The Invisible Abortion

Abortion — By on February 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm

For years, I’ve been involved in pro-life activities and organizations. The debate flies fast and furiously, and never ends. I’ve been considering this problem recently, especially in light of the vast amount of new dialogue FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) has ignited, and had a few thoughts I’d like to put out for critique/consideration.
The arguments commonly used in the abortion debate, especially “in the field,” so to speak, are perhaps not the most useful. Not that they are “wrong,” but they jump mid-way into a much larger argument that requires fundamental assumptions.
From my experience in the pro-life field, here are a few arguments I commonly heard and used myself:
o “At the moment of conception, an embryo meets the scientific criteria for ‘life.’”
o “At 18 days after conception, heartbeat begins, and at 6 weeks, brainwaves.”
o “A baby has it’s own DNA, and therefore, is not ‘part of the woman’s body.’”
o “Roe v Wade is bad constitutional law.”
o “PAS (Post-Abortion Syndrome) ruins women’s lives.”
o “Quality of life is not an acceptable criteria for deeming a person’s right to live.”
o Etc. etc. etc.
These arguments are wonderful and should be universally known. However, the problem is that they aren’t really ‘arguments’–they’re facts. Thereby, they give pro-life supporters strict limitations in
1) Applicableness: the time when the human life as a human being exists is not answered by these facts.
“Heartbeat? Brainwaves? Certainly not conception…right? Because that would require a religious argument, and I’m not a Christian and I don’t want to hear your Christian arguments.”
2) Persuasion: dry facts are just that, dry facts.
Does anyone believe the “warning–may cause cancer” stickers on cigarettes make people who want to smoke reconsider? No, if people do not smoke for that reason, it’s almost always because they have experience with the truth, such as by knowing people who developed cancer by smoking.
We’re out there fighting a fact-war and all of us (pro-life and ‘pro-choice’) are simply dancing around the vital issues that all the facts are pointing towards.
A few of these issues are:
o Do human beings have a unique soul? (If they say ‘no,’ then that need to be your focus–the pro-life debate is meaningless.)
o If so, is this soul intrinsically valuable? That is, does a soul give the being (body/soul) invaluable worth that results in it being morally wrong to kill a being that has a human soul? (This question requires an admission of morality.)
o When does human life receive a soul? This is the question everything boils down to. Are there physical prerequisites for the existence of a soul in a body? Are there mental prerequisites?
I am still working myself on these questions, but I recognize now that they are the ones that need to be asked. Without them, the facts are meaningless.
We can waltz and tango all we’d like around the scientific definitions and psychological implications of abortion, but is it efficient for the pro-life cause?
Who builds a house from the roof down?



  • http://ramblingtaoist.blogspot.com The Rambling Taoist

    I’m pro-choice. That’s not the same as being pro-abortion. For me, it comes down to 2 things.
    First, women don’t control their own bodies. In many areas of this country and the world, a husband can [legally] rape his wife and, as long as it occurs in the confines of “marriage”, he gets away with it.
    Second, there are two sets of rights to consider: a viable human being vs. a potential human being. I tend to come down on the side of the former.
    In addition, one thing that drives me up the wall, is folks who are pro-life ONLY when it has to do with unborn babies. Many of these same people are pro-war, pro-death penalty and anti-social safety net. They seem to value life only when it has yet to be lived and not WHILE it’s being lived.

  • Renee

    Does anyone know when the soul inhabits the body? That may be a question only God can answer. Since we don’t know I want to come down on the side of life whether it has a soul yet or not.

  • JillD

    Renee’s thoughts are mine exactly. Even the Church doesn’t make a definitive statement on ensoulment, but it has taught from the very beginning that abortion is a grave sin.
    Was it St. Augustine who tried to logically figure this out? Do you know any more about that?

  • http://www.alienman.blogspot.com Brad Williams

    First, women don’t control their own bodies. In many areas of this country and the world, a husband can [legally] rape his wife and, as long as it occurs in the confines of “marriage”, he gets away with it.
    This has what to do with abortion, exactly? Do you have some sort of statistic about rape in marriage? Or how many of those result in pregnancy, and what percentage of abortions that leads to?
    Second, there are two sets of rights to consider: a viable human being vs. a potential human being. I tend to come down on the side of the former.
    This just begs the question. If the fetus is a viable human being, then you have no point here.

  • http://wheatstoneforum.com Rachel Motte

    Renee,
    That’s a good question, I’ve always wondered that myself.
    I wrote recently about meeting a child who had been frozen as an embryo (as part of the IVF process) for years before birth. There are many such children. How old are they really? How old does God say they are? I have trouble wrapping my head around that.
    My best guess is that the soul develops along with the body; that is, the soul is present at the moment of conception, but it’s a soul with lots of growing left to do. It’s a hard question, though.

  • Fides Quaerens

    “Even the Church doesn’t make a definitive statement on ensoulment, but it has taught from the very beginning that abortion is a grave sin.”
    Not exactly “from the very beginning.” Some church teachers, Medieval (and later Common) law, and the Scholastics did not consider the fetus to be alive until “quickening,” the time its movements became palpable to the mother. Before that it was considered a human being only in potency and hence prior to that point abortion was not regarded as a sin or crime. Roe v. Wade, for all its obvious flaws, did rest its judgment on common law precedent.

  • JillD

    The Didache, a 1st century AD Christian document states: “You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.”
    Quickening or no, this was the teaching of the Church. Abortion has been gravely contrary to the moral law from the beginning of Christianity. I would be curious to know what Judaism taught about abortion from its earliest days, as well, or how its understanding of the evil of abortion has developed.

  • jchfleetguy

    I do not think ensoulment, or “when life begins” is the issue. I think this quote from Wiki makes the point:

    Such passages of the Bible are not taken in a proof-text manner by Christian tradition (that is, they are applicable to the question, although they do not mention abortion), but as illustrations of a basic ethical principle of the created order — a unity of instruction, or “world-view”. And this provides for a syllogism, which forms the basis of the modern Christian pro-life movement. Scripture condemns the shedding of innocent human blood. The biblical insight into the order of things is that man is distinct from, and above an animal; and man is uniquely subject to God, whereas animals are given to man; and an unborn child is human and known to God. Therefore, even an unborn child is protected by God, as made in the image of God because it is human (an issue distinct from all speculations of when life begins).

    Also, I like this concept of being pro-life from David Gushee :

    The concept of the sanctity of life is the belief that all human beings, at any and every stage of life, in any and every state of consciousness or self-awareness, of any and every race, color, ethnicity, level of intelligence, religion, language, gender, character, behavior, physical ability/disability, potential, class, social status, etc., of any and every particular quality of relationship to the viewing subject, are to be perceived as persons of equal and immeasurable worth and of inviolable dignity and therefore must be treated in a manner commensurate with this moral status.

    Both of these leave the idea that there is some sort of level of development where one reaches the point where it is seriously wrong to take one’s life.
    It doesn’t take a belief in God to make a sound philosophical medical ethics argument that an unborn child is a type of being whose life it is seriously wrong to end
    As Don Marquis points out, both pro-life and pro-choice arguers attempt to either frame biological or psychological/development arguments to support their arguments – and both of these sets of arguments suffer from the same drawback: they are close to right, but not quite right – and so they are unable to answer the real question. That question is: why is it wrong for me to kill you – and how does that apply to folks who haven’t been born yet.

  • http://ateam.blogware.com David N.

    jchfleetguy,
    “That question is: why is it wrong for me to kill you – and how does that apply to folks who haven’t been born yet.”
    I believe Robin would agree that this is an important and central question, she would simply give a different answer than you or Don Marquis. Robin would likely say that without a “soul” of some sort it is difficult to see how a human being could possess intrinsic value.
    I read Marquis’s article and it suffers from some serious problems, makes assumptions without making them explicit, and he even contradicts himself, at least implicitly. He certainly hasn’t settled the issue, and he definitely hasn’t proven that you can make a good philosophical argument against abortion without reference to God.

