The reality of human abortion

By Tom Quiner


Actual human fetus at 12 weeks

“What is this?”

I held in my hand a model of a 12 week old preborn human being, also known as a fetus, or also known as a “blob” of cells if you work for Planned Parenthood.

I was working a shift for Iowans for Life at the Iowa State Fair.

People poured by.

We engaged a generally friendly crowd on life issues. The focal point of our booth were the life sized models of the preborn at different stages of development, from 12 to 26 weeks.

Little kids loved the models. I made it a point to take the 12 week fetus and show it to kids who were four or five years old.

“What is this?” I would ask them.

The response EVERY time was, “A baby!”

I was struck by something. Either these kids are smarter than Democrats, or simply more honest. Kids at that age are without guile. Democratic politicians are defined by it.

The public policies they promote allow abortion. The public policies they oppose are those that attempt to regulate the brutal business of Big Abortion.

In a single year, nearly a million of the little guys pictured above will be inhumanely killed. They have no rights, because Democratic politicians and the judges they appoint won’t allow it.

At the least, each human abortion affects three people:

  1. The baby, who is dead.
  2. The mother who has either made the decision to kill her child, or was coerced into doing it.
  3. The father, who sometimes is the one who pressured the mom to kill her child.

This doesn’t count siblings, grandparents, friends, and the entire community who have been deprived of the gifts of a unique human person.

How are parents affected? Many, perhaps most, experience life-eroding guilt. They know in their heart they killed their child to make their own lives more convenient.

What is love? Love is willing the good of the other, in other words, to love your neighbor as yourself.

Human abortion kills the good in the other.

Love civilizes man and gives meaning to our lives.

Human abortion turns man into barbarians, stripping away any semblance of meaning to our existence.

Many of my liberal friends maintain that there are issues other than human abortion that are just as important in this political campaign. No, there aren’t. None dehumanize the United States of America more than the issue that breeds death and contempt for human dignity.

The reality of human abortion is this: it makes man less dignified than an animal.

We’re so much better than that.



  1. violetwisp on August 14, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    That’s not reality, that’s entirely misleading. You can see genuine images of a 12 week old fetus online. If you’re going to do this kind of thing, you should do it with honesty. I think the reality might still make your same point, but the fetus looks more like a newly hatched baby bird or a tiny alien. Have a look and tell me if you truly think that’s an honest thing to do – that model is a complete lie, and you should be ashamed.

    • quinersdiner on August 14, 2016 at 6:38 pm

      Me thinks you dost protest too much.

      • violetwisp on August 15, 2016 at 9:31 am

        I take pregnancy and abortion seriously Tom. It’s not a game where we twist reality to suit our agenda. Please post a picture of an actual fetus for comparison. Your model is a lie.

      • lburleso on August 16, 2016 at 1:57 pm

        Tom, I kindly submit that you exchange “actual” for “model” in the picture caption.

        • quinersdiner on August 17, 2016 at 11:00 am

          Seems reasonable.

    • lburleso on August 16, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      I did a search as you suggested; it is true that the model is more opaque and has more detail than a real human fetus. The pictures from Snopes (considered neutral) and LiveAction are similar to each other. To me, 12 weeks still “looks” human. But this only begs the question: what are using to define “human”? Looks? Many of these discussions circle back to that question, which then leads to questions of personhood. I am including the links here, but even before 12 weeks the growing organism is only human.

      Most of us here know the usual scientific arguments, so let’s short-circuit these misdirections about humanity, shall we?

      What is the heart of the issue?

      Name it.

      • violetwisp on August 25, 2016 at 8:07 am

        Thanks for the links. My point is that the model being used above is misleading. It is simply a miniature fully formed baby, which is no a reflection of what a 12 week fetus looks like, as in your links. And as I say in my original comment, a real model fetus may still give someone pause for thought, so why exaggerate? Why lie? People should make decisions about their own lives based on facts.

