Is Abortion A Crime Against Humanity?

AbortionRecently someone suggested to me that it’s inconsistent to get “all worked up” about abortion without getting just as upset about corporate corruption, for example. This comparison sounds odd to me because, at minimum, we are talking about two different scales of “wrong.” While corporate cronyism and corruption are bad, and we should vigorously enforce laws and policies that encourage free trade and otherwise ethical business practices, we are probably not talking about a “Crime Against Humanity” anywhere comparable that of abortion.

But, you may be saying, isn’t “Crime Against Humanity” too strong a phrase? Doesn’t that exaggerate things a bit?


The International Criminal Court (ICC) defines “Crimes Against Humanity” as such:

“Crimes against humanity” include any of the following acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

  • murder;
  • extermination;
  • enslavement;
  • deportation or forcible transfer of population;
  • imprisonment;
  • torture;
  • rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
  • persecution against an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds;
  • enforced disappearance of persons;
  • the crime of apartheid;
  • other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury.

Abortion policy, in America, satisfies several of these criteria directly and indirectly. Remember, however, that we are not talking simply about “legality.” Abortion is legal, but human rights violations have been legal in the past and it should not be surprising to find wicked, evil, and barbaric practices still legal through various loopholes and ambiguities in the law. Legal does not equal ethical and there is no guarantee that a legal practice is thereby ethical. Abortion may be legal, but let’s see which of these criteria might still qualify abortion as a crime against humanity.

“Crimes against humanity” include any of the following acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

Abortion is widespread, legal in all 50 states, it’s directed against human occupants of the U.S. who have been legally denied civil and human rights status, yet all this is perpetrated in full knowledge of the U.S. populace, even with passionate defense by otherwise compassionate citizens.

  • murder

if abortion is unethical killing of human beings then it is murder in that regard (as opposed to a stricter definition of murder which is only “illegal killing”). The burden of proof favors life, so that unless a particular case of killing is overwhelmingly justified (beyond a reasonable doubt) then that killing is deemed unjustified. It is a dangerous precedent to shift the burden of proof onto the protectors of life. The Roe v. Wade decision erred seriously in this regard. Their notion of “potential human” was and is scientificallly inaccurate since it was known from before then and ever since that biologically distinct human life begins at conception. It is not a “potential human” but a human with potential.

  • extermination

This term is fitting since there have been about 58,000,000 children in utero killed already, just in the United States, and just since 1973, and that’s only including documented and measurable abortions (as opposed to

  • enslavement

This aspect does not directly relate to abortion, but it does indirectly relate. Abortion policy allows for a functional separation between sex and it’s natural consequence of pregnancy. When it comes to sex trafficking, pregnancy is  a liability; it’s bad for business. Abortion is one more option available to sex traffickers to keep business thriving. In January 2011, Live Action Films conducted a sting operation revealing that some Planned Parenthood clinics aided and abetted clients who presented themselves as a Pimp and his 14 year old prostitute. We cannot and should not assume that the actions of the few clinic workers reflect the culture and beliefs of Planned Parenthood broadly. Hopefully, those were just isolated incidents. But if people who are presenting themselves as obvious sex traffickers can find illegal support from Planned Parenthood, then we have to conclude that covert sex traffickers can slide by more easily–especially when parental consent is not required, and confidentiality is a high enough value that it can conflict with other concerns about health and well-being.

  • deportation or forcible transfer of population;

Children-in-utero are right where they are supposed to be for their given stage of development. However abortion literally evacuates them from this biological home. Unlike adult deportations/exiles, however, this evacuation means almost certain death. Indeed it is the normal expectation that the evacuation of a fetal human being–in parts or in whole–will kill it.

  • imprisonment

This facet doesn’t directly apply to abortion policy. It does, however, radically restrict the the rights and interests of fathers since they are not allowed any legal say in the mortal fate of their yet unborn children. It would be an overstatement, however, to call this restricted right “imprisonment”

  • torture

Abortion practices include chemical burning, suffocation, dismemberment, crushing, etc. It is no exaggeration to say that as soon as the child-in-utero is developed enough to feel pain, abortion invariably tortures it to death. Prior to the child’s ability to feel pain, abortion invariably harms it, even if the “harm” does not amount to felt pain.

  • rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;

Abortion choice policy is compatible with sex slavery, as mentioned above, although neither directly cause each other. Rape cases are a common justification for abortion–since the pregnant rape victim did not have a choice to get pregnant. However, abortion-choice policy also accommodates rapists, incest, molestation, and any other sexual abuse where the abuser is harder to catch and prosecute because the victim’s body bears no public witness to the crime and the foremost evidence of the crime is destroyed (the child). While rape pregnancies are ethically difficult for pro-choice and pro-life positions, abortion has the unintended side effect of accommodating rapists, molesters, and perpetrators of incest. If the DNA evidence is disposed of, one is left with a harder case for convicting the criminal.

  • persecution against an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds

Current abortion policy accommodates sexist, racist, or otherwise ethnocentric discrimination. A woman can abort her child because she doesn’t want a (1) girl baby, (2) a black/hispanic/asian/etc/ baby, (3) non-american/etc. baby. A woman can even abort her baby because she doesn’t want parental ties with a father of a different religion or political persuasion. Abortion policy broadly affirms most any discriminatory to the point of killing the oppressed party.

  • enforced disappearance of persons

Obviously, abortion kills a child-in-utero but besides the killing, there is the added effect of making him or her disappear. Often abortion is an effort to forget a mistake, to hide the past, to destroy any evidence of a relationship. The fetal human being is treated as an inconvenient object. While many women after abortions wish they could forget their aborted child, sometimes the disappearance leaves a painful memory behind. The disappearing act only works sometimes. Often the post-abortion mother is haunted by the felt sense of murder, even if she thinks her behavior was justified.

  • the crime of apartheid

Abortion is clearly not a civilly enforced segregation. However, abortion does have a disproportionate effect on black communities. In that regard, pro-choice democrat and black caucuses have a shared interest–keeping abortion inexpensive and widely accessible for disenfranchised black people. The effect, has not just been a proportionate use of abortion services but rather a disproportionate incidence of abortion among black women, i.e., 4x’s higher rate than their white counterparts. This fact has not gone unnoticed in black prolife organizations like Maafa 21 and Black Genocide. According to these organizations, abortion-choice policy has advanced cultural racism at an alarming and destructive rate. Jim Crow laws, for example, rarely killed black people. But abortion has killed millions of black people. Compared to slavery in the United States (305thousand slaves) and North America (12.5million slaves), Abortion in the U.S. alone is almost 58 million. That’s about 1900% and 400% higher respectively. And only a portion of slaves died from slavery, meanwhile almost all abortion cases kill the victim. Slavery is terrible and no one here would try to support it, but the loss of life in abortion has far surpassed that of institutionalized slavery in the U.S.

  • other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury.

Given that the child in utero is literally a member of the homo sapiens species it is literally a human being and violent, torturous, or other mutilating acts against him or her is literally inhumane. Abortion openly harms all aborted children. And from about the 20th week onward, when they are known to be able to feel pain, abortion injures, hurts, and tortures children in utero causing their suffering.

Now at this point, one may object that: “Abortion is legal, so whatever it does to humanity it is not a ‘crime.'” But this objection misses the point. The chief reason for international laws regarding human rights is that different states and nations may have radically inhumane and even tortuous laws that violate people’s human rights. The grounding for human rights is not legal convention but human nature. Crimes against humanity violate human rights, no matter whether they are legal or not. Abortion is currently legal in much of the western world but chattel slavery was legal for ages in most of the world, forced marriage of adolescent girls is legal in many areas, homosexuality is grounds for death in some countries, and apartheid was legal for many years in South Africa. The category of “crimes against humanity” is expressly established for the sake of human rights violations, not just civil or criminal offenses relative to a country.

What can we conclude, then, about abortion? Abortion is a clearly a crime against humanity on many levels, and for those aspects of the phrase to which it does not directly align, such as sex slavery and racism, it indirectly aligns with or accommodates those abuses. Returning to the comparison at the beginning of this post, whatever wrongs we might find in corporate cronyism or white collar crimes, we are probably not dealing with a crime against humanity anywhere comparable to that of abortion. It is hard, if not impossible, to find any event natural or man made, in human history that has killed more human beings than abortion.

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