  • http://abortionabout.com One Dove

    Abortion is typically a selfish act used to erase the mistake of two people. There are exceptions, such as rape or incest, but they are exceptions and relatively rare.
    Debates over a “soul,” when life begins, viability, a woman’s right to choose, a woman’s control over her own body, the status of fetuses and embryos, etc., are, in the end, meaningless to most who are pro-abortion.
    Why are they meaningless? Because, abortion is typically a selfish act used to erase the mistake of two people. In their minds, it’s not really about any of those other issues.
    In addition, except for the question of when life begins — which has been answered, but still continues to be denied or debated by a few cro-magnon types — the remaining issues are philosophical in nature and therefore have no concrete, scientific answers.
    Leaders on the pro-abortion side know and understand this. The pro-life side can argue till the cows come home over philosophical issues, but it won’t matter because — we can’t win that way.
    Why not? Because abortion is legal.
    As I said at the beginning, abortion is typically a selfish act used to erase the mistake of two people. For those who wish to keep this “convenience,” nothing short of a law will slow down the practice. Appealing to their intelligence, sympathy, morality, ethical values, or conscience may make them wince, but it won’t make them quit.
    Only a change in law can make a real difference. Of course, there will be those who will continue to have illegal abortions, but their acts will be a matter for the courts, just as with rape, which while it is illegal, still happens, and becomes a matter for the courts.
    The only way to radically reduce the number of abortions is to make the practice illegal.

  • ucfengr

    First, women don’t control their own bodies. In many areas of this country and the world, a husband can [legally] rape his wife and, as long as it occurs in the confines of “marriage”, he gets away with it.
    I’m throwing the BS flag on this non-sequitor. Unless you are writing from Saudi Arabia or one of the other Islamic paradises in the Middle East, this is complete BS. No state in the US allows legalized rape no matter what the marital status of the parties involved.
    Second, there are two sets of rights to consider: a viable human being vs. a potential human being. I tend to come down on the side of the former.
    WTF is a “potential human being”? What is the magical line that must be crossed before a human being goes from “potential” to “viable”? In reality, a baby 2 weeks, or even 2 months post-partum is no more viable than a baby 2 weeks or months pre-partum. Neither is capable of surviving without total external support. I’m throwing another BS flag, because medically speaking, their is no such thing as a potential human being. To quote that great philosopher, Dr. Suess, “a person’s a person, no matter how small”.
    Many of these same people are pro-war,
    I am not sure what this means; are you saying that you oppose any war for any reason? Do you think it was wrong to fight World War 2? The US Civil War? The American Revolution?
    pro-death penalty
    Are you really trying to say that a mother killing her baby is morally equivalent, or even morally superior to the state executing a murderer? You may not like the death penalty, but it might be nice to realize that a murderer has substantial due process rights that must be followed before he can be executed. This is not the case for the unborn child.
    anti-social safety net.
    This is one of those statements that does more to show the biases of the writer than anything else. Pro-lifers are typically very generous with their time and money, many just don’t think the government is a very efficient mechanism for distributing those resources. In fact, one could argue that judging from recent new stories, liberals (Daschle, Geitner, et. al.) aren’t very good about actually providing support for the safety net they claim to support.

  • http://theincarnate.blogspot.com Matt Stephens

    The lynch pin question cannot be an unanswerable one. The one you have posed re: the soul is, as other commenters have noted, unanswerable. The question, rather, is Who has rights? The answer, “only those who have souls,” is a theological one which cannot and do not hold up in a secular constitution or court. Therefore, rights must be granted on another basis. That basis, as debated over the last four decades, hinges upon one’s view of personhood. There are psycho-social, developmental views, such as the one currently accepted by those who uphold Roe, which actually denies personhood to even infants and senile elderly (perhaps even to all of us), and there are biological views. The biological definition is crucial, because it is the only way to avoid the slippery slope. I wrote on this here. See the comments for a more extensive discussion.

  • John M.

    “one thing that drives me up the wall, is folks who are pro-life ONLY when it has to do with unborn babies. Many of these same people are pro-war, pro-death penalty and anti-social safety net”
    Lumping all this together is absurdly simplistic.
    First of all, nobody is “pro-war” i.e., they want to go out and get shot at just for the heck of it.
    As for the death penalty, I personally am conflicted about it, but it IS specifically allowed by the Constitution and it’s NOT just killing somebody for convenience. It’s punishment for heinous crime. Not the same thing at all.
    As for a social safety net, we have one: Medicare disability. But some people think “safety net” means “wealth redistribution to able-bodied people who just don’t have a very good job right now”.

  • JillD

    The one thing I would sort of disagree with “One Dove” about is how to rid ourselves of abortion. I do think changing the law would do the job, but I don’t think that’s likely to happen. With the election of BHO, it’s going the wrong way. When he gets to replace Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, the odds will get even worse.
    Rather, I have begun to pray against the abortionists. When these dealers of death are sick of what they’re doing, sick of the appellation “abortionist,” sick of being seen as scum by their colleagues, when they quit in disgust, there will be virtually no one left to perform the sacrament. Already there are states with no resident abortionist. California has been training non-physicians to perform abortions, against current law. This is the weak link: the practitioner.
    I think that could happen much sooner than a change of the law. Pray that the Lord opens their eyes. When they pull a little arm or leg out of woman’s womb, let them see and be horrified by what they’ve done. This is a spiritual battle.

  • pentamom

    I think the “soul” thing is a red herring, and points the wrong way. Neither legally nor biblically has the sanctity of human life ever been dependent on a belief that a particular person has a “soul,” but simply on the fact that a human beings as such are unique creatures(however they came to be that way.)
    So according to historic legal and religious understanding, the only question that has to be settled is whether the offspring of a human, is human. Really, I can’t fathom why that’s even a question. To even ask the question “is it human yet” is to suggest that it could be something else in the meantime.

  • ex-preacher

    Is an egg a chicken?

  • ex-preacher

    More questions:
    When God commanded a census of the Israelites, did they count the unborn?
    Why does the Old Testament Law prescribe only a fine if someone causes a woman to miscarry, but the death penalty if someone causes the woman to die also?
    Why didn’t Jesus or Paul or Peter or John or Jude or anyone else in the New Testament mention abortion?

  • http://bumpersticker.wordpress.com jodi

    The valid argument from this post is that we (pro-choice/pro-lifers) aren’t talking the same language. For someone who is against abortion to use the defense that it’s wrong because God says so does absolutely no good for a discussion with those who don’t believe in God. It is a way to stagnate the discussion. We do have to find new questions to ask – I don’t know if the soul one is it, but it’s as good a start as any.

  • http://dailyduck.blogspot.com/ Hey Skipper

    There are reasons additional to what The Rambling Taoist listed as cause to be pro-choice, yet do not make one pro-abortion.
    Pro-life advocates generally, and exclusively here, base their argument upon metaphysical claims that are not universally shared, and come under freedom of conscience’s heading. So, for those such as myself, every theologically based argument against abortion is completely empty, and in a country that practices freedom of religion, there is no reason why the state should impose your metaphysical claims at my expense.
    Further, as TRT noted, women do not, in fact, control their own bodies. IIRC, while pregnancy due to rape and incest is rare, at about 32,000 per year, it is certainly happens. The pro-life position loses all coherence the moment it allows a rape/incest exception. Eliminating the incoherence makes women slaves to the crimes perpetrated upon them. There simply is no finessing that point.
    Finally, it is worth noting the saying that “possession is nine tenths of the law.” Like it or not, for the majority of a pregnancy, the woman is the sole owner. Yet despite this indissoluble ownership, pro-life advocates hope to impose their will upon others, no matter their feelings in the matter.
    I will be the first to admit that the pro-choice argument is also incoherent: there is simply no bright dividing line between person and non-personhood.
    The fundamental difference between the two sides, though, is the matter of choice. Those who are pro-life desire to impose their claims upon others.
    In contrast, I am pro-choice because as bad as abortion generally is, imposing metaphysical claims upon those who find them baseless is even worse.

  • JillD

    Ex-preacher, Jodi is right. But I’d like to say this to you anyway. Jesus did say things like:
    “This is my body, given for you.”
    “This is love, that you lay down your life for your friends.”
    “But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
    “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
    Jesus obviously had very strict standards for moral behavior, so I would say that his opinion of abortion would be well covered by these thoughts.

  • Penny

    Barack Obama is the Antichrist. The question is when do we stop staring at his diadems and begin the war.