        What is the heart of the issue? The heart of the issue is that in every country in the world where women cannot choose to have a safe and legal pregnancy termination, they access any resource they can, including butchering their own bodies, to end unwanted pregnancies. The heart of the issue is that a fetus has no awareness or sense of pain, and is entirely dependent on the host body of their mother for existence. They are also born yearning for that mother’s touch and love, having heard, smelt and felt their presence at key developmental times (which are beyond normal abortion limits). I don’t think anyone wins when humans attempt to force women to give birth to babies they don’t want – women harm the babies and themselves with stress chemicals, with alcohol, with drugs, and with home-made, desperate abortion tactics. How would you combat that if abortion was illegal?

        • aly on January 3, 2022 at 6:06 pm

          much respect to the points you have made. educational, informative and truthful. I have had 2 abortions in my early 20’s and I have often wondered what my life would be like had I have not terminated the pregnancies- but I have never regretted it. Your arguments gave me reassurance that the choices I made at that time in my life, were not wrong if they were what was right and better for the baby. It was not selfish, believe me I desperately want to experience that indescribable feeling of LOVE for my child, and the miracle of life knowing I helped create it… it was selfless, because even though I wanted those babies – they were destined for a childhood full of anguish and heartbreak.

      • lburleso on August 26, 2016 at 11:00 am

        I agree that deception on either side of the debate is wrong.

        I also agree that women and men can become desperate when faced with an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy.

        When considering the morality of an action, it is useful to ask who is affected. In this case, we both agree it is another human being (regardless of looks). In the U.S. we have well-established laws that prohibit direct intentional harm of others… except for abortion. Until the unborn are recognized as human persons, the foundational laws will remain unchanged.

        While it is true that certain people will always seek out illegal abortions, I don’t see the problem as woman against child. I see a very difficult, sometimes tragic situation that shouldn’t be made worse by killing the innocent 3rd party.

        For this reason, it is incredibly important that we continue to change hearts and assist families no matter what happens legally. The prolife movement -as a whole- does that.

    • Anonymous on April 2, 2019 at 2:30 am

      Well said.

    • aly on January 3, 2022 at 5:50 pm

      amen to this comment.

  2. Clare Flourish on August 14, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    It appears that the Netherlands maintains an extremely low abortion rate through sex education and widely available family planning services.

    Do you support this, as a way of reducing abortion rates?

    • quinersdiner on August 14, 2016 at 6:39 pm


      • Clare Flourish on August 15, 2016 at 12:12 am

        Why not? Don’t you think they reduce abortion?

        • quinersdiner on August 15, 2016 at 6:52 am

          No, contraception increases the likelihood of human abortion, according survey data. When it fails, as it often does, the baby is typically unwanted and thus aborted.

          • Clare Flourish on August 15, 2016 at 9:11 am


            I was delighted to read you saying that there is no issue in this election more important than abortion. So you realise that no-one should vote for a man who incites “second amendment people” to “do something” about his opponent, who talks of first use of nuclear weapons in Europe and breaching NATO treaty obligations, so you have to make it about abortion.

          • quinersdiner on August 15, 2016 at 1:53 pm

            Trump certainly does not represent my viewpoint in many, many respects. I do not like the man, Clare. I like Hillary even less, and disagree with her positions even more than Trump’s. If you ask me to defend Trump, I can’t on so many fronts. If you’ve been reading this blog for the past year, you know how much I opposed the man. On one of my core issues, human abortion, Trump is more in alignment with my view than anyone else. Will I vote for him? I’ll tell you one week before the election. Thanks for writing.

          • Clare Flourish on August 15, 2016 at 3:22 pm

            His positions bother me less than his character. Inciting his crowds to violence, lying, conspiracy-theory making, he is truly terrifying.

          • quinersdiner on August 15, 2016 at 3:52 pm

            I know many conservatives who agree with you (they still won’t vote for Hillary). And I know many who will vote for him. I am going to let the campaign unfold and decide seven days ahead of election day. I believe in conservative principles. They are compassionate, logical, and tested. Hillary opposes just about every single one. Trump is more likely to sign conservative legislation into law, but no guarantees. Watch this blog as I struggle with my conscience over the next few months.

