at a very young age.

Commenter: Mike N
I am Pro-Life and Pro War on Terror. I have heard many things over the years, but with Dr. Tiller being killed about the same time as Private Long really go to show how media is VERY biased and DO NOT report things balanced. Even PBS Now shows itself as biased, because it talks about how Tiller Killing and Holocaust Museum, (both so called Right Wing extremist), but fail to even mention Left Wing extremist Private Long killing. All the killings are horrible things. Abortion goes along with main stream media. War / Military goes AGAINST with main stream media. Tiller was killed by Right wing extremist and covered heavily. Private Long gets killed by Left Wing extremist and media seems to want to down play, because they are against the war. Private Long was killed by Islamic Terrorist, Home grown (US Citizen). Dr. Tiller was killed by home grown person as well. Both killings scare me VERY MUCH. I could be in drug store that has condoms and day after pills and wacko attacks story with me in it and I get killed. Some Islamic terrorist gets nuclear bomb and takes out my home town and I just hope I am close to epicenter and pain is quick. I hate to die of radiation poisoning after weeks of suffering. People are sure living in Pre 9/11 era and should be living in Post 9/11 era. Everyone seems to want to believe that Pres. Bush created terrorism and created terrorist that want to kill Americans. What people are forgeting, including Pres. Obama, is we have been attacked 2 or 3 times prior to 9/11/01, by Islamic Terrorist that I know of. 1 - USS Cole. 2 - WTC 2 times (including 9.11.01). I think some US Embassy in foreign country was attacked as well. What people fail to remember is Islamic Terrorist did not start attacking us after Iraq War, then have been attacking us for YEARS.

Commenter: ccairnes
Abortion is legal. The federal government should require every hospital that receives federal funds to provide abortion services. Doctors need to have cover and hospitals, if required to, will provide it. Medical schools that receive federal funds must teach abortion so it does not come down to a only a few doctors who know how. That is also becoming a problem. Fewer medical professional are willing to step into the line of fire. Abortion is a necessary medical procedure and all medical teaching facilities that receive federal funds should give basic training in it even if the doctor never uses it in practice.

Commenter: Greg
Hello, I get upset when you guy,s cherry pick the isuse on abortion, 99% if not more abortions do not need to be done! but their,s always an excuse to kill a baby right? wrong it,s murder! Hey i love pbs and all ptv i watch more pbs than any other programs but your not fair, alot of your programing is denagrating to this great country, let,s all save the whales,bird,s, animales in trouble save the planet, but for goodness sake let,s murder little babies come on get real, it,s a living humanebeing and that,s the truth!!!

Commenter: jan
The idea that a woman, if faced with carrying an anancephalic fetus, should (be forced?) carry it to term in order to donate it's organs is pretty insensitive, to put it politely. It reduces the mother to little more than an incubator. Being a mother myself, I would think spending months carrying to term a fetus that cannot survive would be an everyday exercise in mental and emotional agony. I would think it quite cruel.

Since you bring up values. My values would be to believe that the mother isn't choosing abortion because she's lazy, ignorant, or doesn't know what she wants or needs. My values would be that she knows what's best for her family and herself and that outsiders have no right to make that decision for her. My values are that she has a right to self-determination.

Commenter: malka
To be pro-life needs to be caring about children AFTER they are born. This movement does not advocate for food, medicine or education to poor or disabled children. As a parent of an autistic child I am hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt funding therapy and being tied up in litigation with a school district that basically warehouses children under unsanitary conditions (i.e. eating off a filfy floor), I don't see any of the "pro-life" people offering assistance. I feel for the women who know they may be pregnant with a disabled child and have to live in misery knowing they do not have the resources to care for this child and yet cannot access an abortion. The "pro-life movement" is really a fanatic narrow minded pro fetus movement that advocates death to anyone or the families of those whose actions disagree with their position which does fit the definition of terrorism.