  • http://dailyduck.blogspot.com/ Hey Skipper

    Jodi:
    We do have to find new questions to ask …
    I do think there is an anti-abortion case to be made to those who think religious claims are empty: abortion helps to objectify women, helping to make them self-propelled secks toys. (have to beat the spam filter)
    However, while that is (to my mind) a very compelling argument that women should take on board, it does not advance your case for prohibition, or even significant limitation.

  • miliukov

    Several have posed the question above, in various forms: where does life begin? And it is a nice rhetorical trick. Because if you say it begins at birth, then you basically have to equate the morality of collapsing the skull of a half-delivered newborn with RU-238. And if you say it depends on the feasibility of the fetus, you are stuck in some unanswerable Zeno-esque paradox from one day to the next. And if you say life begins at conception, then you have to admit that you are willing to murder babies in the womb if you also support abortion rights. Q.E.D., no?
    But it’s all rhetoric.
    Rachel and First Dove and cfengr and almost all the others in the anti-choice crowd don’t really believe that life begins at conception. They don’t really believe that abortion is murder. They don’t really believe that an unborn fetus is the same as a person. Or if they do, then they truly are more wretched than the rest of us who don’t know, can’t say — don’t think we’ll ever know.
    Because if they really believed that abortion was murder, why would they be wasting time hanging around on blogs and blog comment thread politely shooting the breeze with all the baby killers? Why bother with anything? They should be blowing up abortion clinics, assassinating gynecologists, living in the woods and conducting hit-and-run missions on Planned Parenthood. Or if they’re not the gun-wielding, bomb-tossing types, they should march every single day, donate all their money away, block access to clinics, quit their jobs, try to secede from the Union, and operate underground networks protecting people less cowardly than themselves. Because if abortion is murder, then there is indeed a holocaust. And if there is a holocaust, who has the greater culpability: those who don’t know there’s one around them, or those who do and whose great act of resistance is…posting on the internet? There’s a term for that: collaboration.
    You want more evidence? How about: the “rape/incest” red herring, which was hinted at by Hey Skipper above. If the anti-choice crowd believed abortion was murder, these would not be mitigants. You don’t commit murder to right a wrong. Nor would you take the life of a child to minimize a potential threat to the mother’s health. That is a canard, to get another 15-20 percent of electorate on board.
    No, they don’t believe that abortion is murder. They believe that abortion is unpleasant. They are squeamish about other people having, what is it, “secks” that they don’t approve of. They want individuals to bear “consequences” for decisions that they wouldn’t make themselves. They like to moralize on the topic of personal responsibility. And then they want to pry into the lives of those that they don’t think have exercised that responsibility in a way that they approve. Finally, they don’t want limited government — they want their own, intrusive, nanny-state big government. And they are willing to play politics on a complicated question to try to get it.
    I have two daughters, wonderful, smart, beautiful, not as jaded as their father. And I have sonograms of both of them from about 20 weeks, and about a few thousands photos, including those taken at the moment of birth. It’s a miracle, it’s a mystery. And using it for political points as part of a broader agenda is nothing other than reprehensible. Keep abortion safe, keep it legal, strive to make it rare through education, access to contraception, pregnancy counseling and equal opportunity. And beyond that, shut up and mind your own business.

  • http://theestherproject.wordpress.com Lex

    Very interesting post. It’s worth noting that we seem to have been going back and forth with the same intellectual arguments and getting virtually no where. I’m not sure if the question of the soul is the answer, but it’s – as another commenter mentioned – a good start.
    Because if they really believed that abortion was murder, why would they be wasting time hanging around on blogs and blog comment thread politely shooting the breeze with all the baby killers? Why bother with anything?
    Really? Is there, then, nothing going on in the world that you think is wrong? Wouldn’t that stand to reason that no one is really against the war/conflict in the Middle East? Because if they were they’d be doing everything in their power to stop it? Seriously flawed argument.
    and in a country that practices freedom of religion, there is no reason why the state should impose your metaphysical claims at my expense.
    Considering how much tax payer money goes to organizations like Planned Parenthood, this is the pro-life movement’s argument to make. Thousands of abortions are being carried out at MY expense and I can’t have a say?
    Eliminating the incoherence makes women slaves to the crimes perpetrated upon them.
    And yet abortion – whether or not rape is involved – makes children slaves to the crimes perpetrated upon their mothers.
    Finally, it is worth noting the saying that “possession is nine tenths of the law.” Like it or not, for the majority of a pregnancy, the woman is the sole owner.
    Until age 18 parents are the legal guardians of a child. If both parents are in unity, then, is child abuse permitted because possession is nine tenths of the law? One law cannot be carried out in direct contradiction to a greater law. “Possession is nine tenths of the law” is void when committed against “the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

  • JillD

    Muliokov is right. We DON’T act like we believe it’s murder. But I do know that sincere people are sickened by what they know is going on behind the doors of PP and Family Planning Associates, the McDonald’s franchise of abortion. (Apologies to McDonald’s.)
    I was involved for a couple of years with Operation Rescue. Randall Terry used this very same argument to inspire me: If we believe it’s murder, we need to ACT like it’s murder. If you saw a woman walking into a building with her 2-year-old, knowing that that child was about to be killed, what would you DO??? Walk around the building with a damn picket sign??
    The fact that Christians do sit on their laurels and write letters and post blogs when children are being slaughtered frustrates me. But the numbers of Christians who were willing to put their bodies in front of the doors of the abortuaries was not enough to stop the killing except for that one day. Many have been arrested many times – for me, 5 – and many have spent months and years in jail, but most will do nothing.
    Our rhetoric does not match our behavior and I believe it’s a shame. Why DON’T we do more?? If every Christian, every PRO-LIFE person, would sit in front of the doors ONE TIME, abortion would end tomorrow.

  • http://dailyduck.blogspot.com/ Hey Skipper

    Lex:
    Until age 18 parents are the legal guardians of a child. If both parents are in unity, then, is child abuse permitted because possession is nine tenths of the law?
    For most of a pregnancy, the mother is the sole and indissoluble owner.
    Which makes your argument by analogy inappropriate. The state could force the child into foster care, for instance. The two are just not the same.
    It’s worth noting that we seem to have been going back and forth with the same intellectual arguments and getting virtually no where.
    I disagree. There are two arguments here the anti-choice side simply sidesteps.
    The first is the problem of imposing metaphysical claims upon those who do not share them.
    Second, the anti-choice side falls into rarely acknowledged self-contradiction when faced with pregnancies due to rape and incest.
    Support for the anti-choice position falls like a greased safe when that position is taken at face value, and collapses into incoherence when allowing choice in the face of rape or incest.
    Note, I don’t claim any particular intellectual coherence for the pro-choice side, either.
    However, the impossibility of conclusively dealing with abortion no matter from which direction one approaches it, argues strongly for leaving the choice in the hands of the woman to whom the pregnancy irrevocably belongs.

  • miliukov

    Lex — I think you missed my point: since 1973, there have been approximately 42-43 million legal abortions in the United States. If the anti-choice movement believes its own rhetoric — i.e., that this is the moral equivalent of 42-43 million slaughtered innocent children selfishly sacrificed to the God of Convenience to correct 42-43 million mistakes — then they are the most cowardly people imaginable. The only group to match it would be patriotic Germans in the 1930s who watched their neighbors get rounded up and packed in cattle cars. (But to be fair, those who did oppose the Nazi regime took real risks, and usually met the same end. See: Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Very different than posting witty comments on a blog’s comment thread.)
    Whatever version of the steady-state war in the Middle East one may agree or disagree with; or whatever view one may have on climate change; or global poverty; or AIDS; or, or, or… — these things are not within several orders of magnitude of 42-43 million human sacrifices for a convenient lifestyle choice. To say that they are only reinforces my point.
    If they believed the rhetoric. But they don’t of course. Anyone can see that. Even a child.

  • psuedo-joshua

    When God commanded a census of the Israelites, did they count the unborn?
    not because the unborn weren’t considered humans but because counting them in the census would have been statistically irrelevant in the ancient world where infant surivival rate was very low.
    Why does the Old Testament Law prescribe only a fine if someone causes a woman to miscarry, but the death penalty if someone causes the woman to die also?
    Exodus 21:22-5 assumes that the offender wasn’t purposely trying to kill the unborn child. it’s an accidental death, and the death penalty is never proscribed for accidental deaths in the Old Testament law.
    Why didn’t Jesus or Paul or Peter or John or Jude or anyone else in the New Testament mention abortion?
    this is simply an argument from silence. most Jews in Jesus and the apostle’s day didn’t need to be convinced that abortion was wrong. hence they didn’t feel the need to teach them that it was.
    miliukov: would you call all the Jews and others who didn’t actively resist the Nazi regime cowards? it really is a shame that most aren’t willing to more forcefully combat abortion, but that doesn’t say anything whatsoever about whether abortion is right or wrong.