          • swandrh on September 14, 2016 at 8:11 pm

            Some girls use abortion for birth control.
            They get the abortion for free, it’s no limit to how many they get in one year.

          • quinersdiner on September 14, 2016 at 10:05 pm

            So sad, so tragic.

    • Nicole on April 2, 2019 at 2:32 am

      Well said Claire.

  3. Paul Sharp on August 14, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    A baby bird? A tiny alien? What absurd comparisons!

  4. John Rozycki on August 14, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Thank you for your good work, Tom. I and so many others appreciate it. May God bless you.

    • quinersdiner on August 14, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      Thank-you, sir!

  5. Lori on August 14, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    I honestly believe that this will not be solved in the political arena. I pray it will but I have doubts. However, I can’t vote for a “death party”…ever. In fact, the democratic platform is so immoral that we can’t read what they stand for to our kids (Until they are older). We have major issues with the republican candidate, but not the platform.

    I have photos of my children at young ages, via ultrasound. I treasured them then as I do now. I didn’t even have the fancy 3D ultrasound but I could see what I knew- they were babies. In fact, when choosing godparents for our twins, I sent ultrasound photo invitations to the prospective godparents. After the birth, when visiting one of the families, I saw the invitation on the shelf. I said sheepishly, “Oh, I sent you the wrong photo.” After birth it was obvious I had sent her the ultrasound photo of the baby that was not her godchild. There was no confusing him for an alien.

    • quinersdiner on August 15, 2016 at 6:58 am

      A dramatic point: the Democratic Platform is R rated. Thanks for writing, Lori.

  6. prolifemama on October 2, 2017 at 12:50 am

    Please forgive me if another commenter has asked this question.

    Is this particular fetal model available for purchase by pro-life presenters like me?

  7. Jordan Greenberg on January 10, 2018 at 5:18 am

    You’re story about the children who identify the model of the fetus is not valid evidence of fetuses being human beings. Children do not understand the stages of a pregnancy, and any attempt to say they do is ridiculous. At that point in their lives, they cannot fully understand that there is a difference between a fetus and a baby. Thus, them saying that the model fetus (which is has little resemblance to an actual fetus that would be able to be aborted) is not proving your point, it’s showing that children don’t know the stages of pregnancy. Finally, why do you get to decide if a woman wants to keep her fetus or not? Would you say to a woman who got pregnant as a result of rape, that she has to not only carry that being to a full term, but then raise it as a 24/7 reminder of the horrible act done to her? Or, what if the mother cannot support a child, be it due to financial status or physical ability, is it not her choice to decide that she cannot support this being in a way that will result in it having a healthy and loving childhood? If that is what you are saying, then you are condemning that being to at a minimum, a childhood of pain, misery, and quite possibly a future in which they find themselves behind both economically and socially. I ask you, is all that worth not aborting something which cannot feel, cannot think, and will not do so for another couple of months.

    • quinersdiner on January 10, 2018 at 10:50 am


      • Jordan Greenberg on January 11, 2018 at 9:25 pm

        I asked quite a few questions, so could you be a little bit more specific?

      • quinersdiner on January 12, 2018 at 11:02 am

        I responded to your last question. Yes, it is worth it because humanity begins at the instant of conception. Some 98% of human abortion occurs with healthy women carry a healthy baby. It is immoral to kill a person simply because they are inconvenient. It is arrogant to proclaim that someone born into less than perfect conditions has no 14th Amendment rights, an assumption refuted on a daily basis by incredible people who survive and thrive one obstacle after another hurled at them by life. And regarding rape, studies reveal that women who give birth to the child of their rapist have fewer regrets than women who aborted the product of a rape. They discovered that more violence isn’t the answer; that death isn’t the answer. Pro abortion laws are proven to be anti woman time after time. Every single human being is distinct and complete at the instant of conception.

