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Are All Christians Pro-Life?

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1ErisofDiscord
Nov 9, 2011, 8:12pm Top

I am a Catholic teenager and I personally believe that you cannot be a Catholic and be pro-abortion, because the protection of life is such a key part of the doctrine. This is an idea that Pope John Paul II held and also one that the present pope, Benedict XVI, also stands by today.

What about other branches of Christianity? Do they hold being pro-life as a crucial part of their belief system? It's just something I'm curious about and would be glad to know your opinions.

By the way, I've started a LibraryThing group called the Pro-Life Association (I know that I am shamelessly self promoting!) and would be honored if you can check it out. I will be posting discussion topics about abortion as often as I can and I would love to have your input.

http://www.librarything.com/groups/prolifeassociation

All right, you can ignore my advertisement now! :)

2johnthefireman
Nov 10, 2011, 12:08am Top

The title of this thread is "pro-life" but the content is "anti-abortion", which is a limited subset of being pro-life. Many Catholics are not pro-life as they support capital punishment, and accept that there are legitimate means by which one can cause death, eg self-defence, war, etc. They also, either by commission or omission, collude with policies and systems which cause death - poverty, lack of adequate health care, war, ownership of small arms and light weapons, climate change, etc.

Having been bitterly attacked on LT by a couple of fellow Catholics in the past when raising this issue of the broader implications of being "pro-life", let me say right at the start that I am against abortion - but I am also against a lot of other things that humans do which cause death.

3ErisofDiscord
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 12:21am Top

I use the term "pro-life," just because that's what everyone calls the anti-abortion movement.

But you have to admit that being pro-life means that you should protect life and unfortunately, when someone else wants to take away that life (I'm thinking terrorists, here), you have to defend it - even by war.

4Jesse_wiedinmyer
Nov 10, 2011, 12:38am Top

I know quite a few christians (though as a Catholic, you might disagree with them) who are pro-choice.

One, a Quaker, co-authored Birth or Abortion : Private Struggles in a Political World. You might find the book interesting.

5johnthefireman
Nov 10, 2011, 12:39am Top

>3 ErisofDiscord: Yes, I accept that in north America and Europe it is a common term, but I still think it's worth unpacking it and asking what "pro-life" really means, and whether we are willing to be "pro-life" in the fullest sense of the term.

You don't have to defend life using violence. It's a choice ("pro-choice"?), certainly the most common choice, but there are Christian (and other) pacifists who have resisted violence using non-violence through the ages.

The Catholic Church does have a "just war" theory, but few modern wars meet the criteria.

6timspalding
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 1:18am Top

A few thoughts.

Whether one can be Catholic and pro-choice today is dependent on ones, or perhaps the right, understanding of doctrine, authority and what exactly being Catholic is. A few thoughts:

Doctrine and authority. That abortion is wrong, and indeed is murder, is clearly the teaching of the Pope, the curial machinery and the vast, vast majority of Catholic bishops today.

This was, however, not always the case. While abortion was often condemned in the early church, much of the condemnation is on the grounds of sexual immorality, not as murder per se. Whether and when the fetus was a person was not so well established. To name just two giants of Catholic theology, both Augustine and Aquinas, while condemning abortion on sexual grounds, believed that a fetus was not a person until the "quickening," the point at which the fetus first "leaps" in the womb. A number of popes agreed with them. Other popes disagreed.

Today, as I said, it's clear what the teaching is. But in all such cases one must inquire how seriously we are to take teaching. On the one hand we have the core doctrines of the church, such as the Trinity, the virgin birth and so forth, generally confirmed by ecumenical councils or declared to be revealed doctrine by a Pope speaking ex cathedra (eg., the immaculate conception of Mary). At the other end we have what your priest said in church this Sunday.

In between is a vast continuum of stuff, including papal letters, statements by bishops and bishops conferences, etc. While not declared infallible by a pope, abortion has been declared immoral with reference to the "ordinary and universal" teaching power of the church--thus, on one theory, infallible already. Under a fair reading this would apply only to the statement that abortion is a grave moral evil, however, not that it is murder, the latter failing the "ordinary and universal"'s requirement that all bishops now and in the past agreed on the topic. Not all Catholic theologians would agree that even this has been declared infallibly, but it's definitely at the upper end of it, with a great weight of tradition behind it.

what exactly being Catholic is. Current canon law declares anyone who has or helps make an abortion to be excommunicate. Controversially there have been efforts to excommunicate politicians who supported choice--on the grounds that they were helping abortions to happen--or to deny them communion until they repent. None of this means, however, that an individual who merely has a pro-choice opinion is automatically excommunicated.

Further, as Wikipedia puts it:
"Excommunicated Catholics are still Catholics and remain bound by obligations such as attending Mass, even though they are barred from receiving the Eucharist and from taking an active part in the liturgy (reading, bringing the offerings, etc.). However, their communion with the Church is considered gravely impaired. In spite of that, they are urged to retain a relationship with the Church, as the goal is to encourage them to repent and return to active participation in its life.


you cannot be a Catholic and be pro-abortion

Catholic doctrine is that Catholicism isn't a denomination or branch of Christianity, but is the Christian church itself, established by Jesus and the conduit of all salvation, to both its visible and invisible members. There is a clear way to enter the church, and there are clear and highly specific ways of getting kicked out. While I understand the desire to say "this opinion isn't Catholic," a Catholic should not--in my opinion--lightly declare anyone else to be non-Catholic, unless they know the person has been tried and convicted of heresy. "Learn and understand this" is a much more "Catholic" sentiment than "go join some other church."

Other christians

There's a lot of diversity here. Catholics, Orthodox and most evangelicals are clearly pro-life. Liberal christian denominations are generally pro-choice.

Many Catholics are not pro-life as they support capital punishment, and accept that there are legitimate means by which one can cause death, eg self-defence, war, etc.

That there are some circumstances in which life may be taken--for example, in defense and a just war--is clear Catholic teaching. Catholics aren't Amish, and have never been. "Pro-life" is in any case really a slogan, not a doctrine per se, though it's useful in tying together a variety of sins against human life.

7lilithcat
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 1:04am Top

> 3

that's what everyone calls the anti-abortion movement.

No, "everyone" does not call it that.

8timspalding
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 1:13am Top

No, "everyone" does not call it that.