  • http://dailyduck.blogspot.com/ Hey Skipper

    … would you call all the Jews and others who didn’t actively resist the Nazi regime cowards?
    For those who didn’t actively buy into the long-standing cultural anti-Judaism actively promoted by Christianity, ultimately they preferred self preservation over acting upon their moral viewpoint.
    Which isn’t to say I would have done any differently; it is merely a statement of fact.
    … it really is a shame that most aren’t willing to more forcefully combat abortion, but that doesn’t say anything whatsoever about whether abortion is right or wrong.
    No, what it does say is that those opposed to abortion on the basis that it constitutes murder do not really believe what they say.
    Obviously, they believe it is wrong; however, it is clear from their inaction that they do not believe aborting a fetus is morally equivalent to killing an independent human.
    Further demonstration of that: all recent attempts to term abortion murder have imposed punishment only upon the doctor, and not at all upon the woman.
    Why? Because calling millions of women murders just doesn’t wash.

  • JillD

    It has always perplexed me that if someone murders a pregnant woman, he is guilty of double murder – of the woman and of her unborn child.
    Indeed, very perplexing….

  • miliukov

    psuedo-joshua wrote: “would you call all the Jews and others who didn’t actively resist the Nazi regime cowards?”
    I think that history takes a dim view on the indifference of the German people in the 1930s: not just the finely-engineered, mechanized murder by the Nazis, but the silent collaboration of those who knew what was happening, and tacitly supported it by glancing away. If the anti-choice crowd wants to use the “abortion is murder” rhetoric, they need to look into that mirror for their reflection. But they don’t believe that rhetoric: they believe abortion is icky.
    it really is a shame that most aren’t willing to more forcefully combat abortion, but that doesn’t say anything whatsoever about whether abortion is right or wrong.”
    Perhaps not. But it should prevent them from using that piece of empty rhetoric when they are trying to imposing their big government nanny state theocracy on the rest of us, and let the right/wrong part be left to individuals and their consciences.

  • ucfengr

    Is an egg a chicken?
    Is killing a chicken the same as killing a person?

  • ucfengr

    I wonder if mululikov, et. al., would advocate that people opposed to our conflict in Iraq blow up military recruiting stations and other government buildings to express their disapproval. Using his logic, a person really can’t be anti-war unless he is killing the people engaging in it.

  • http://guinnbob@comcast.net Hey Skipper

    ucfengr:
    Rather than taking another step along the logic road, why not address what miliukov’s objection directly?
    The scale of abortion dwarfs in lives our losses in Iraq. Unlike Nazi Germany there is no legal retribution for any resistance short of violence or destruction.
    Yet the mismatch between the attested scale of abortions and the actual resistance to it is striking.
    I think miliukov knows precisely why.

  • ucfengr

    Rather than taking another step along the logic road, why not address what miliukov’s objection directly?
    What, that if you are not killing abortion doctors and blowing up Planed Parenthood clinics, you can’t claim to be pro-life? I’m not sure why I should feel the need to, any more than I would expect an anti-Iraq war person to seriously address mine. It’s they type of brain dead argument that sounds reasonable only to someone in softer disciplines of academia, or an insane asylum.

  • miliukov

    Apparently also missing the point, ucfengr writes: “I wonder if mululikov, et. al., would advocate that people opposed to our conflict in Iraq blow up military recruiting stations and other government buildings to express their disapproval. Using his logic, a person really can’t be anti-war unless he is killing the people engaging in it.”
    No, of course I would not advocate that. But I would argue that the war in Iraq is a strategic blunder, not a holocaust noveau. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t see it as a particularly moral failure either, but a political one. That of course is another issue, for another discussion.
    But, ucfengr, if you and the anti-choice crowd believe that abortion=murder, and you think that the invasion of Iraq is the equivalent of 43 million dead children (vis-a-vis the justification for violent intervention as a mode of protest) sacrificed on the altar of American convenience, then you are the moral bankrupt, not me. Personally, I don’t think that you believe that; rather you just don’t want to parse your own rhetoric closely enough to acknowledge the hypocrisy that links together the talking points. But maybe I’m wrong.

  • miliukov

    “What, that if you are not killing abortion doctors and blowing up Planed Parenthood clinics, you can’t claim to be pro-life?”
    No. You can claim for yourself the title: pro-life, etc.
    But what you can’t do is to argue that abortion=murder; unless you also claim the titles: collaborator, coward, hypocrite, abdicator, baby-killer — unless also you are willing to go to extralegal, personally risky measures to actually stop abortions. Posting comments on a discussion board does not count.

  • miliukov

    To her credit, JillD understands this. How many times have you been arrested for blocking access to a women’s health clinic, ucfengr?

  • ucfengr

    Apparently also missing the point, ucfengr writes:
    No, I think you are missing the point.
    But I would argue that the war in Iraq is a strategic blunder, not a holocaust noveau.
    Your personal view of the Iraq war (or for that matter, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) is not particularly relevant to my counter-hypothesis. There are significant portions of the anti-war movement who do view it that way. Should those people be blowing up military recruiting stations or attempting to assassinate the military and political leaders responsible for the conflict? The obvious answer is no, but I don’t see how you can arrive at that answer given your view of abortion opponents.
    But what you can’t do is to argue that abortion=murder; unless you also claim the titles: collaborator, coward, hypocrite, abdicator, baby-killer — unless also you are willing to go to extralegal, personally risky measures to actually stop abortions.
    Sure I can; I do it all the time and will continue to do so. Sorry, but you don’t get to frame the terms of the debate.

  • ex-preacher

    Two more examples showing that most anti-abortion folks don’t really think abortion is murder:
    1. Even though they tend to enthusiastically support the death penalty, I don’t know of any anti-abortion leaders who advocate the death penalty for women who have abortions. In fact, IIRC, Sarah Palin even said that women who have abortions should not face any criminal charges.
    2. On this very blog, Joe Carter admitted that, if faced with the alternative of saving an infant or an ice chest with 1,000 frozen embryos from a burning building, he would save the infant.

  • ex-preacher

    As I think you know, ucfengr, I was not equating humans with chickens. I was drawing an analogy. In the same way that we distinguish between chickens and eggs, why can’t we distinguish between persons and embryos.

  • ex-preacher

    As I think you know, ucfengr, I was not equating humans with chickens. I was drawing an analogy. In the same way that we distinguish between chickens and eggs, why can’t we distinguish between persons and embryos.

  • ucfengr

    As I think you know, ucfengr, I was not equating humans with chickens. I was drawing an analogy.
    And I was pointing out a flaw in the analogy. I eat both chickens and eggs, something I don’t do to humans, or fetuses, so how I view the two is irrelevant to the debate. Another flaw in the analogy is that you don’t distinguish between a fertilized egg and an unfertilized one. An unfertilized egg is not a chicken, but once an egg is fertilized and the embryo starts to grow, then yes it is a chicken. But, even given that, the analogy is seriously flawed because no one outside the most extreme animal rights fringes equates killing a chicken with killing a human.

  • ucfengr

    Even though they tend to enthusiastically support the death penalty, I don’t know of any anti-abortion leaders who advocate the death penalty for women who have abortions.
    This argument is similar to the one muliukov advances and, like his, it’s self-defeating. If the pro-life movement was really about controlling women, then it would have no problem executing a few to keep the rest in line. Similar to what goes on in many Muslim countries via the custom of “honor killing”. This opposition to punishment of the mothers (as opposed to the abortionist who should be punished serverely) highlights that the pro-life movement is about compassion for both the unborn child and the mother, not about controlling women.
    On this very blog, Joe Carter admitted that, if faced with the alternative of saving an infant or an ice chest with 1,000 frozen embryos from a burning building, he would save the infant.
    Given a choice between saving 1000 end-stage cancer patients and saving 1 newborn infant from a burning building, I would save the infant. I guess that means I don’t think end-stage cancer patients are human beings and that I would have no problem with them being torn limb from limb. No, wait, that’s not what it means at all. Another flawed analogy from ex-preacher. Are you going for the record, ex?