      • Jordan Greenberg on January 12, 2018 at 1:08 pm

        I find it hard to believe that women would want reminders of a rape, but seeing as neither you nor I is a woman as far as I know, we cannot be the ones to decide for them. It should not be up to men to decide what a woman wants to do. If they want to get an abortion, then that is their choice. If they want to have the baby, that is also their choice. If the woman is not ready to take care of a child, like in cases of teen pregnancy, they should not be thrown into a world of suffering and poverty because a politician decided she would have to have the baby. The average cost of raising a child today is $245,340. That is something that many people cannot afford, and it will continue to create more poverty in this nation. And yes, I do know adoption is a thing. However, there are instances where that simply isn’t an option.

        • quinersdiner on January 12, 2018 at 1:39 pm

          Your instincts are as wrong as they are irrelevant. Researchers tested your thesis in a survey of rape victims. Their results are recounted in a book: “Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions, and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault.” The scientists refute your premise with this synopsis: “Many of the women in our sample aborted only because they were pressured to do so, and most reported that the abortion only increased their experience of grief and trauma. In contrast, none of the women who carried to term said they wished they had not given birth or that they had chosen abortion instead. Many of these women said that their children had brought peace and healing to their lives.” To your second question, it should not be up to men OR women to make a life or death decision over any child (your word) whether born or pre-born. Your position is shockingly heartless to suggest that a person should be exterminated because the parents don’t want to shell out the money to take responsibility for the child they conceived in an act of premeditated sex. The liberal position is much too heartless for me, especially when there are 36 couples waiting to adopt EVERY child placed for adoption.

          • Jordan Greenberg on January 12, 2018 at 3:45 pm

            you seem to not understand that you will always be able to find evidence on any argument, and that because you read something doesn’t make it correct. If I wanted to, I could just as easily find a study that shows the opposite of what you claim. Secondly, how do you fail to see the irony in so vigorously defending a life, even one that is considered by many to not be, and also be pro gun. Guns kill far more people every year, and despite that, if someone says we need tighter gun laws people go up in arms about it. Explain how that is logical. And, I find it funny that you instantly go to personal insults when you’re beliefs are challenged. I could have gone there, but I didn’t because I have a little bit of class. I look forward to your repetitive and most likely factually incorrect response.

          • quinersdiner on January 12, 2018 at 3:48 pm

            The gun issue is a separate issue with no relevance to this argument. I used the word ‘heartless’ intentionally because I cannot think of anything more heartless than killing an innocent human life because she is inconvenient. If I have mischaracterized your position, please advise. Thanks for writing.

          • Jordan Greenberg on January 12, 2018 at 4:53 pm

            you have in fact mischaracterized my position. You are completely overlooking the cases where it is vital to the health of the mother that she not have this baby. Saying that someone would get an abortion because the fetus is “inconvenient” is a ridiculous assumption, but not all to surprising. Next, the gun issue is actually relevant. Obviously I need to explain further. Guns kill people, yet you think that people should have them. But when it’s an abortion, it’s an abomination and a crime against humanity. That is how they are related.

    • Maria on November 5, 2018 at 12:07 am

      THANK YOU FOR THIS. Couldn’t agree more, any sane human being in their right mind would agree with you.

  8. MIKA on February 8, 2019 at 2:05 am

    I’m very much late to this conversation, obviously. However, I’m interested in knowing exactly how many .children you plan to adopt? Speaking against abortion is a noble conversation that should always be addressed, but who’s advocating on behalf of the children already in an overloaded and overlooked system? Reading through your responses, I see that you don’t believe safe and adequate access to birth control is effective, so what is your plan? As a woman – a Black Republican at that, I can assure you that women who are raped, exploited and abused do NOT wish to relive that horror.

    It’s always easy for people to sit in judgement of others who aren’t as affluent. It’s even fashionable to take away food, benefits and social services at the current time. So once you’ve outlawed abortions and these same agencies go from overloaded to total collapse, how do you provide adequate care to all of those hungry children?

  9. Nicole on April 2, 2019 at 2:21 am

    You’re free to have whatever political standpoints you want, but that is not what a 12 week fetus looks like. I’ve seen babies born at 24 weeks that look less human than that.
    Here is a link to a pro-life blog about a woman who miscarried at 13 weeks:
    She has pictures of her actual baby.
    If you ask small children what that is, their response is, “An alien!” “A gecko?” not a human baby. Google pictures of a 12 week miscarriage if you want to know what it looks like. The picture you have labeled as “Actual human fetus at 12 weeks” is not an actual fetus. It is a smaller sculpture of a full term baby.
    If you have to lie to make your point, no one will respect your opinions.