I prefer letting everyone name themselves—so "pro-life" and "pro-choice." To refuse this mild courtesy is to go down the path of voodoo ontology, trying to name everything according to your opinion of it, and by naming make your opinion stick. Once you start down that road it's not long before you're saying the Democratic Party should be called the Undemocratic Party, or whatever. It just gets childish.

9Jesse_wiedinmyer
Nov 10, 2011, 1:17am Top

Did you just call me childish, Bob?!@!?#

10timspalding
Nov 10, 2011, 1:37am Top

No, you called them pro-choice. Calling them pro-death would be childish, Bob.

11johnthefireman
Nov 10, 2011, 1:43am Top

>6 timspalding: "Pro-life" is in any case really a slogan, not a doctrine per se, though it's useful in tying together a variety of sins against human life.

Agreed. But unfortunately it is usually used only to refer to one sin against human life, and I think it is useful to hammer away at the fact that there are, indeed, a variety of sins against human life.

12timspalding
Nov 10, 2011, 2:19am Top

I think Catholics in the US make a fairly good effort to include euthanasia and capital punishment—not easy with the phrase "pro-life" because the core of the movement in the US is now evangelical.

13ErisofDiscord
Nov 10, 2011, 2:23am Top

I was just trying to identify the group, so everyone would be clear as to who I was talking about. I wasn't trying to read into the deeper meaning of the name.

#4 - Thanks Jesse, for recommending the book Birth or Abortion. I learn a lot from other branches of Christianity, such as Evangelism and the Anglican Church (C.S. Lewis!!!), and I wouldn't mind reading something from a Quaker author. Thank you!

14johnthefireman
Nov 10, 2011, 2:41am Top

>13 ErisofDiscord: Thanks, ErisofDiscord, and I certainly wasn't intending to be critical. But for me reading into the deeper meaning of the name is important. Where I live abortion is a very minor threat to the life of babies and children compared to war, famine, poverty, lack of adequate health care, etc, and this is the case in many parts of the world.

15ErisofDiscord
Nov 10, 2011, 2:57am Top

I looked at your location: Nairobi, Kenya. I totally get your meaning, now! And I see how abortion would play such a little part in Kenya, compared to poverty and war (makes me want to smack all the people here in America who moan about being poor when there is true poverty in other countries).

I live in the U.S., more specifically California, so the big issue for the area where I live is the complete disregard for life. I try to speak up for unborn kids, since the people around me seem so intent on tossing away little kids lives.

Bah! I think I'm rambling! It's 12:00 am where I live, so my brain is going a little crazy. Thanks for what you're doing in Africa, by the way!

16johnthefireman
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 3:25am Top

>15 ErisofDiscord: Thanks again. It's 11 am here so I'm bright and industrious! Although I am based in Kenya, most of my time is spent in South Sudan, where I lived for many years, and the situation there is even worse.

A couple of weeks ago I was at the inauguration of the national Catholic Health Training Institute in Wau, South Sudan, and the Minister of Health was there. He quoted some statistics on child mortality - 105 out of 1,000 children will not live to the age of 5 - and maternal mortality - 2,054 mothers die per 100,000 live births.

I checked online to compare with global trends. The global averages are 67 and 400 respectively; Africa 145 and 900; the Americas 19 and 99; and Europe 15 and 27 (http://www.kff.org/globalhealth/upload/7963.pdf - figures a couple of years out of date but indicative).

"Incredibly, there are only eight (8) obstetricians and ten (10) registered midwives for a population of about 10 million" (http://allafrica.com/stories/201109250028.html). The Catholic institute in Wau will graduate about 60 nurses and midwives per year after a 3 year course to add to that number.

I suppose we all do what we can in the situation in which we find ourselves. I concentrate on peace, justice and development because those seem to me to be the issues concerning human life and human dignity here. But I can well understand that in California abortion is a major issue.

17Dilara86
Nov 10, 2011, 4:23am Top

Can you be Catholic and pro-choice?
Catholics for choice seem to think so, for example. On a slight tangent, the sidelining of liberal/modernist/reformist Catholics in the general discourse on Catholicism in the US and the UK irks me, and is totally at odds with my experience of living in a majority Catholic country, where a wider range of opinions are considered valid, I think.

18margd
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 10:06am Top

> 17 "irks me"

It irks me that the terminology allows only two camps and can lead to extremes on both sides. Someone who is "pro-life" doesn't have to ban abortion in every instance and declare a fertilized egg a legal person. They could instead concentrate on relieving the circumstances that might cause a woman to choose abortion. Likewise, women with choices who have serial abortions as a kind of birth control are not worthy of defense, IMO.

Pro-life or pro-choice, I don't think anybody thinks that abortion is a wonderful outcome, but rather a failure on a lot of fronts.

(I was stunned to read an article in an RC mag a few years ago glorifying a mother of six who delayed cancer treatment in order to complete her seventh pregnancy. Hadn't seen one of those in ages.)

19lawecon
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 9:23am Top

Coming from a different perspective, I don't understand much in this thread. Surprisingly, to me at least, is that Tim's post seems to be most coherent, very well developed, and covers a lot of territory. But back to what I don't understand, as opposed to what I admire: here are some critical questions that don't seem to be addressed:

(1) I don't believe, for instance, that margd's position is the typical position of a "pro-life" advocate. As I understand it, that position is not that a fetus is "somewhat human" and thus is not to be denied some consideration, it is that a fetus is fully human from the moment of fertilization and is to be accorded all rights of a human being from that point forward. A mother is merely a parent, and has all the responsibilities of a parent, despite the inconvenient fact that she can't give up those responsibilities by giving up "her child" for adoption. If this is correct, then the questions below in (2) and (4) seem to immediately arise.

(2) Although the rationale for the above position seems to be that the fetus is genetically a complete human being, there is no appeal for similar rights for skin cells that flake off of all of our bodies on a daily basis and are equally genetically "fully human," etc. No, no, it won't do to say in response that those cells are identical to another still living human being, since there are identical twins each of whom retains full human rights, albeit there is another being with an identical genetic structure. Similarly, it is clearly true that a fetus is no more viable "on its own" than is a skin cell viable on its own.

(3) As Tim points out, the traditional Catholic position, or at least one of them, was a fetus became quasi-human upon "quickening". This is, incidentally, something like what Roe v. Wade says and what many Jews still believe - that there is a trade-off between the mother's rights, with the fetus gaining more and more rights as it matures, and having virtually no rights at conception.