Commenter: Kathryn RN
Your show was a HUGE disappointment this time! You joined the war and fanned the flames, but did nothing to shed any light on the topic. What we need to understand is WHO (not the names but the stories) are these "poor women who need "these late term abortions so much that a big hearted doctor will risk their own lives. You began to touch on it with one woman with an anancephalic fetus, is this the usual client? As a neonatal nurse, I have seen these infants born and die, often donating a heart of other organs to other infants. WHY would this mother's grief be so served and prioritized as to warrant this procedure?? THese mothers will and do grieve, abortion does not 'fix' that. They need support to endure, but WHY do we need this horrible procedure so much. You need to share with us the specifics of the procedure, is it done with amnioscentesis? It is so painful for the healthcare professionals,to take part in the termination of life, however marred that life be, that there HAS to be enough justification for it to continue. Unfortunately,back when abortion was illegal except when the mother's life was endangered, all she had to do to get one was to get two doctors to state that she was suicidal and she got one. It was not a good solution.
Until there is a full, reasoned dialogue about this topic, there will be nothing but emotional escalation of the 'warfare'. One side is trying to advocate for unborn babies, who have NO voice and are being 'terminated' for WHAT reasons?? THe other side is living with fear and assaults for doing what is legal and the doctors feel is appropriate.
THe issues here are values, choices (better ones for all of us) and even class warfare. If you are sincere about helping us get to the heart of this hot topic, stop fanning the flames with how bad each is treating the other, and address the causes and solutions.

Commenter: Shirley
I wish pro-lifers had respect for female life.
Do they retain, as Christians (snake handlers, Christian Scientists,etc.), the right to refuse medical help to their live children until those children are eighteen, in most states? It used to be that 60-70 children were lost each year but I do not know how to find current statistics.

Commenter: Emily
Is this another case of pro-life orgs sending people over here to vote in favor of their talking head? I just don't see 55% of PBS's readership being stupid enough to think Troy Newman has won this particular debate.

Commenter: wes
Abortion is murder, no amount of eloquent or persuasive speech changes that fact !

Commenter: jan
This is an issue where you vote with what your position on the issue is, not whether they won or lost the argument. That said, Christina has a very strong and valid point. Given the content of links and posts on his website, Mr. Newman cannot wash his hands and claim innocence or expect to be given any credibility.

Commenter: Supporter of Women
As a former rape counselor and medical assistant to an abortion provider, I have never seen a case in which a woman, while drinking her morning coffee, decided it would be fun to spend her day getting an abortion. It is always a difficult, deeply thought-out, and PRIVATE decision. I have seen three cases of second-trimester abortion. One involved a rape victim who did not realize she was pregnant because she continued to have what appeared to be regular menstrual bleeding for four months (this is not particularly unusual). The second case involved a low-income single mother who could barely meet the needs of her severely disabled child and had another disabled child on the way. Without access to Medicaid funding for abortion, she had to delay her abortion until the second trimester while waiting to qualify for funding from a private organization. The third case was a pro-life, Christian couple who decided to abort when pre-natal testing revealed Down Syndrome. There are more constructive ways to prevent or reduce the number of abortions than inciting the mentally ill to kill abortion providers. As Cristina Page said, if people want to lower the abortion rate, they should support birth control. In addition, they should commit themselves to preventing rape. Forcing a rape victim to give birth to a rapist's child dehumanizes all women by reducing them to the status of a fertile field in which any man, no matter how heinous, can plant his seed. To prevent abortions that result from birth defects or conditions that affect the health of the mother, they should support low-cost medical care, particularly pre-natal care, and dedicate themselves to preventing corporate polluters from releasing into the environment substances that cause birth defects or miscarriages. Finally, they should ensure that all workers receive a living wage, so that we can afford to care for our children. These are areas in which pro-choice and pro-life activists should be able to find common ground.

Commenter: Spirit Grieved
How can any Christian 'justify' the murder of any living human being since all are made in the image of God? Hasn't Christ died to offer to all humanity the hope of redemption? Going down this path into a shooting 'culture' war is radicalizing many elements and will divide us further. Murder is dead wrong, especially when you know better.