  10. Doug on September 7, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    Shame on you. You may be Pro-Fetus, but not Pro-Life. Due to conservative policies, black women in America are twice as likely to die in childbirth than white women, meaning that at least half of those fatalities are almost certainly due to socioeconomic policies and totally avoidable and out of 36 industrialized countries, though we are the wealthiest, once born, babies only die at a higher rate in two others.

    I am a progressive Democrat because I love and defend the life of babies and adults alike and I am infuriated that naive evangelicals and Republicans have allowed themselves to be duped into narrowing their focus away from the “Cristian” values focused on the social justice issues that would protect these babies and their mothers after the births in lieu of a self-righteous tunnel-vision on fetuses. Compared with other OECD countries, the U.S. ranks No. 33 out of 36 countries on infant mortality! Iceland is ranked No. 1 and has the lowest rate with 0.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. Despite that we are the wealthiest country in the world, we are just two lower than Mexico, which is ranked last with 12.1 deaths per 1,000 live births.

    • quinersdiner on September 7, 2020 at 10:24 pm

      No, shame on you. You’re talking two different issues. Human abortion kills an innocent human being every single time.

    • lburleso on September 8, 2020 at 8:33 am

      Doug, please explain why you want abortion to remain legal.

      • Doug on September 8, 2020 at 5:20 pm

        I did not take a stand regarding the legality of abortion. My point exactly is that to be drawn into abortion as the singular topic is precisely the distraction that is the goal of the conservative agenda that would undermine all other Christian values, those based on love and tolerance that would protect the ‘least of our brethren” after birth. My point is that “Pro-Life” is a label that better fits the Democratic Party by far than the Republican party. The Democratic Party cherishes all life.; provision of adequate prenatal and postnatal care, nutrition for women and children, not stripping of food stamps, education and quality of life, dignity and self-determination, preservation of the environment. I mean, honestly, if Jesus were to come back, do you think he would be a Republican? I will take a stand on the legality of abortion, but only in a genuine and honest conversation in which we admit that the argument is illegalization at the cost of everything else.

        • quinersdiner on September 8, 2020 at 5:26 pm

          Doug, you can’t talk about postnatal care, nutrition, dignity, etc, etc, if you’re dead, which is what the Democratic platform does with its promotion of human abortion. Again, abortion is a different issue. Honorable people can discuss how to form the best public policy to tackle the issues you mention. Honorable people can’t gloss over a holocaust that has killed 60 million human beings.

          • Doug on September 10, 2020 at 1:23 pm


            “The Social Progress Index finds that Americans have health statistics similar to those of people in
            Chile, Jordan and Albania, while kids in the United States get an education roughly on par with
            what children get in Uzbekistan and Mongolia. A majority of countries have lower homicide rates,
            and most other advanced countries have lower traffic fatality rates and better sanitation and
            internet access.”

            “This decline is deeply personal for me: As I’ve written, a quarter of the kids on my old No. 6
            school bus in rural Oregon are now dead from drugs, alcohol and suicide — what are called
            “deaths of despair.”

          • quinersdiner on September 10, 2020 at 1:26 pm

            Each death is a tragedy, as is each death from abortion. Otherwise, each issue to which you refer is different. Abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human being. Some 800,000 take place a year in the U.S. By contrast, less than ten unarmed black men are killed each year by cops. By contrast, less than 50 convicted felons are executed a year in the U.S.

          • Doug on September 21, 2020 at 2:41 pm

            I will answer your question. In order to give your question proper respect, I needed to take some time to learn more about the subject in order to make a cogent response.

            You will forgive me if I ignore your statistics about felons and unarmed black victims, which are convenient except extremely tangential to my point and less numerous by factors of hundreds of thousands than the infants and mothers to which I referred as victims of Republican social policy. I also write this while contemplating the beet red sky to which I awoke two weeks ago, followed by a day in which headlights were required to cross the Bay Bridge at noon and wonder how you feel about electing a climate change denier. A whole planet equals a whole lot of fetuses.