(4) If (1) is right, why does NO legal systems actually take that position? Why, for instance, isn't a spontaneous abortion prosecuted under ANY criminal code as manslaughter?

Obviously, there is something going on in the "pro-life" position that is not merely as simple as making abortion illegal.

20timspalding
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 10:17am Top

I don't think margd's position is typical of the advocate either, although it captures the feelings of a lot of Americans. By an absolutist reckoning of life, rape would be no excuse. By its opposite, the whole issue of a birth control should hardly be an occasion for state restrictions. But quite a few Americans fall in that middle area--willing to allow abortion in cases of rape and incest, but not willing to allow it at any point in the pregnancy, "on demand and without apology."

I don't think that position is defensible if one embraces the absolutes presented by "life" vs. "not life." But it does offer some grounds for compromise that might cut down on the number of abortions, which, to a pro-lifer, ought to be more important than bravely losing on the core issue for decades.

Is the a "somewhat human" status? I think not, but I'm convinced there is a "maybe human." To illustrate, a thought experiment. Imagine you were in charge of picking targets in a bombing campaign—against Yugoslavia, say, or Saddam's Iraq. (I stipulate for now that the war is just.) You have an important target, but there is a building next to it that you can't identify. One page on Google says it is an empty building. Another page says it is an orphanage. I think most of us would pass over the target in that case. But you can change the "risk" factors until we flip in favor of risking it. Every target carries some risk that a stray child might wander in, a piece of shrapnel might fly the wrong way or the bomb might fall very wrong but, at some point, most of us stop treating that risk as important enough to nix the target.

This "change" resonates with me personally. Had things gone differently in my 20s it's quite possible I would have gotten someone pregnant, and they might have had an abortion. I don't know that this would have been murder. But what if it were? Surely risking the murder of someone is of grave moral consequence.

21margd
Nov 10, 2011, 10:17am Top

> 20 By an absolutist reckoning of life, rape would be no excuse.

Not arguing, but I've been wondering--if the Church has a "just war" doctrine, why is it that it sees no justification ever for abortion? Not for rape or incest. Not for a mother of six with cancer. Lately, US bishops seem to be pulling out all the stops, excommunicating a nun who allowed abortion to save the mom, risking universal healthcare for an abortion ban, etc.

22johnthefireman
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 10:58am Top

>21 margd: margd, I think you put your finger on one of the basic problems. If all killing of human beings is wrong, then capital punishment, killing in self-defence and any war are all automatically wrong. But once it has been agreed that there are some instances when killing is OK, then the absolutist position falls away and it comes down to negotiating which acts of killing are acceptable and which aren't, as in Tim's example in >20 timspalding:.

23timspalding
Nov 10, 2011, 11:24am Top

While superficially appealing, I don't see much in a theory of life that can't distinguish between shooting a baby in its crib and shooting the man who approaches that crib with the intent of killing the baby.

I don't suppose I need to add that "thou shalt not kill" is actually a mistranslation of "thou shalt not murder." The distinction is pretty basic.

24ErisofDiscord
Nov 10, 2011, 12:00pm Top

Lawecon,

I'm sorry, I think I'm misunderstanding. There is something I didn't get in your post. Are you saying that the demand to give fetuses the right to live is as logical as giving skin flakes the right to live (because both are human)? I'm probably taking you out of context, so correct me if I'm wrong, but skin flakes don't develop into human beings. Fetuses do.

And that brings me to another point: how do any of you know when life starts? At what point did the "clump of cells" become human? At the 'quickening,' as some have put it? So when a baby kicks in the womb, that means that the kid is a human? Before that it wasn't? I don't understand.

25johnthefireman
Nov 10, 2011, 12:01pm Top

>23 timspalding: But you're taking extreme cases, Tim. Of course almost everybody would agree with your example. But the principle that human life is not inviolable because there are agreed cases when it is OK to kill means there will be a huge grey area in the middle. Capital punishment is an example. In much of the world it is not considered justifiable; a minority of countries such as USA, China, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, etc think it is. A "just war" has criteria, but people disagree on whether those criteria have been met. The sort of examples given by margd show that there is a grey area regarding abortion for many people, including those who basically do think it is killing but believe that it is justifiable in some circumstances.

26barney67
Nov 10, 2011, 12:30pm Top

If you are in favor of abortion, you can't be Catholic, you can't be Christian. Heck, you can't even be a decent person. The pro-choice (pro-abortion) position has no moral arguments in favor of it. What it has are arguments regarding practicality.

To expand the definition of pro-life beyond how it is used in the abortion debate is just silly hair-splitting. The terms pro life and pro choice come from the abortion debate and when we hear them that is what we associate them with.

A long time ago I posted a link to ultrasound scans of a child in the womb along with the number of weeks the fetus has progressed. You can probably find the pictures via google. They make compelling evidence that, from a very early stage in pregnancy, there is a child in the womb. I would not want to be responsible for destroying that life, throwing arms and legs into a medical waste basket. It is murder, plain and simple. The debate is complicated only by those whose moral compass has gone awry.

To me, these scans are the last word in the debate.

27nathanielcampbell
Nov 10, 2011, 12:43pm Top

>25 johnthefireman: et. all, re: Capital Punishment:

On the specific issue of capital punishment, an understanding of the historical evolution of thought on its morality is key to understanding the variety of positions today.

You'll find that until late in the 19th century, practically everybody (Pagan, Christian of whatever stripe, Muslim, etc.) agreed on the justification of capital punishment, at least when carried out by the legitimate authority of the State. You'll find everyone from Paul (somewhere in Romans, if I recall correctly) to englightenment philosophers supporting the state's right to capital punishment. (Though I should point out that most Catholic theologians always considered it, like just war, no more than a necessary evil.)

But something changed around the turn of the 19th century into the 20th century. A big part of that change was the development of reliable and safe long-term imprisonment techniques. Up until then, there was, practically speaking, little we could do to reliably lock up dangerous criminals (murderers, rapists, etc.); the risk of them escaping was usually very high. Thus, capital punishment was held to be a just method by which the state could remove and punish such criminals.

With the advent of safe and reliable prisons, however, we find moral theologians and philosophers reevaluating whether capital punishment, while still a right pertaining to the state, was necessary. This is a big factor in the Catholic Church's decision in the 20th century to oppose the use of capital punishment. The development of effective alternatives to capital punishment allowed moral theology to move it from the category of "just only when absolutely necessary" to "unnecessary and thus unjustified".