  • pentamom

    “Is an egg a chicken?”
    No, because eggs don’t grow up to be chickens. Eggs are structures which CONTAIN chickens. What is the thing inside the (fertilized) egg, if it’s NOT a chicken?

  • ex-preacher

    No, pentamom, the entire thing is an egg. The outside is the eggshell.
    People eat fertile chicken eggs all the time, though the ones in the grocery store are usually not fertilized.
    “Fertile eggs have remnants of the male’s sperm and a small layer of cells that could form the embryo. The proportion of these to the total egg is so small that it is impossible to detect chemical differences between fertile and infertile eggs.”
    The chicken only starts developing when incubation begins.

  • ex-preacher

    ucfengr,
    Why do you compare embryos to end-stage cancer patients?
    Regarding the criminal punishment of women who have abortions – I don’t follow you at all. If a woman asks a doctor for an abortion, how is that different from ordering a murder. I believe that someone who pays for a murder is usually held to be as culpable or more culpable than the one who pulls the trigger. Please answer: If abortion is murder, why shouldn’t women who ask for abortions be treated as murderers?

  • ex-preacher

    Pentamom,
    The whole thing is the egg; the outside is the eggshell. People eat fertilized chicken eggs all the time, though most of the ones in grocery stores are unfertilized. The fertilized chicken egg does not start turning into an embryo until the egg is incubated.

  • ucfengr

    Why do you compare embryos to end-stage cancer patients?
    Why do you compare them to chickens?
    Regarding the criminal punishment of women who have abortions – I don’t follow you at all.
    Did you not read the post? I thought is was pretty clear; if the pro-life movement was about controlling women (as muliukov asserted, and apparently you agree), as opposed to preserving life, then killing a few women wouldn’t be a problem. Fear is a great mechanism for control. That we (or at least the vast majority) don’t, should put to lie the assertion that the pro-life movement is about controlling women.

  • ex-preacher

    Please give straightforward answers, ucfengr.
    In the burning building scenario, why do you equate human embryos with end-stage cancer patients? How are they similar to you?
    If abortion is murder, why shouldn’t women who seek abortions be charged with murder?

  • http://www.voiceoftruthblog.com John

    Alot of interesting comments, especially one that argued the New Testament makes no mention of abortion. This may be true, but I believe you need to look no further than Luke 1:41-44. When Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother) heard Mary’s (Jesus’ mother) greeting, the baby leaped in her womb. Elizabeth was in her 6th month. This beautifully shows that the baby was in fact a life, even though it had yet to take a breath.
    Comparing an unborn child to the chicken/egg scenario is not only nonsensical, but it’s bordering on absurd.
    http://www.voiceoftruthblog.com

  • ex-preacher

    Let’s go over this again, folks. I am not saying that an unborn human is an egg or a chicken. It’s called an analogy.
    As egg is to chicken, so fetus is to person. The point is that we can and do distinguish between a fertilized egg and a chicken. I’m pretty confident many vegetarians (not all) eat fertilized eggs with no qualms. If you ordered a fried chicken and were served fried eggs, you might complain to the chef. A fertilized chicken egg is not a chicken. At best, it is a potential chicken.

  • JillD

    I dare you to watch from start to finish:
    http://www.obamamustsee.com
    Choose your language and sit back and watch what happens, not to chicken eggs, but to human beings.

  • miliukov

    ucfengr — you are either willfully pretending to miss the point; or you have a very slender grip on basic skills of critical thinking. I assume it is the former. It is no wonder that the anti-choice movement has made so few strides in actually reducing abortions in the United States: its rhetoric, and apparently its adherents, are empty. It’s a political game to you; not a point of moral consequence.
    There is no benefit in discussing this further with you.

  • ex-preacher

    For what it’s worth, I am opposed to abortion after the first trimester. The vast majority of abortions take place in the first 10 weeks. Like most Americans (and most people in the Western world), I am in the middle on this issue. I have no problem with very early abortions, but a very big problem with late-term abortions. I think it is unfortunate that the debate in this country is dominated by extremists on both sides. We could learn from the policies of countries like France and the UK, which both make abortion illegal after a certain point.
    The best way to make progress on this issue is not by discussing the soul or a woman’s right to fully control her body, but to find a point where the great majority can agree. Compromise is, sadly, a dirty word to both sides.
    Some of you might be interested in this article on pro-life atheists – including Christopher Hitchens.
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/171240

  • ucfengr

    Please give straightforward answers, ucfengr.
    Your problem is not that my answers aren’t straightforward, but that they aren’t the ones you want. You are looking for answers that you can use to make yourself feel morally superior, but my job is not to make you look, or feel good about yourself.
    The point is that we can and do distinguish between a fertilized egg and a chicken.
    Unless you are arguing that having an abortion is morally equivalent to eating an omelet, you don’t have a point. There is a moral competent to having an abortion that is obvious to all but the most morally obtuse, a category that you apparently fit in.
    Let’s go over this again, folks. I am not saying that an unborn human is an egg or a chicken. It’s called an analogy.
    Yes, an analogy so flawed as to be useless in this debate. You should probably let it go.
    In the burning building scenario, why do you equate human embryos with end-stage cancer patients? How are they similar to you?
    I know Divinity isn’t what you would call a hard science, but really, you don’t see the similarity? How about both are human beings, as am I?
    If abortion is murder, why shouldn’t women who seek abortions be charged with murder?
    Because the goal of the pro-life movement is to end abortion, not to punish people.
    you are either willfully pretending to miss the point;
    Quite honestly, I beginning to wonder if you get your point. Until you get the implications of your point, I agree, it is pointless to discuss this further.
    Like most Americans (and most people in the Western world), I am in the middle on this issue.
    I love how you just define yourself as the moderate and everybody who doesn’t agree with you as extreme.
    I have no problem with very early abortions, but a very big problem with late-term abortions. I think it is unfortunate that the debate in this country is dominated by extremists on both sides. We could learn from the policies of countries like France and the UK, which both make abortion illegal after a certain point.
    Nice sentiment, but the reality is that under Roe v. Wade and it’s subsequent cases, there can be no meaningful legal restrictions on abortion. Until Roe is overturned, compromise can’t happen. Of course, this position does beg the question, at what point does the non-human fetus transform into a human being, worthy of protection? And, what specific changes occur to the fetus to signal this transformation from non-human to human?

  • ucfengr

    In my previous post, this was addressed to miliukov:
    you are either willfully pretending to miss the point;
    Quite honestly, I beginning to wonder if you get your point. Until you get the implications of your point, I agree, it is pointless to discuss this further.
    The rest was responding to ex.

  • http://www.voiceoftruthblog.com John

    Two replies. First, regarding opposition of abortion except within the first trimester. So what you are saying is you can discern when an abortion is appropriate and when it isn’t? What is that based on? Heartbeat? No, that occurs at about 18 days. Development? No, because the first trimester is an arbitrary cut-off point to make someone feel better about supporting abortion. You can’t make that kind of distinction. You’re either 100% for or 100% against. It would be like someone offering you $1,000 to kill someone and you said no way. And then someone else offering $1,000,000 to kill someone and you said sure. You’d still be a murderer, you’re just trying to negotiate the terms. It’s the same thing with supporting early abortions and not supporting late term. You’re just negotiating with your conscience.
    2nd point is this. The Roe vs. Wade argument is always thrown into the abortion argument and for good reason, that’s the court case that allows for the support of abortion. But did you know that Jane Roe did not even have the abortion? Did you also know that she is actually Pro-life? The fact of the matter is that some arrogant lawyers in the 70′s were looking to make a name for themselves and challenge Texas state law. What we need is for some young ambitious lawyers to challenge Roe vs. Wade and have it overturned.
    http://www.voiceoftruthblog.com

  • ex-preacher

    I really wish the decision on when to allow or not allow abortion could be based on a very clear-cut basis. I certainly understand why the folks on either end of the debate have chosen conception and/or birth as marking points since they are so absolute. Like many things in life, however, I don’t think there is a bright line to guide us.
    Historically, there have been various points that have been accepted as demarcating the beginning of personhood, such as “quickening” (when the mother can feel the baby kicking – happens at about 20 weeks).
    After much study and thought, I believe that we can learn from the decisions we have made regarding when life ends. Once upon a time, decisions about when death were based on respiration and heartbeat. Starting in the 1960s, however, we developed technology that could keep someone breathing and their heart pumping for a long time after they seemed dead. This is why the concept of “brain death” was developed and is widely accepted, even by most pro-life people.
    So when does “brain life” begin? From the New England Journal of Medicine:
    “Functional maturity of the cerebral cortex is suggested by fetal and neonatal electroencephalographic [EEG] patterns…First, intermittent electroencephalograpic bursts in both cerebral hemispheres are first seen at 20 weeks gestation; they become sustained at 22 weeks and bilaterally synchronous at 26 to 27 weeks.”
    from the website http://eileen.250x.com/Main/Einstein/Brain_Waves.htm
    That essay also deals with common pro-lifer claims that brain waves can be detected as early as 6 weeks.
    Drawing the line at the first trimester seems reasonable to me, though I am open to looking at an earlier or later point based on the evidence.