To be credible, Pro-Life has to stand up as being Pro-Life for all, including being Pro the lives of those advocating Pro-Choice and Planned Parenthood, and all the women they serve, or it doesn't mean anything. The appearance of clandestine paramilitary formation that appears to be going on, possibly within some of Operation Rescue ranks related groups, appears to be based on a seething stream of white hot demonic hate, rather than anything suggesting there is sacrifical and redemptive Christian love for the women and men involved in conceiving new life. And I abjure this demon of hatre to leave now and in it's place let the redemptive Spirit of Love and Gentleness take root!

There's so many other deeds that could be done with love and compassion, to get out a Christian message, without resorting to murder, without speaking words of intolerant judgement, and without radicalizing into despicable public displays of hate and vitriole. The way of non-violence, truth embraced in compassionate love, remains the only legitimate way of advancing a cause in God's name that stands the test of many Centuries. Martin Luther King and Gandhi showed us how God honors this nonviolent path and millions of lives now have chances at making a decent life which previously was denied them.

If radicalized Pro-Lifers really wish to be respected as agents of God's True Love, they'd be passionately doing the truly radical deed of offering every women a positive message of amazing grace class of hope-- they would be on their knees tdeclaring in humility and heartfelt earnest love, that every Pro-Life Christian present is here to stand with her, to see her through, all the way through, and is willing accept full responsibility to step up and provide all the housing, financial and health care support necessary not only to bring the baby to birth but to help the women raise it to adulthood. And they'd better race to do this in their private Christian colleges and schools, since it seems the secret abortion rates are higher there than in public schools, where the stigma of having a child out of wedlock is not deemed so socially ruinous to women.

Sadly, instead of doing what's needed, the women are shamed, condemned and vilified for struggling in their very difficult plight, and for not securing male support that's walked away and hiding, and then must endure the dark valley of losing the support of family and friends, even losing their place in church, school, jobs and social status.

And to make it worse, it even looks like some 'Christian leaders' are giving 'dog whistle signals' indicating to those unstable of mind that God somehow will tolerate or approve of malicious 'punishment', will applaud unspeakable heinous and terrorist acts: the of shooting doctors or nurses in cold blood, the burning or blowing up clinics. They try to deem this as some sort of 'holy' culture war which sometime recently God, to their mind, has secretly authorized. The real crime, the real war, has already happened and over, once women are condemned and isolated for becoming pregnant instead of being supported. I'd rather see the more militant energy directed to picketing the men who impregnate the women and then walk away from shouldering their responsibility, or laws proposed to encourage and support a welcoming environment, embracing the men and women involved in every new life conceived.

I'd rather see fellow Christians clamouring for universal single-payer health care, or begging for a chance to pay for the best private plans to ensure these women get prenatal care, and that all the children get decent health care through school years and into adulthood. And even then, a certain realism is still required. Some women may still require medically necessary abortions due to conditions, complications or illnesses that might perchance arise at any time during pregnancy. The procedure cannot be banned 100%, and safe, caring, and professional clinics will need to be available to address these cases. See, if Pro-Life supporters wish to be taken seriously, this medical necessity case has to be rationally understood and allowed as the medically best outcome of a tragic struggle. And instead focus on providing the responsible parenting and support that actually is Pro-Life.

God approves of love only, for those seeking to be worthy of being called God's Children, demonstrating redemptive, constructive, transforming love, with the gentleness of doves and wisdom that fully perceives the truth of the whole. Anything less is a betrayal, a shameful sin against the Holy Spirit. The shameful images of Pro-life crowds seething in hatred sure looks like a demonic distraction designed to keep 'pro-Life' Christians blinded to what really needs to be done--offering complete support and fully responsible care for these women and children through maturity.

If the 'Pro-Life' groups are not offering deep, caring and abiding love, and persist in failing to demonstrate in actions that they will go the all the distance required to love, fully committing to and supporting every woman through the long and difficult extra miles of birthing and raising a child, then they have not love, and are but a clanging gong or cymbal.