28johnthefireman
Nov 10, 2011, 1:44pm Top

>26 barney67: deniro, to many your scans are not the last word in the debate. It's not only about whether a foetus is human; many of us can agree that it is. But it is a question of when it is acceptable to take the life of a human being and when not.

you can't even be a decent person

And yet many nations revere their soldiers who kill. Killing a human being is killing a human being, whoever they are. I'm not in favour of killing human beings, whether by war, by capital punishment, by abortion, by allowing under-5s to die because of lack of health care, or whatever. But the reality is that across the world "decent people" (and religions) disagree on when killing a human being is acceptable and when it isn't.

when we hear them that is what we associate them with

Speak for yourself, and admittedly much of north America and Europe, but don't try to speak for everyone in the world. I can recall being in discussions about the wider use of the term "pro-life" in Catholic parishes and institutions nearly 20 years ago.

But even if most people use it in one sense, it is always good to explore a term which has taken on a particular, narrow and often polemical meaning, and to challenge people to think more broadly about the issue. "Pro-life" means "pro-life"; it doesn't only mean anti-abortion, and in many parts of the world there are plenty of pro-life issues which are more pressing than abortion.

>27 nathanielcampbell: Thanks, Nathaniel, for the historical overview. Again it shows that there are different opinions on when it is justifiable to take a human life, not only amongst people, religions and nations but also in different historical eras.

29timspalding
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 2:34pm Top

If you are in favor of abortion, you can't be Catholic, you can't be Christian. Heck, you can't even be a decent person. The pro-choice (pro-abortion) position has no moral arguments in favor of it. … It is murder, plain and simple.

Won't you remove the "Christianity" tag from your Augustine books? That fellow was, by your reckoning, no Christian. He wasn't even a decent person!

>27 nathanielcampbell:

An admirable summary. If you're serious about the topic, however, I suggest you try to do the same for Catholic discussions of abortion. You'd find that the teachings you seem to think are absolutely foundational to the faith have undergone a considerable degree of evolution.

30Arctic-Stranger
Nov 10, 2011, 2:32pm Top

I have gone through four pregnancies that were of my doing. I have three children. The fourth was a spontaneous abortion. When we had our fourth, my wife was forty. We chose not to have amneo (sp), because we were not going to abort the fetus if there were a birth defect.

On the other hand if a doctor came to me, and said "Either the baby or your wife," I would not hesitate.

I find it funny that a religion that preaches that death is NOT the final statement chooses to ally itself so closely with the notion of keeping people alive at almost any costs. It seems Christians are more afraid of death than pagans!

31ErisofDiscord
Nov 10, 2011, 2:51pm Top

#30 - Sooooo, protecting life and doing all you can to stay alive means that you're afraid of death?

32Arctic-Stranger
Nov 10, 2011, 2:53pm Top

When the early Christians were martyred they took their children with them to suffer the same fate.

Yes, after years of working in a hospital, and seeing more deaths than most people, I would say a resounding yes to the question.

33ErisofDiscord
Nov 10, 2011, 2:57pm Top

I want to live, sir. I want my family to live, and I want my whole country to live.

Yet I am not afraid to die. If it is God's will, I will die. Especially if I am dying for something worth dying for. That's why I want to join the Marine Corps. I want to live for something, I want to live for freedom and liberty, and the rights that my country enjoys. But I can die for it, because I know where I will go.

Although, I have to agree with you - most civilians that I meet are very afraid of dying, but most of the soldiers that I associate with are not.

34Arctic-Stranger
Nov 10, 2011, 3:12pm Top

People who have to face death on a regular basis tend to do better with it. Agreed.

35Jesse_wiedinmyer
Nov 10, 2011, 3:25pm Top

If you are in favor of abortion, you can't be Catholic, you can't be Christian. Heck, you can't even be a decent person.

Might it be possible to be pro-choice without being "in favor of abortion?

36Arctic-Stranger
Nov 10, 2011, 3:39pm Top

I know a lot of pro-choice people. I don't know any who are "in favor of abortion." Like I know people who are not pacifists, but I would not say they are "in favor of war."

37eclecticdodo
Nov 10, 2011, 3:40pm Top

>35 Jesse_wiedinmyer: Might it be possible to be pro-choice without being "in favor of abortion?

I'd say my gran is exactly that. She worked as a nurse in the days when back-street abortions were widespread and saw far too many women die or come close. She doesn't agree with abortion, but thinks it should be legal

38timspalding
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 3:47pm Top

When the early Christians were martyred they took their children with them to suffer the same fate.

Some, perhaps. Not Perpetua. Who?

most of the soldiers that I associate with are not

Soldiers are brave, but most 19 year-olds are pretty crazy about physical danger.

39lawecon
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 10:58pm Top

I'm sorry, I think I'm misunderstanding. There is something I didn't get in your post. Are you saying that the demand to give fetuses the right to live is as logical as giving skin flakes the right to live (because both are human)? I'm probably taking you out of context, so correct me if I'm wrong, but skin flakes don't develop into human beings. Fetuses do.

And that brings me to another point: how do any of you know when life starts? At what point did the "clump of cells" become human? At the 'quickening,' as some have put it? So when a baby kicks in the womb, that means that the kid is a human? Before that it wasn't? I don't understand.

=====================================

It really isn't that difficult. There is an old line of argument going back to Aristotle that one has to look to the "potentiality" of a thing to really know the essence of that thing. Most modern philosophers would reject both halves of that way of thinking - that a thing has a particular known potentiality and that a thing is known through its essence.

You say that a fetus has the potentiality to be a mature human being, but as we both know, many things other than abortion can interfer with that potentiality. Conversely "we" are not that far from cloning human beings from any cell of a human body. Will that clone then be "not human" because it didn't start out as a sperm and egg?

In answer to your second question, the issue is not "when life starts" - human skin cells are indisputably alive until they die. The question is when political rights start. Political rights are, at least partially, a matter of enforceability and a trade off between the atonomous freedom of a person and the need for social order. Even if abortion were "murder" if it is inescapbly "murder" of a certain sort - e.g., of the sort that would require all pregnant women to be sequestered in what are effectively prisons to make sure that it does not occur,then a case can be made that it should not be punished by force of law. As I am certain you are will aware, this sort of consideration is why children are not turned over to the state and raised by the state from birth, although their natural parents may do them great harm.