  • http://www.voiceoftruthblog.com John

    Ex-preacher:
    I just want to leave you with one final thought to search your heart with. The Lord God has blessed my life with 2 miscarriages within the last 8 months. You heard that right, blessed, because it strengthened my faith beyond measure. But from the day I first found out my wife was pregnant, both times, I felt like a father. Before I had even seen an ultrasound or heard a heartbeat, I knew I was a father and I loved both little live’s even though there was never a breath taken. I can’t describe to you the pain of the first loss, as it was at 19 weeks, yet I never felt a kick, never held it’s hand, but I was a father. The second loss occurred just this past week, at 7 weeks. But was I any less connected to this one? Was I any less of a father? How could I experience such emotional and physical connection to 2 children I’ve never held? Not a fetus, not an embryo, but a life. Our emotions don’t allow us to connect that way with inanimate objects. If we lose our favorite shoes or wreck our car, our heart’s do not weep from their depths. And if we are not able to sorrow after inanimate objects then that must mean that the little life inside its mother’s womb, is just that, a life.
    Feel free to check out my blog anytime. There might just be some things like this topic to inspire thought. http://www.voiceoftruthblog.com

  • SarahtheCanucki

    You are right – in a way. Not in the way that you intend, but you are right in a way.
    There *are* fundamental assumptions behind this question, but there are always fundamental assumptions behind all questions of ethics, morals, and laws. The same coherent and consistent assumptions that underlie laws against child abuse (of those who are born), stealing, et. al. are by and large the same ones that underlie the opposition to abortion – and that assumption is the fundamental right of all human beings to both their existence on this planet, as well as ownership of their lives and responsibility to recognize the same of everybody else. Underlying even that assumption of basic human rights is the understanding that we cannot have those rights unless they are God-given. The abortion people hate that. They want God out of it, but the fact of it is that that they can’t have it both ways. If God’s not in it, then nobody has any human rights, it’s survival of the fittest, and the weak deserve to perish. This concept can be just as fatal to them as it is to the unborn.
    This is why the abortion debate is both so easy and also so difficult. Easy because we *are* the side that is both right and consistent. I have no problem countering anything the abortion people have to say. I might sound arrogant, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been challenged by any argument those people have come up with and I’ve read a lot and engaged in a lot of debate.
    It is difficult because the abortion people genuinely don’t care about human rights. If they lived back in the Roman era, they would wholeheartedly support the killing of newborns. If they lived during the 17th, 18th, and 19th century and garnered some advantage out of the “institution”, they’d support slavery, too. They’ll say now that they wouldn’t, but that’s because many of them really really want abortion to be ok and legal. Nobody can change the heart of another person – esp. when you are in an oppositional position.
    On to your questions – -
    “Do human beings have a unique soul? (If they say ‘no,’ then that need to be your focus–the pro-life debate is meaningless.)”
    The issue of souls is entirely irrelevant. If the prolife debate would be meaningless without it, then the same dynamic would exist for all murder laws.
    Obviously, the anti-lifer is coming at this from a different angle, and yes – you can make your prolife case from that particular angle (unless the anti-lifer is a social Darwinist). It’s not about whether you have some incorporeal essence, and if it were, how the hell would you argue for or against it?
    If so, is this soul intrinsically valuable? That is, does a soul give the being (body/soul) invaluable worth that results in it being morally wrong to kill a being that has a human soul? (This question requires an admission of morality.)
    If you want to go there, then not even from a moral perspective does this work. I’m a Christian. Maybe I’m weird to say that I think animals have souls, too, so it doesn’t work for me. The intrinsic value of a human being does not come from whether he has a soul, but whether he is created in God’s image. Throughout the history of atrocities the world over, the fundamental era was in treating mankind as if he were some common animal that can be owned or slaughtered instead of something made in His Image.
    “When does human life receive a soul? This is the question everything boils down to.”
    No, it doesn’t, and if it does – then I’ll tell you right now that the pro-killing people have already won the debate. Congratulations for giving them the advantage. Now, they can just as easily say that the human life receives a soul at birth, or at any other arbitrary time and still wholeheartedly believe in their own consistency.
    You’ve also enabled the common impulse of the murderer – to treat his victim like just an animal he can slaughter at will or when it gets in the way. Nice job!

  • JillD

    Sarah, with prolife friends like you, who needs enemies? So encouraging….

  • http://dailyduck.blogspot.com/ Hey Skipper

    Sarah:
    I have no problem countering anything the abortion people have to say. I might sound arrogant, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been challenged by any argument those people have come up with and I’ve read a lot and engaged in a lot of debate.
    Well, neither you nor anyone else here has addressed several things I have brought up.
    – Your argument upon metaphysical claims that are not universally shared, and come under freedom of conscience’s heading. So, in a country that practices freedom of religion, how do you justify using the power of the state to impose those claims upon people who find them completely empty?
    – Some 32,000 women per year in the US become pregnant through rape or incest. In order for your argument to remain coherent, you must insist upon those 32,000 becoming slaves to the crimes against them, no matter what they themselves think about it.
    – Possession is nine tenths of the law. Like it or not, for the majority of a pregnancy, the woman is the sole and indissoluble owner. Yet despite total ownership, anti-choice advocates hope to impose their will upon others, no matter their feelings in the matter, and despite their exclusive ownership.
    Odd that you characterize pro-choice advocates as those who genuinely don’t care about human rights, yet you are apparently happy to trample upon any that get in your way.

  • ex-preacher

    “Throughout the history of atrocities the world over, the fundamental era was in treating mankind as if he were some common animal that can be owned or slaughtered instead of something made in His Image.”
    So I guess you haven’t read the Old Testament in which Yahweh commands the enslavement and genocide of the Canaanites.
    (I think you meant “error,” not “era.”)

  • SarahtheCanucki

    “I’m pro-choice. That’s not the same as being pro-abortion.”
    It can be nothing else. To support the choice to kill another member of the human race is effectively pro-abortion since the act itself is intrinsically evil.
    “First, women don’t control their own bodies.”
    1. No one has the absolute right to control their own bodies. If they did, there would be no laws. It would be anarchy. How else do we commit crimes except by using our bodies? This is beyond obvious. You don’t support men having control of their bodies either, because if you did then you would be pro-choice on rape.
    2. Of course, they do. There are just legal consequences for committing any criminal act.
    “In many areas of this country and the world, a husband can [legally] rape his wife and, as long as it occurs in the confines of “marriage”, he gets away with it.”
    Well, why should you have a problem with it? Is he not exercising his right to control his body?
    “a viable human being vs. a potential human being.”
    Of course, that’s a false dichotomy. Human beings reproduce human beings. After conception, you either have a human being or you have some other kind of creature living inside the woman. Unless you believe some bizarre transformation occurs where a creature just changes into another kind of organism (an amoeba to a human?) which is totally unsupported by science, you are siding with the stronger of the species against the weaker.
    “In addition, one thing that drives me up the wall, is folks who are pro-life ONLY when it has to do with unborn babies.”
    That is just bullcrap. I have very little patience for this kind of drivel.
    “Many of these same people are pro-war, pro-death penalty and anti-social safety net.”
    Very few people are pro-war.
    I’m not sure about the death penalty (although I’m all for it if it’s vigilante style against some truly heinous individual), but the death penalty involves the killing of GUILTY parties. You know, people guilty of murder and terrorism. How can you make an innocent unborn equivalent to terrorists and murderers? As if the killing of the unborn is somehow on an equal playing field!!
    A social safety net involves stealing from people. Nobody has a right to somebody else’s private property. That is the very reason why abortion is wrong. If we make a mistake which causes somebody some level of harm or dependency, we should be responsible for that mistake. That is why parents are responsible and should be held legally responsible for their children. The discrepancy in the law is not extending that responsibility to UNBORN children.
    Now, sure, people should help the poor, etc…but not by the force and power of government. Your social programs, big government crap has many unintended consequences that I won’t go into very much (it actually causes more problems than it solves..for example), but most devastating to your case is that the social safety net example you posited is actually an argument *against* supporting abortion.
    You need to stop assuming that people think like you. We don’t all come at this from the same political philosophy. Government is not here to be your loving Mommy and Daddy.
    “They seem to value life only when it has yet to be lived and not WHILE it’s being lived.”
    Capitalizing “while” doesn’t make you any more correct.

