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Ooh. Now we’re getting into a couple of words, abort and abortion, that start some people’s blood boiling, aren’t we? I’m bound to piss off one half of the population or the other, aren’t I? Maybe I can shoot for both halves just to be fair. I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to write here, so we will see.

** thinking **

** thinking **

I’m still thinking, but there are a couple of definitions of abort that won’t raise any hackles. I’ll get them out of the way now while I continue thinking about how I’m going to address the controversial side of abort.

(Note to self: I just realized that, despite using the raised hackles expression many times in my life, I don’t know what hackles are or why their raising is a sign of anger in humans. I wonder how long it will take me to get to the words starting with h so I can find out. Maybe, now that I realize I don’t know what hackles are, I should have used the “get their dander” up expression instead. No, come to think of it, I don’t exactly know what dander is either. Then again, that’s a d word, so I’ll get to it sooner.)

One of the non-controversial definitions of abort is to end something, such as a project, prematurely. A strongly related, but more specific definition is to terminate a mission or process involving a military air or space vehicle.

You sometimes hear this latter definition used in suspenseful war, espionage or war and espionage movies. For example, in a film in one of these genres, a mission commander might suddenly scream, “OH! MY! GOD! There’s a cute little bunny rabbit right in the middle of the 200 people that are jets are about to kill. Abort the mission! Repeat! Abort the mission!

** thinking **

** thinking **

Stop the presses! Or, considering the venue, stop the electrons! I’ve figured out how I’m going to avoid the inevitable controversy when commenting on the premature ending of a pregnancy definition of abort. Well, I’m not so much going to avoid it as defer it.

When there are news items about this issue, it’s usually the word abortion that appears in the headlines, not abort. Abortion is in the dictionary, so I’ll delay saying anything controversial until I get to that word. True, it’s the very next entry in the dictionary, but I’ll take any procrastination I can get.

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