40faceinbook
Nov 10, 2011, 5:37pm Top

Does not quality of life matter ? For the most part, people who chose to terminate a pregnancy do not do it with a light heart....there are reasons, most of them having to do with life that is already thriving and needs to continue to do so. What of the quality of life for siblings of a child whose mother is already over burdened ? What happens to the quality of life for a woman who is forced to carry her rapist's child or her father's child or her brother's child ?

It has always been amazing to me that those who are so against a medical procedure that terminates a life early are silent when it comes to a procedure that creates life artificially.....if a pregnancy is God's will, than it may be God's will that some people are unable to conceive.....we can mess with that but not the other.

And then, there is that sticky little matter of "birth control".......if Catholics are to take the abortion "pro-life" stand, they must also follow the laws of the church in so far as birth control.....life makes its way to the womb and is terminated by use of birth control methods. My guess is if every practicing Catholic who uses a birth control method were ask to leave church on any given Sunday, the church would be pretty empty.

To me pro-lifers (and I deplore that term....as I believe that pro choice people are pro quality of life rather than anti anything) are a bit hypocritical, as they are picking which hill to die on while ignoring that they are guilty of much the same.....

41lilithcat
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 5:56pm Top

> 40

I think you are misrepresenting the Catholic position regarding birth control. The church opposes artificial birth control methods (most of which do not, of course, terminate a life, but, rather, prevent a life from coming into being), on the grounds that they interfere with the purpose of sexual intercourse, that being procreation.

those who are so against a medical procedure that terminates a life early are silent when it comes to a procedure that creates life artificially

The Catholic Church also opposes artificial insemination, embryo transfer and in vitro fertilization.

42Jesse_wiedinmyer
Nov 10, 2011, 5:59pm Top

Are we allowed to spill seed?

43Arctic-Stranger
Nov 10, 2011, 6:06pm Top

Ask Onan.

44ErisofDiscord
Nov 10, 2011, 6:17pm Top

Who is Onan?

45Arctic-Stranger
Nov 10, 2011, 6:23pm Top

God knocked him off for not knocking his sister-in-law up. See Genesis.

46lilithcat
Nov 10, 2011, 6:36pm Top

> 44

Onan appears in Genesis 38. He and his brother, Er, were the sons of Judah. Er was married to Tamar, but was "wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord slew him". Judah wanted Onan to give Tamar a child. However, rather than impregnate her, he engaged in coitus interruptus. "And the thing which he did was evil in the sight of the Lord, and He slew him also."

The question, of course, is whether it was the act of spilling his seed on the ground itself was wicked, or whether it was Onan's failure to provide his brother's widow with offspring.

Later Jewish law would require someone in that situation to perpetuate the family line by giving the childless widow offspring (levirate marriage). This is the opposite, of course, to the teachings of the Catholic church, until rather recently, as can be seen in Henry VIII's excuse for wanting his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled.

47Arctic-Stranger
Nov 10, 2011, 6:50pm Top

I think, given the story of Judah and Tamar which follows, the sin is not knocking her up.

48quartzite
Nov 10, 2011, 7:34pm Top

I am a Christian (Quaker) and pro-choice. I have sympathy for those who oppose abortion and believe that is the wrongful killing of a person, but I also tend to gauge how genuine that concern is by other things they do or don't support, since many who oppose abortion seemed more concerned about 'punishing' erring women than with children's lives. Do they support sex education and full access to birth control? Too many anti- abortion people also try to restrict access to information and birth control, which is counterproductive if you really want to end abortion. Do they support full universal access to healthcare for pregnant women and children? Missippippi Governor Haley Barbour bragged his state was safest for unborn children, while having the highest infant mortality rate, make it the most dangerous for children once born. Do they support the resources to enforce men paying child support. The burden of caring for children, often falls entirely on women. Do they support public daycare. improved child protective services, and a strong foster care system? If the answer to most or all of these is no, then I wonder if their agenda is really concern for the lives of innocent children.

49AsYouKnow_Bob
Nov 10, 2011, 7:52pm Top

Wow, a discussion of abortion on the internet. This is sure to end well....

A couple of facts to drop into the discussion:

1) Most of the women who seek an abortion in America are already mothers: think about the implications of THAT.

2) In countries where the dominant religion is Catholicism, abortion rates are higher than the worldwide average.

3) Roman Catholics are about 24% of the American population. Of women seeking abortion, about 28% percent self-identify as Catholic; I've been told that Catholic women are about 25% more likely to have had an abortion than are Protestant women.

(Anecdotally, I'm told by those on the front lines that points #2 and #3 are because using birth control is seen as a sin each time it's used; but having an abortion is counted as only a single incidence of sin.)

4) It depends upon how the question is asked, but most Americans, most Christians, and even most American Catholics are in favor of abortion remaining a legal option for women.
To report just on the Catholic end of the spectrum: 64% of U.S. Catholics say they disagree with the statement that "abortion is morally wrong in every case"; 58% of American Catholic women feel that they do not have to follow the abortion doctrine of their religion; only 22% of U.S. Catholics agree with their church's official stance that abortion should be illegal in all cases.

50lilithcat
Nov 10, 2011, 9:15pm Top

> 47

I agree with you, but the story has often been by those thundering against masturbation.

51lilithcat
Nov 10, 2011, 9:16pm Top

> 49

This is sure to end well....

So far, it's been quite civil.

~knock wood~

52StormRaven
Nov 10, 2011, 9:24pm Top

If you are in favor of abortion, you can't be Catholic, you can't be Christian. Heck, you can't even be a decent person. The pro-choice (pro-abortion) position has no moral arguments in favor of it.

Sure it can. William Lane Craig's arguments concerning the nature of animal suffering line up quite perfectly with an argument that abortion can be moral. Further, if (as is taught by Catholic and other theological sources) aborted fetuses automatically go to heaven, then aborting them does them a favor.

And that's not even considering the value of an adult conscious human vis a vis a lump of protoplasm.

53ErisofDiscord
Nov 10, 2011, 9:51pm Top

#52 - How do you know what a 'lump of protoplasm' thinks like?

54StormRaven
Nov 10, 2011, 10:01pm Top

53: First off, its irrelevant to my post.