  • SarahtheCanucki

    “So I guess you haven’t read the Old Testament in which Yahweh commands the enslavement and genocide of the Canaanites.”
    Assuming you are correct, that is entirely irrelevant. Trying to make a personal shot against me or Yahweh does absolutely nothing for your pov. It was amusing, though.
    “(I think you meant “error,” not “era.”)”
    *rolls eyes* nooo!..Really?

  • SarahtheCanucki

    “Sarah, with prolife friends like you, who needs enemies? So encouraging…”
    Jill, iron sharpens iron. I only want my friends to succeed. I don’t think they will with what the OP was saying. Success doesn’t translate (to me) as convincing anyone in a debate, but it means making a case that actually…well….makes sense, and gives the other side the least room to maneuver.
    “Well, neither you nor anyone else here has addressed several things I have brought up.”
    Perhaps because I hadn’t read it yet. I’ll be pleased to address it, although all it’ll do is service my ego.
    “Your argument upon metaphysical claims that are not universally shared, and come under freedom of conscience’s heading.”
    Metaphysical claims – about the soul, I make none since I don’t see it as relevant. About God..and the laws being god-given..well, it’s either that or the law of the jungle. I’ve said all this already before.
    Freedom of conscience for a murderous mother equally applies to freedom of conscience for Hitler, Idi Amin, and Pol Pot.
    “So, in a country that practices freedom of religion, how do you justify using the power of the state to impose those claims upon people who find them completely empty?”
    I don’t understand how you think it wasn’t addressed. I did in my post without even realizing you had asked these questions. From now on, I won’t answer questions here that I haven’t answered already.
    “In order for your argument to remain coherent, you must insist upon those 32,000 becoming slaves to the crimes against them, no matter what they themselves think about it.”
    I don’t think all incest cases are rape cases..but I’ll assume for the sake of argument.
    I think calling it a form of slavery is rather melodramatic, but most abortion cases don’t involve incest. I admit that that can be a problem, nonetheless. I’d hardly consider it a challenge. The woman cannot be said to have invited that child in by any means..so her level of responsibility is non-existent, but think about abortion as an act.
    Perhaps, it would clear it up a little better for you if instead of thinking of the child as a fetus – some blob you can depersonalize – you think of it as an infant dropped on somebody’s doorstep (in the case of rape – that would be the correct analogy). If that child would die otherwise, what do you think that the law should say if the child was discovered by the owner of the house and he let it starve to death, or worse…literally stabbed it to death so the child won’t take up any of his resources?
    The goal of abortion is not simple removal (in terms of the analogy, let it starve to death) but killing (in terms of the analogy, stabbing it to death). That is what the mother wants. That is the whole darn point. Most mothers who want to abort (esp. in the case of incest) do so because they want the kid dead..not simply removed and their responsibility vanished.
    So, abortion is akin to stabbing an infant left on your doorstep until it dies. That can never be legally right, even if she isn’t responsible. With neglect,you might be able to argue as being ok in the case of rape and incest, but that’s not what an abortion is. If you study the actual procedures and even read some of what abortionists say themselves, that is not what an abortion does.
    Even if somebody else put that baby there against her will, it’s still wrong and should be illegal to murder it – to kill it with malice aforethought. The death penalty for somebody else’s evil is not only unjust but cruel and inhumane.
    “Possession is nine tenths of the law. Like it or not, for the majority of a pregnancy, the woman is the sole and indissoluble owner.”
    Of the baby? And you talk about *pregnancy* as slavery? Of her body? Duh! A woman owns her house, too..it doesn’t make child abuse ok.
    “anti-choice advocates hope to impose their will upon others, no matter their feelings in the matter, and despite their exclusive ownership.”
    It’s not about imposing anybody’s will, and ownership can’t make child abuse ok, nor does it magically make parental responsibility disappear.
    If *you* want to be coherent, why not dismantle laws against child abuse and child neglect?
    “Odd that you characterize pro-choice advocates as those who genuinely don’t care about human rights, yet you are apparently happy to trample upon any that get in your way.”
    Not at all. You simply really really want abortion to be ok. You don’t care about human rights. Trying to turn the tables on me doesn’t work, since by doing so you are saying that it’s a human right for people to kill their children and neglect parental responsibility. Obviously, it’s not.
    I don’t care what people do with their lives, and it’s laughable that you would make that statement about me wanting to trample on folks who get in my way. You’ve been reading way too many PP brochures and abortion propaganda. Quit talking to a caricature, and talk to *me*. If you knew me, you would not make that accusation, publicly where folks would know that it’s BS and you would look like an idiot and a jerk.
    It’s not about me..or my will. It’s about defending the weak and defenseless. So, yah..nice personal shot there.

  • miliukov

    With people like Sarah around, the best thing that sensible people can do is keep their mouths shut and give her the microphone — shows the non-crazy people in the country what the real agenda is, when it’s not all dressed up in its Sunday best.

  • SarahtheCanucki

    I left miliukov’s rather insubstantive reaction alone, but now, my fingers are begging me to type, so type I shall!
    miliukov, I can only say that coming from you, it’s a high compliment. I mean, seriously. If a former guard of Auschwitz called *you* crazy, and Nazi Germany “sensible”, would it bother you that much? I would hope not. It would sound like the ravings of a homicidal madman if that were to happen to me. You, I view in much the same way, except you don’t have the excuse of “I was just following orders”. Hm..well, maybe you haven’t killed anyone yet, but the point still stands.
    So, yah..nice insult there. I’m glad you have affirmed my opinion of you and others like you.
    With regards to – this is the most amusing part so I’ll refer to it first – me expressing myself without my “Sunday Best”.
    Let’s put it this way. With folks like you and other abortion supporters, you will not see me play nice (unless I see you as very ignorant and in need of education) nor will you see me pussy foot around. There was a time when I naively thought that if people like you really knew the truth about the unborn, then you would realize what it is you are supporting and you would stop supporting it. It took some time of arguing with folks like you before I realized that most of you don’t give a crap. Folks like you don’t care whether it’s a baby or a human being, and everything folks like you say to get away from that (eg. “oh, it’s not conscious yet” as if consciousness determines human worth, as if “human worth” is really up to you, me, the mother, or anybody else to determine but the human in question and God who grants that human free will).
    Everything you say to get away from that proven scientific fact (about the nature of the entity in question) are nothing more than excuses and poor rationales to make *yourselves* feel better about it..to numb your sensitivities. Your morality..your sense of ethics..you make up as you go along, and you expect everyone else to align with it..as if you are gods that you can decide for the life and death of another fellow human being. That is not right, and can never be right, and should never be legal.
    As for “the real agenda”, I didn’t realize it was hidden. The abortion supporters are all about hiding things. We aren’t. You talk of “the real agenda” spoken without my Sunday Best as if somehow this all was a revelation, something new or interesting.
    I mean, seriously, have you been paying attention at all? Everyone from National Right to Life to Libertarians for Life to Family Research Council to Democrats for Life to Nat Hentoff and almost every other Prolifer of whatever political persuasion says about the same things I do. The only difference is one of presentation, and that you would remark on something so minor says more about you than it does about me.
    I really hope it doesn’t bother you that much that I have so little respect for your position on this issue. Actually, I don’t care whether it does.

  • miliukov

    What? Sorry…can you repeat that? I’m not sure I caught it the first time.