It will take a dedicated, daily, unending effort of sacrificial love to create a supportive long term environment for women experiencing unwanted pregnancy as a terrible struggle or personal disaster or frought with difficult medical conditions. Showing anything less than committed love, and Pro-Life groups cannot realistically be expected to be recognizable as Children of God, or have credibility with the rest of the world. As long as Pro-Lifers continue to use hateful confrontation to deliver their 'message' of judgement, instead of providing truly supportive love, they end up forfeiting the credibility required to claim being God's agents, and instead demonstrate what appears to the world as an intolerant hate and a terrifying desire to restrict women in a totalitarian manner.

What really needs to happen, what God really calls us all to do, is to be 100% Pro-Love, and to be willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to provide this redemptive, transforming, and supportive love that perseveres, endures, and flows sacrificially into Eternity. This could never require gunning down a doctor in church in cold blood. Anything less than this degree of sacrificial Pro-love, and you're not the sort of Christian whom Christ will want include amongst the Sheep. Pro-life groups build palatial church buildings, private schools and camps, but where is the really needed House of Loving Ministry for those in need? Where is the safe, loving, caring and supportive place welcoming of women, considerate of their concerns, worries, and frustrations, deeply compassionate for their sufferings, and only offering honest, faithful, supportive love?

Beat those swords and rework those clubs into the furnishings needed to house and grow precious life to loving maturity. Put away the guns and bombs, and pick up, as commanded by Jesus, that Cross of redemptive sacrifice, or figure out which circle of Hell your hatred will leave you in. Reshape your churches into sanctuaries for the living, where love and peace is 'militantly' supported, instead of training warriors to take 'the battle' to 'the enemy'.

The real enemy of any Christian, of anyone wishing to heed God's Call and respond in faith, is the failure to love to any degree less than Christ--and such Redemptive Love, infused by the gentle Holy Spirit From Above, is the Full Sum of The Law...and that's all we are 'entitled' to 'enforce' with anyone else on this planet...the complete giving of our loving kindness to all in need. This is my prayer for the reformation of the Pro-Life wing of the Church, that The Excellent Way of Love is again embraced and practised, as St. Paul described in 1st Corinthians 13--the Superior Way.

Commenter: Joanne Herrmann
As a college English teacher for many years, I taught the persuasive essay. Some of the most basic requirements, eg., the marshalling of relevant facts joined with good reasoning, which requires an understanding of logical principles, were missing from Troy Newman's arguments, if you could call them that. Instead he repeated inflammatory, fallacious phrases and half truths.

On the other hand, Christina Page's responses showed valid logical thinking based on cogent facts. It was as if she were trying to reason with someone who was so hardwired by his ideology, that he couldn't understand anything else.

Newman never even considered Page's suggestions for reducing the need for abortions. It's as if he and those he represents relish the pain and suffering they inflict, exacerbating an already heart-rending situation, rather than getting down to the rather dull and less visceral business of actually setting up programs that will eliminate abortions -- which supposedly is their professed goal.

Commenter: Rev D.
Your questions seem somewhat bias. At what point does a babykilling abortionist become a terrorist?

How many babies does he have to kill before it is justified to call him a babykiller?

Why aren't the 60,000 babies George Tiller murdered mentioned in any articles?

Why does Thou Shalt Not Kill apply to Scott Roeder and not George Tiller?

Commenter: Gerry
Ultra conservatives and extreme fundamentalist, seem to me, to always find that things are black and white.

That what they 'believe' is right and what you may 'think' is wrong.

Ms. Page is right because she accepts the logic that every case is different, every person's experiences and life is different.

Mr. Newman and his followers do not accept situations that do not fit their view of what your circumstance maybe. They suffer a totally religious view of life. All actions to them are sin or not with them as in doctor Tiller's case, the final arbitrators.

Ms. Page is correct when she asks why Mr. Newman and those in his organization, refuse to address unplanned pregnancies, the obvious root of the abortion 'problem'.

Sometimes there is a spontaneous expulsion, an abortion of an embryo. It's called a miscarriage. The human body is designed that way. Carrying the anti-abortionists' logic to its ultimate point;

Should we shoot God?

Commenter: E.D.
Cristina Page is always so articulate and persuasive.

Commenter: Susan Blumberg
If Troy Newman doesn't believe in late-term abortions, he shouldn't have one.

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