Second, it doesn't think. Until an embryo develops a brain, it can't think.

55timspalding
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 10:07pm Top

Wow, a discussion of abortion on the internet. This is sure to end well....

O ye of little faith!

1) Most of the women who seek an abortion in America are already mothers: think about the implications of THAT.

I'm interested to know what you draw out of that?

2) In countries where the dominant religion is Catholicism, abortion rates are higher than the worldwide average.

I'd like to see the data on that. And surely we need to start by comparing apples to apples--in terms of development, etc. Some quick poking around I did in Europe shows the opposite. Norway and Sweden have higher rates than Italy and Spain, and far higher than Austria. (See country-by-country here, http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/index.html#ST)

Or take the regions of Germany (see http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/germany/ab-ges2.html). The lowest rate is found in Bavaria, the center of Catholic population in Germany, although the largest effect is surely communism--the former atheist eastern Germany is a different place entirely when it comes to abortion rates.

In the US, self-described Catholics have a slightly higher abortion rate than Protestants, 22% and 18% rate respectively. The rate for those declaring no relgion or another religion are, however, 31% and 30%. (See http://factcheck.org/2007/12/abortions-comparing-catholic-and-protestant-women/)

Until an embryo develops a brain, it can't think.

Also the severely retarded. The less a human can think the more we can kill them.

56StormRaven
Nov 10, 2011, 10:28pm Top

55: If you follow the logic of luminaries in the theological world like William Lane Craig, that is pretty much the conclusion one can draw.

57AsYouKnow_Bob
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 10:49pm Top

1) Most of the women who seek an abortion in America are already mothers: think about the implications of THAT.

I'm interested to know what you draw out of that?

Well, the stereotype is of the poor, scared teenager. The reality is that it's usually women who fully understand what they're contemplating. More fully than a lot of people who sound off on the question.

I'd like to see the data on that.

As JtF will tell you, Europe is no longer the center of the Catholic world. Latin America brings the averages up.

In the US, self-described Catholics have a slightly higher abortion rate than Protestants, 22% and 18% rate respectively.

"Slightly" is arguable: given the numbers you quote, a rate of 22% is fully 22% higher than a rate of 18%. I've heard it cited as "25%" higher. "Distinctly" higher might be closer to it.

58ErisofDiscord
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 10:35pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

59timspalding
Nov 10, 2011, 10:31pm Top

>58 ErisofDiscord:

You are reminded of LibraryThing's Terms of Service (source). You can insult ideas as much as you want, but not people.

60ErisofDiscord
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 10:34pm Top

No! I'm not insulting him, honestly. But he's saying that unborn babies don't have brains, but how does he know that they don't think? I have never seen his brain, so how do I know that he thinks?

But you're right, I've probably stuck my foot in a pile of crap. I'm sorry for that. Really, I'll go back and delete it, I don't want to insult anyone.

61StormRaven
Nov 10, 2011, 10:38pm Top

I have never seen his brain, so how do I know that he thinks?

Seriously? That's your argument?

62ErisofDiscord
Nov 10, 2011, 10:43pm Top

Okay, I just deleted a comment; what I said in the comment was a question to StormRaven, asking him if he has a brain.

I wasn't trying to insult him - this is my point:

He says that embryos don't have brains, and therefore cannot think. How does he know that they cannot think? When was he gifted with this knowledge about embryos think in the womb?

The reason why I asked him if he had a brain, was that I have never seen his brain - how do I know that he has one? I have never touched it, seen it, or smelled it - how do I know if it is there?

So he can't assume that babies can't think - he isn't there, but God is. That is my only point.

63ErisofDiscord
Nov 10, 2011, 10:45pm Top

By the way, I am honestly, honestly sorry for not thinking a little before I typed. That was really rude of me and I apologize most sincerely. That was a total screw up on my part.

64AsYouKnow_Bob
Nov 10, 2011, 10:47pm Top

(/makes popcorn)

65timspalding
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 10:49pm Top

Surely, however, this isn't a very good argument from conception. A fertilized egg or a blastocyst has no brain—people have, in fact, looked at them under microscopes, after all! While one may assert that they have souls, there does seem to be rather severe limit to the amount of ratiocination going on.

Besides, if evidence of thinking is the criterion, we get into Peter Singer territory--rating a talented chimpanzee's right to life far above that of a severely retarded human.

66ErisofDiscord
Nov 10, 2011, 10:52pm Top

You're right, Tim. It is not a great argument. My stupid teenage brain is not good at debating, that is all. I get too emotional.

I guess the thing that bothered me was the assumption that we humans know what is going on inside an embryo, when we don't know everything. We're not gods.

I'm sorry for saying that, sorry for everything, I'll shut up, now.

67timspalding
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 11:13pm Top

No need to apologize. I at least the latter objection is very good. We don't know everything. We may get over the problem of other brains, but we will never get over that of other minds. StormRaven may be a philosophical zombie, in which case there might be no great moral problem in killing him. But we make certain assumptions based on good evidence, and proceed from there. Chances seem good that StormRaven is a person and has a mind. Let's not risk it.

In the case of abortion, it's a slippery slope to take mental activity as the barometer of moral status. While it could be used to push back the maximum-permissable time for abortions, it will not get you to the status of people at conception—indeed it is counterproductive. Degree of visual similarity to a baby brought to term? Physical motion? I don't see any really definitive tests.

My principle argument is simply that risk. What would you do and how would you construct public policy if you weren't sure whether a fetus became a moral person, and it's termination a murder, at 0, 30, 90 or 180 or 270 days?

Beyond that, I'm not sure how you do it without straight-up divine revelation—God says abortion is murder. I am not at all convinced that's been revealed and even if I did I can't see how to persuade anyone who disagrees that God said that, at least honestly and through reason.

My stupid teenage brain

Kill him!!!! ;)

68StormRaven
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 11:03pm Top

The reason why I asked him if he had a brain, was that I have never seen his brain - how do I know that he has one? I have never touched it, seen it, or smelled it - how do I know if it is there?

I see you've been reading the bullshit "Christian student stumps an atheist professor" silliness that floats about the internet. Here's the problem: outside of the echo chamber of fundamentalist back-slapping sessions, that little made-up parable is rightly seen as nonsense.