  • Ben

    Wow, Sarah’s painting herself a nice big target for both sides (mothers *want* to kill their children? …)
    I do agree that the “you’re imposing your will on the mother” argument is a bit lame: if for some reason everybody at the age of 20 went comatose for 9 months and became dependent on one other person, we’d still probably require their support and do our best to help them (and to do otherwise would be neglect or murder).
    So I think the “personhood” argument is most appropriate, as I can’t see that a “brain-dead” person has equal rights, particularly if they’ve never been “brain-alive”.

  • joel

    I must say, this has been a rather interesting comment thread to read through. A couple of random thoughts…
    miliukov, I find it interesting (curious? amusing?) that you bemusedly paint pro-lifers (anti-choicers, was it, as opposed to the anti-lifers? *shrug* have it your way…) as not believing their own rhetoric regarding abortion as murder because they don’t act like it, but when Sarah comes along and gets a little more pointed and serious rather than theoretical with her comments you turn around and write her off as crazy.
    Regarding the supposition itself, that if the rhetoric were true we should be engaged in more active resistance rather than simply chattering online, I feel the need to point out the fallacy therein (though I confess I don’t know my fallacies well enough to name which variant it might be). Quite simply you’re imposing a requirement that doesn’t exist (based on your personal morality, by the way). You require that if we really believed what we say then the only logical response is active resistance, but that requirement rules out…well, logic. In the current context of our country’s laws, government, and military, it is illogical to think that active resistance would have the slightest hope of accomplishing anything. No, on the contrary, many if not most people who are actively pro-life (rather than simply holding a pro-life opinion) truly believe abortion is a form of murder and are simply trying to figure out what they can do that will actually have any impact on the situation. For some it means working in and/or supporting pregnancy care centers to help mothers know and more fully understand their options, for some it means focusing on the politics and legal approaches to get laws written or chnaged, for some it means actively pursuing adoption to be the receiving arms for someone who has chosen to give the baby the chance at life…for many it’s a combination of many things, including, yes, being a part of the ongoing public conversation. Because (going back to the war comparison) ideas are powerful, knowledge is power, the pen is mightier than the sword, etc. etc. Back in the old wars they called it propaganda, now it’s “winning hearts and minds”. The point is, knowing what we’re trying to achieve and then figuring out what we can do to accomplish it.
    Heck, to be honest Planned Parenthood sure seems to think pregnancy care centers qualify as “active resistance”, it’s just not the hiding-in-the-woods-throwing-rocks type.
    Another thought, I believe for “Hey Skipper”. Every single law imposes someone’s view on someone else. The simple question is whether more people (particularly influential people, to be realistic) are in agreement with the law’s position ore not. Abortion is currently legal. The current pro-life approach at its broadest could be described, I suspect, simply by trying to get more people on the side against that position than for it and thereby hope to affect change.
    Regarding the chicken-and-egg problem, as far as I’m concerned they’re both chickens in different states, and I likewise eat them both, preferably with a little salt and pepper. Which is to say, I make no distinction between the two regarding either species or moral standing, only regarding the best options for cooking them. That is, the only distinction is how it’s treated based on its current state. This seems fairly obvious to me, enough so that your attempt to establish an embryo apart from a human by offering the analogy that a chicken and an egg are “two different things” seems really, really weak. I’m not saying you’re weak, I’m saying that’s a really weak attempt and you need to find a better one to be taken at all seriously by anyone who doesn’t already agree with you.
    And last but not (or, perhaps) least, a hypothetical question for the pro-choice folks: if it suddenly became medically possible and within the financial/healthcare means of the average person for an embryo to be removed, intact and alive, from the pregnant woman’s body and allowed to continue developing by some other natural or synthetic means, thereby eliminating that bothersome necessity of physical, biological dependence, would you that day support outlawing abortion?

  • joel

    Ah! And a bonus thought I forgot to throw in:
    “In addition, one thing that drives me up the wall, is folks who are pro-life ONLY when it has to do with unborn babies. Many of these same people are pro-war, pro-death penalty and anti-social safety net.”
    Even if that were true, which as others here have touched on would be leaving out some pretty substantial nuance, all it does is match up their inconsistency with your own (pro-choice but anti-death penalty). How does that help?

  • ex-preacher

    I’m curious, Joel, if you would make any “species or moral distinction” between an unfertilized chicken egg and a fertilized one.

  • joel

    Well, let’s see…an unfertilized (chicken) egg has no potential whatsoever. No matter how much one might protect and care and coax it along, it will only ever just be an egg, and eventually a rotten one at that. You might say it’s analogous to a woman’s monthly cycle — an egg is produced, is left unused, and passes on. Since such a (chicken) egg is only ever worth the nutrients found within, and letting it rot would be a waste thereof, I don’t hesitate in the least to eat it.
    But ah! the fertilized (chicken) egg is another matter entirely! Here we have potential, here we have value over and above simple nutrients! If kept in the right environment, such a (chicken) egg will grow and become an actual (!) full-grown chicken, which I would not hesitate in the least, to…um…eat. If refrigerated when produced, the fertilized (chicken) egg does not begin to develop the embryo, is perfectly edible, and I’ve heard is even just a touch more nutritious than the unfertilized variety, so again I would not hesitate in the least to have it for breakfast. Once the (chicken) embryo starts to develop I suspect I wouldn’t be as interested in eating it, simply from an aesthetic standpoint. No, far better then to let it finish growing and eventually be a much more substantial part of dinner than be used in a less-than-pleasing breakfast.
    So, to spell it out: same species (it’s certainly not a duck), regarded differently due to its potential or lack thereof, but as it happens treated the same nonetheless.
    Come to think of it, the aspect of potential is quite key here. An unfertilized (chicken) egg is, in a sense, simply a waste product, is quite tasty and nutritious, and is therefore fit to be eaten. By contrast, I acknowledge a fertilized (chicken) egg as having the potential to be a feathered, clucking chicken or crowing rooster, and so I regard such an egg on the same moral basis as I regard the adult bird. Which, as it happens, is “fit to be eaten.”
    Likewise an unfertilized (human) egg is, in a sense, simply a waste product. By contrast, a fertilized (human) egg has the potential to be a loving, caring, productive member of society, and so I regard such an egg on the same moral basis as I regard the adult — meant to be protected and given its due opportunities for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
    Does that answer your question, or haven’t we beaten the eggs enough?

  • ex-preacher

    We might have some agreement here regarding the aspect of potential. You say that a fertilized chcken egg has the potential to become an actual chicken. In the same way, I agree that a fertilized human egg has the potential to become an actual person.

  • joel

    Well no, I didn’t quite say that. I said “actual full-grown chicken.” Whether you find the distinction useful or not I suppose is up to you, but I at least want to be clear about what I said. :)

  • Ben

    I still don’t get it. A sperm and an egg have the potential to become a fertilized egg, a fertilized egg has the potential to become an implanted egg, an implanted egg has the potential to become a fetus, then an infant, etc.
    What makes the fertilized egg so unique compared to all the other stages of development?
    I know, I know, a fertilized egg has a full set of unique chromosomes. Which means it should be okay to kill of half of a set of identical fetal twins, right?

  • Bonnie

    I’m a Christian and I’m pro-choice. So, please don’t think that all Christians are pro-life.
    I don’t believe that anybody should be able to tell another person what to do with their own body.
    If God didn’t want Women to be One with the child until birth, then he would of had Us lay eggs like Chickens.
    I believe those people that are bringing God into the Abortion argument are worshipping the God of Fertility.
    Just, teach your Children values. Don’t expect the government or the law to do it for you. A Land without Freedoms and Diversity will spoil.

  • Arne

    An abortion is a tragedy, an often avoidable tragedy. Abortions in many cases are the result of recreational sex turning very serious when the young lady concieves a child. Pretty obvious stuff.

    It would certainly be smarter, though no less moral if young ladies who are in the position to participate in recreational sex understood the consequences and used birth control products. Yes, it’s like saying “go ahead”, but I would argue that the pressures of lifestyles of 18 – 30 year olds in 2009 and the biological need for sex in the age group mean most will engage in recreational sex (that is sex outside marriage).

    Outlawing abortion (almost impossible) will result in abortions taking place in Mexico or Canada. Is this what God wants? I think he wants more from us than a law on the books.