"A fetus is not a baby." 🧵

My older daughter, Emily, at 8 weeks' GA:
If you’ve ever debated against abortion, you’ve probably noticed it’s nearly impossible to discuss the actual topic.

Instead, the exchange rapidly devolves into accusations—often, that you’re using inaccurate terminology. This irate doctor’s Twitter post is a good example:
“A fetus is not a baby...”

But a fetus *is* a child, baby, & patient, and it’s a strange objection if it’s meant to clarify terminology. But it’s not. It’s meant to rattle opponents and justify abortion, or at least obscure it. Let’s take a closer look. bit.ly/2UnTNUZ
First, crucially: abortion is killing.

Since killing is not medical care, there is no requirement to use medical terminology and a lot of reasons to avoid it. I’ll write more on abortion’s lethal purpose in a future post.
Second, nomenclature is an odd sticking point if the woman’s bodily autonomy is our only concern. What we call her womb-dweller—fetus, parasite, baby—should be irrelevant under this paradigm.
Paradoxically, then, squabbling about terminology screams the fact that there is a baby, a morally relevant person, killed in every abortion.
Third, the terms “maternal” and “maternal patient,” commonly used in reference to the pregnant woman, imply she is a mother, which implies she has an unborn child.

“Pregnant” itself means “with child”--“having a baby or babies developing inside the womb.”
Fourth, the fetus is a patient in her own right.

"Father of Fetology" A.W. Liley was an atheist who performed the first successful fetal blood transfusion in 1963. In 1966, JAMA noted his contribution, observing that “the fetus is a treatable patient.” bit.ly/3kEuVTF
“My own practice makes it very clear,” he wrote in 1974, “that in modern obstetrics, we are caring for two individuals, mother and baby.” bit.ly/3rovkuu
Today, maternal-fetal medicine is an established subspecialty dedicated to preserving the health of mothers and their unborn children.

Fetal surgery began in 1981 and now occurs at centers around the world. bit.ly/2V4o5vC
The words from Williams’ Obstetrics 16th Edition in 1980 are even truer today:

“Happily, we have entered an era in which the fetus can be rightfully considered and treated as our second patient.”

Finally, and obviously, the irate doctor is mistaken: fetus, baby, child, and even patient are standard terms for an unborn human being.

In fact, “child” is the original, specific term for a prenatal human. The wider sense “young person before the onset of puberty” came later.
Either sense is appropriate today: “Child: an unborn or recently born person,” says Merriam-Webster. The Oxford English Dictionary agrees.
But even if we consent to only call the unborn human-thing a “fetus,” which simply means “offspring,” the definitions for those terms include “baby” and “child.” We’re back to our original position.
As we would expect, there are many, many articles in professional and consumer-oriented literature referring to the fetus as a baby or child. Here are some.

- Google Scholar: 23,000 results for “unborn baby” and 73,400 results for “unborn child.”
- Cleveland Clinic’s summary of fetal development includes 83 mentions of baby:

“At the moment of fertilization, your baby’s genetic make-up is complete, including its sex.” cle.clinic/3BsmAIr
- Mayo Clinic’s “Pregnancy week by week” includes 10 mentions of baby. Babycenter’s version mentions baby 55 times.
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ 2010 study on fetal pain—one of two most frequently cited articles on the subject—calls the fetus a “baby” 27 times.
- The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child affirms that

“the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.”
- Abortion pioneer and advocate Judith Arcana calls the aborted fetus “a baby whose life is ended."

"We have been unwilling to talk to women about what it means to abort a baby. We don't ever talk about babies..." bit.ly/2HHGEQ0
- Leroy Carhart, who has performed abortions for many years, says: “I think that it is a baby. I use [the term] with patients.”

So the fetus is a child is a baby is a patient. So why the insistence that “A fetus is not a baby”? I think it’s an attempt to: bit.ly/3kC0oWj
1) protect oneself psychologically from the violent reality of abortion. Inserting a cold, clinical term for a familiar, sympathetic one creates an emotional buffer.
As Jesse Jackson said in 1977, when he was pro-life:

“They never talk about aborting a baby because that would imply something human. Rather they talk about aborting the fetus. Fetus sounds less than human and therefore can be justified.” bit.ly/3ojzXnI
2) intimidate and stifle pro-lifers; to keep them on the back foot. If pro-lifers don’t know the proper terminology or are misrepresenting it, then they’re not credible, their arguments may be dismissed, and the illusion of killing-to-heal can metastasize.
3) lend medical legitimacy to killing, an approach with a long and sordid history. nyti.ms/2Oxwvsp
Regardless of what we call a tiny prenatal human, though, I think few of our foes intellectually doubt the humanity of the fetus. No, most of the resistance is emotional, inaccessible to reason; it’s psychologically protective, but it exacts a toll,
and at least some must yearn to be led out of their views. But they won’t submit to someone they despise.
The way forward, then,
is to engage them on an emotional level first: cheerfully, wryly, calmly, curiously, firmly, perhaps with a wink, but always with kindness and confidence. Then, and only then, smack them with facts like these. Proudly.
Violence in abortion; i.e. --

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More from @realBockmann

28 Oct 20
1. On fetal pain, most media cite 1 of these 2 studies:

-Lee, et al. in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 2005) bit.ly/3jroNtG
-Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG 2010)

For clarification & context, I'll discuss JAMA 2005 here.
2. Context:

Both say pain only possible w/ functional cerebral cortex (I call this "cortical necessity")

▫️ JAMA 2005: pain not possible before 29-30 wks
▫️ RCOG 2010: pain not possible before 24 wks, maybe never due to what I call "fetal sleep"

US fetal pain laws claim 22 wks
3. Also:

▫️ RCOG 2010's 24 weeks is far closer to US fetal pain laws--22 weeks--than to JAMA 2005's 29-30 weeks

▫️ media often refer to a "consensus" on fetal pain

▫️ No! & consensus = politics ≠ science

▫️ Atlantic was right: "very little consensus" bit.ly/3jCcRW9
Read 22 tweets
26 Oct 20
I watched @Mighty_Ira_doc last night and was surprised at how much I loved it:
- Americana / NYC / history
- 1st Amendment; I'd thought the ACLU = "bad"
- Ira comes across warmly; friendship with Wm Buckley incredibly poignant
- Powerful: Heather Hyer's mom & Holocaust survivor
As a transient, upstate New Yorker, I've grown fond of NYC and appreciate Ira's wistful recollections of Brooklyn

Ira's boyhood love of Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers, an integrated baseball team, must have helped him see "others" as legitimate, preparing him for ACLU
I grew up hearing the ACLU was bad. I don't know about that, but I applaud their defense of the 1st Amendment.

Commitment to 1A itself forces dialog on our most passionately held topics. Like rocket fuel, this polarity has immense energy to propel or destroy.
Read 9 tweets

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