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Semantics

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The strict dictionary definition of abortion is "Induced termination of pregnancy and expulsion of an embryo or fetus that is incapable of survival."1 An alternate definition, ironic in such a controversial issue, is "a monstrosity"1 (however this is obviously not the word's common usage).


An important emotional word often used in the abortion debate is "baby." Baby has three major definitions. The first is "Small in comparison to others of the same kind."1 "Human being" is "A member of the genus Homo and especially of the species H. sapiens,"1 which is true of embryos, fetuses, children, teenagers, adults, and everyone else with our similar genetic coding. Fetuses and embryos are small in comparison to other humans, so fetuses by this definition are babies. The second definition of baby is "a very young child."1 One definition of "child" is "An unborn infant; a fetus."1 So a baby is "a very young unborn infant; a fetus." The third definition of baby is "The youngest member of a family or group OR a very young animal."1 "Fetus," a Latin word meaning "young one" fits these two definitions almost exactly. So, by all three relevant definitions of "baby," a fetus is a baby.


Abortion is an induced termination of pregnancy and expulsion of a baby that is incapable of survival.


Expulsion is a word in our definition of abortion, but what does it mean? The definition of expel is "To force or drive out."1 In the abortion definition, expulsion refers to the driving of a fetus or embryo out of its womb.

style='color:#0000DD'>"Kill" is an interesting word that comes up often in an abortion debate. The main definition of this is "To put to death". The second definition is "To deprive of life."1. "Deprivation" is "To hinder from possessing."3

The biological definition of "Life" is "The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth... and response to stimuli."1 Since the unborn baby has a metabolism, grows, and can react to stimuli (see Fetal Development), it by definition has life.

So let us look at our two definitions of "to kill." If the fetus "is incapable of survival" outside of the womb and is "driven out" of the womb, it will die. Since it once was alive, and is dead after an intended abortion, the baby was, by this definition killed. The second definition of "to kill" treats abortion in a slightly different way. If a fetus has the possibility to have life after birth and is "hindered from possessing" this because of an abortion, it is being killed just because of lost possibilities. Either way, the verb "to kill" is applicable for abortion.


Abortion is the induced termination of pregnancy of a killing a baby that is incapable of independent survival.


Murder: "To kill another human being."1 As shown above, fetuses are by definition human beings. So killing a fetus is murder.


Abortion is the induced termination of a pregnancy murdering a baby.


Let's look at two other semantic parts of abortion. Abortionists are those who perform abortions that murder babies. "Murderer" is defined as "One who murders another."1 So abortionists, that murder babies, are murderers.

"Mass" is "a large number," so a Mass Murder is "a large number of murders." There are about 1.6 million abortions per year in the United States alone.2 The death toll abortion is staggering: higher than any other event in known history. Abortion has already been defined as murder therefore we can call abortion a "mass murder."


An interesting clause to reflect upon in the dictionary definition of abortion is "incapable of survival." If a baby is viable, then its murder isn't abortion at all. Strictly by definition, it is a murder the same as that of an adult.


Sources

1. American Heritage Dictionary
2. Stanley K. Henshaw, et al.,"Abortions Services in the United States, 1991 and 1992,"
Family Planning Perspectives, vol.26, no.3 (May/June 1994), p.101

3. Webster's Dictionary.

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