Empirical knowledge of something does not always entail direct observation. We can observe the effects of something and know that it must exist. Electrons have not been observed, but they can create an observable trail that can be observed, so we can know they exist. No one has observed my heart, but one can hear it beating. We also know from empirical knowledge of people that no one can live without a heart, real or manufactured, or at least not without being also hooked up to some medical equipment. So we can know that I have a heart even though we have not seen it. Similarly, we can know that I have a brain. I wouldn’t be able to talk, walk, and so on unless I had one, because we know from empirical observation that no one can do those things without one. Hence, your attempted argument fails ab initio for lack of foundation.

You might also note that I didn't start talking about whether a blastocyst could think or not. You did. I said we could weigh the relative value we assign to a living conscious human vis a vis a blastocyst. But that wasn't actually part of the argument in my initial post. As I pointed out, the Catholic church and several other theological sources have asserted that an aborted fetus is sent directly to heaven. Wouldn't we be doing them a favor to do that for them then?

69lawecon
Nov 10, 2011, 11:08pm Top

I guess the thing that bothered me was the assumption that we humans know what is going on inside an embryo, when we don't know everything. We're not gods.
=================================================​

I don't think that one has to be a god to know "what goes on in an embryo." Despite certain religious convictions, biologists examine embryos on virtually a daily basis and cell biology is currently incredibly advanced.

OTOH, I think we should all congratulate you for your attitude in this thread. Although you obviously have strong convictions about this topic, you could step back, realize that what you were saying wasn't fully appropriate, correct yourself, and apologize. Better behavior than I've seen out of most of those who post regularly to these threads and imagine themselves to be rational adults.

70lawecon
Nov 10, 2011, 11:10pm Top

For instance:

"I see you've been reading the bullshit "Christian student stumps an atheist professor" silliness that floats about the internet. Here's the problem: outside of the echo chamber of fundamentalist back-slapping sessions, that little made-up parable is rightly seen as nonsense."

71timspalding
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 11:12pm Top

As I pointed out, the Catholic church and several other theological sources have asserted that an aborted fetus is sent directly to heaven. Wouldn't we be doing them a favor to do that for them then

Yes, and we should machine gun people coming out of church on Sunday when, presumably, they are at their most right with God. Doesn't this kind of thing sit poorly with your standards? I certainly don't see a difference between this argument and the lamest fundamentalist "gotcha."

72ErisofDiscord
Nov 10, 2011, 11:14pm Top

That's why I'm not meant for public office! I put my foot in my mouth too often - I'm honestly sorry about that. Guess I was only meant to be a humble Marine who likes to read. I'm going now. Thanks for talking with me everyone, and once again, I'm sorry, StormRaven, totally uncalled for on my part.

God is great. That's all I know, sometimes. May Be bless you, everyone.

73StormRaven
Nov 10, 2011, 11:19pm Top

71: It's not an argument I endorse. But it is an argument that can be made that abortion is moral. It was asserted categorically that one couldn't make any kind of moral argument in favor of abortion. I pointed out that one could make such an argument.

Craig asserts that animals don't suffer because they have not developed the proper portions of their brain. But fetuses don't have these portions of the brain either. And, in fact, neither do young infants. He identifies this portion of the brain as differentiating between humans and animals, solving (in his mind) the moral question of animal suffering. Following Craig's logic, one could stab newborn and it would be okay - they don't actually feel pain the same way adults do. Carry his logic further - it is okay to kill animals because they are not moral agents like humans are, and one gets to the conclusion that it is okay to kill fetuses and infants as well, at least until their brains more fully develop.

And Craig is a Christian apologist highly regarded in some circles. (I think his philosophical positions are silly, and not just because I don't believe in God).

74StormRaven
Nov 10, 2011, 11:21pm Top

70: Do you know why I know he's been reading the "Christian student stumps atheist professor nonsense"?

Because this: "I asked him if he had a brain, was that I have never seen his brain - how do I know that he has one? I have never touched it, seen it, or smelled it - how do I know if it is there?" is lifted from it almost word for word.

75timspalding
Edited: Nov 10, 2011, 11:32pm Top

>73 StormRaven:

I don't find that satisfying either. One could, after all, put people to sleep before you killed them or, better, put them to sleep with lots of meth so their last conscious thoughts are all yummy.

The problem is, however, usually one I'd ascribe to the naturalists among us. It's hard to derive any sort of real moral rights in a naturalistic universe. Attempts to do so generally point to suffering, and especially the suffering of conscious beings, and stumble for the reasons just outlined. It may well be wrong to torture animals, and their pain may well be the reason why, but you can't make it the principle reason that murder is wrong, or you'd be offing people in their sleep, or, say, offing severely retarded people with spinal-cord injuries.

Craig

Nobody's brought up Craig here but you. I'd never heard of him. The OP is Catholic anyway, so influence from the Evangelical Craig is possible, but hardly to be assumed.

76StormRaven
Nov 11, 2011, 12:01am Top

75: I'm not disagreeing with you on the quality of the arguments, but I'm pointing out that one can quite easily make a moral argument that abortion is okay, something that was described as being completely impossible. The only reason I bring up Craig is that his arguments can easily be used to support abortion starting from a purely theist perspective. Craig is opposed to abortion, but his position on that issue when taken along with his position on other issues results in an inconsistent overall picture (which is one of the many reasons why I find his arguments poorly thought out for reasons entirely unrelated to my disagreement with him concerning the existence of God).

As an aside, the reason that murdering those that are infants is okay in Craig's universe is that they lack the the brain development that differentiates us from animals. He reasons that it is okay to kill animals because they lack certain brain structures that are, according to him, uniquely human (he's actually wrong on this factual point, but that's another issue). Following his logic, since fetuses and infants also lack these structures, they aren't human, but are animals, and could be killed on the same basis. Craig's arguments make no sense when pulled apart like this, but he's spent a lot of his time criticizing others for not being immersed in "sophisticated theology", and this is apparently what passes for that in his circles.

77StormRaven
Nov 11, 2011, 12:45am Top

In the case of abortion, it's a slippery slope to take mental activity as the barometer of moral status.

Don't we do this already in some circumstances? For example, if someone is injured such that their brain activity stops (or reduces to the bare minimum to keep their involuntary functions going), we consider it to be permissible to let them die, or even stop feeding them intravenously so they starve to death.

78johnthefireman
Nov 11, 2011, 2:13am Top

>33 ErisofDiscord:, 34, 38 I don't want to doubt the bravery of individual soldiers, but I have also come across extreme acts of cowardice by soldiers - murdering civilians, torture, rape, looting.