            The core of my research was the actual decision written by the court. Given that you have offered a public forum and presented so many strong arguments against the decision, I presume you have done likewise?

            I have been on both sides at various times and all I can say is that no matter which side I was on, I must have been wrong every time.

            I wish I had read the decision before. It gives so much consideration and background to every argument, not just in regard to abortion itself, but also the constitutional issues just to get to abortion. I expanded my reading the implications with respect to case histories regarding the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 9th, amendments. It’s a truly fascinating subject that spans everything from state forced medical procedures (and grooming), protection of health information from prying accusers, the right not to send your kids to private schools, the right to discontinue life support, …

            I also highly recommend the documentary, “Hail Satan?” It turns out that the “Satanic Temple” doesn’t actually worship Satan but rather an activist check on Christian supremacy, disguised as “Religious Freedom.” The Satanic Temple eschews to celebrate the constitutional concept of religious pluralism by openly supporting prayer in public schools and meetings and Christian monuments on public property, just so long as Satanism is equally represented with its own prayers and monuments. You get the idea and how it applies to this subject.

            However, as it turns out, abortion itself was little more than a minor infraction (if that) until the late 19th century and until even much more recently, Christianity at large held that life began at 40 days for males and 80 days for females, when the soul entered the body as evidenced by independent movement of the fetus. Now an argument is made with regard to when the fetus hypothetically feels pain. What is interesting is the same science used to make these arguments has no evidence for the soul whatsoever nor makes very much distinction between a human embryo and that of a fish.

            In any case, I can’t argue more thoughtfully or eloquently than did the Supreme Court, and to have done so without first edifying myself would have been Sophomoric.




        • lburleso on September 8, 2020 at 6:23 pm

          Doug: Since human abortion is the chief subject of this post, and you bravely decided to comment on it, would you be willing to take a stand on its legality? If so, what is your stance?

          ________________________________ Da: A Heapin’ Plate of Conservative Politics & Religion Inviato: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 5:23:52 PM A: Oggetto: [New comment] The reality of human abortion

          Doug commented: “I did not take a stand regarding the legality of abortion. My point exactly is that to be drawn into abortion as the singular topic is precisely the distraction that is the goal of the conservative agenda that would undermine all other Christian values, “

    • lburleso on September 10, 2020 at 1:46 pm

      Doug: Since human abortion is the chief subject of this post, and you bravely decided to comment on it, would you be willing to take a stand on its legality? If so, what is your stance?

      • Doug on September 10, 2020 at 3:34 pm

        I would love to and have done so many times, but as I have explained I cannot do so on your blog. Your picture is dishonest and to frame the legality of abortion as being political, conservative, and Christian at the same time is also dishonest. I can’t comment in that context. It’s not the real world so I would object to my own comments as much as I do others.

  11. Doug on September 10, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    How is this? Yes, I am still going to reference my son. In general, I try to be kind and loving, I try to make amends when I do wrong, I believe in God and attend services. I am told I am a commendable person and an excellent husband and father. I have come close to killing my son many times due to issues related to Infantile Spasms and Lennox Gastauex. I’ll let you do your own research if you care. That I did has nothing to do with whether I am evil or good. I know of others that didn’t have the support and just had a mental break that is actually very common in caregivers of LG. Given that the struggle to get the services that prevented me from killing my son was one of the biggest stressors that led to the impulse to kill my son, how can you address one and not the other?

    • lburleso on September 10, 2020 at 5:02 pm

      Thoughts for Doug:

      * Tragic to read about your son. I commend you for your efforts in care of him.

      * The discussions and comments back in August of 2016 should resolve your concerns about the picture. We admit that it is a an overly-detailed model, but still a representation of a human being that serves its important point.

      * The analogy for abortion would be if you paid someone to kill your son when he was having an episode. If you could explain why that would be acceptable or not, I think it would further our discussion here.