I agree with Arctic-Stranger (>34 Arctic-Stranger:) that People who have to face death on a regular basis tend to do better with it, and that generally means the civilians. In the 22-year Sudan civil war, over 2 million people are reckoned to have died, and only a tiny percentage of those were soldiers. The civilians had to cope with death on a daily basis, not only from direct military action, including the deliberate targeting of civilians with aerial bombardment (which, incidentally, is still going on in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, and Khartoum bombed a refugee camp in South Sudan only yesterday, while UN helicopters were delivering food) but from its indirect consequences - famine, lack of health care, poverty, destruction of infrastructure, trauma.

I've seen individual acts of bravery by soldiers - one that sticks in my mind is when one of our aircraft crashed on a humanitarian mission and a soldier went in to the burning aeroplane to pull out an injured crew member. He found the bloke was strapped in and he had no knife, so he had to come out, borrow a knife from one of my staff, and then go back in a second time to cut him free. But for me the outstanding acts of individual and collective courage were (and still are) by personnel from the Church and the local NGOs who stay on the ground with the people long after the UN and international NGOs have evacuated.

Closer to the original topic about when it is acceptable to let babies die, I have come across the phenomenon of women having to decide which children to allow to die first. During a famine, or on a long trek to relative safety from the war, when food is insufficient, the choice is often to let the youngest baby die first, giving food to children over 5 who have a better chance of survival. Similarly I have often seen food distributed by aid agencies according to their own priorities (women, children and the elderly) later being redistributed by the local community as they reckon their best chance of communal survival is to feed the young men who may be able to scavenge more resources after the aid agencies have disappeared and their meagre food ration finished, and to defend them from others who might be trying to scavenge from them.

Maybe this has little relevance to the conversation at hand, except to demonstrate again that the European and north American discourse on life is not the only one.

79faceinbook
Nov 11, 2011, 8:33am Top

>41 lilithcat:
" (most of which do not, of course, terminate a life, but, rather, prevent a life from coming into being)"
This of course is open to interpretation.....which is the problem in the first place.

http://coloradoindependent.com/104669/mississippi-personhood-bill-would-outlaw-m...

Guess I was not aware of all of the taboo's as to methods of conceiving within the Catholic church...but then, that is the point I was trying to make in the first place.....the Church which I consider to be made up of it's membership, tends to keep pretty quiet about what they want to "overlook" and stand firm on other issues like abortion.
To me it seems hypocritical.....you can not have it both ways.....if one follows their religious beliefs, how is it that they can pick and choose which one's to ignore and which one's to get their knickers in a knot over ? I respect the right to an opinion but the respect is lost when the one holding that opinion is giving themselves all kinds of "passes" because they themselves have decided which issue is the most important.

the very first thing I think of when I see picket lines against abortion is to wonder how many are using a birth control method that isn't supported by the dictates of their faith, the second thought that comes to mind is how many children go unsupported financially by their fathers. The second being a whole different can of worms.....

Organized religion tends, for the most part, to be pretty sexist when it comes to the responsibility of the woman in matters of sexual conduct and all that can result from that conduct. In the past, the Catholic Church was one of the worst in that regard. Young girls who came up pregnant were hidden away in homes and lived often under horrible conditions, it mattered not if the girl was raped or was a willing partner.
As I see it, abortion has been around forever, women drank herbal concoctions....used any kind of method they could think of to stop unwanted pregnancies, many women died trying to prevent an unwanted child.....the difference now is safety.... one could look at the method used today and say that it is the flip side of creating pregnancies where none could have existed before. Technology has given us both.......the fact that some want to continue to support only one side of these technical advances is not going to stop women from seeking an abortion. If outlawed, women will do what they have always done.....risk their lives to prevent something they feel incapable of doing at the time.

80nathanielcampbell
Nov 11, 2011, 8:57am Top

> 65 et al. on that tangent of the argument:

The slippery slope argument has often been put forward as the key legal misstep in Roe and Casey. In those cases, the Court essentially held that, because we do not have non-religious evidence for when exactly life begins in utero, the state must go with the best answer to that question ex utero. In other words, the government would hold that legal life begins at birth. When you combine that assumption with arguments made from the 14th amendment, you arrive at the Court's conclusion: decisions about what to do with a pregnancy before birth are between a mother and her doctor and the government can't intervene. Of course, things like the Partial Birth Abortion ban (which outlaws most abortions in the third trimester) technically violate the terms of Casey (that abortion must be legal in all 9 months), but the Court, more "conservative" in the last decade than it was in the '70s, managed to squeak it by.

The logical flaw is this: if we don't know if a fetus is alive, is it morally correct to assume that it's not? You can set up something like Pascal's wager to understand this. Either a fetus is a human life or it is not (for simplicity, we won't at the moment argue on when). You can either legalize abortion or not. Combine each of the cases:
1. Human fetus is a human life and abortion is illegal: this is the correct moral decision.
2. Human fetus is a human life and abortion is legal: this is the moral equivalent of murder.
3. Human fetus is NOT a human life and abortion is illegal: you are infringing on the rights of the mother.
4. Human fetus is NOT a human life and abortion is legal: the basic (and, as things go, logical) conclusion of the pro-choice movement.

Conclusions (1) and (4) are not problematic. Conclusions (2) and (3) are. So, given that we don't know the answer to the first half of the wager (is it alive?), we are left deciding between two problematic courses of action: (A) legalize abortion and risk murder; or (B) outlaw abortion and risk infringing the rights of the mother.

It seems self-evident that (B) is the lesser evil than (A). In other words, the correct legal assumption, given the unknown status of fetal life, would be to assume that legalizing abortion takes a bigger risk than outlawing it. Allowing abortion even though we don't know whether the fetus is alive is criminally negligent; it's like a firefighter showing up at a burning building and not checking to see if people are inside. He doesn't know if anybody's inside; is safe for him to assume that there aren't?

(Btw, for a detailed analysis of the logical flaws of holding to "legal, safe, and rare" and conclusion (4) above, see my blog post It's Still a Human Fetus, which also includes information on fetal pain studies. I won't bore everyone with the tedious details; read about it there if you want them.)

>72 ErisofDiscord:: I echo others' compliments: you have shown a maturity beyond your years. As for public office, I used to think the same thing (well really, I still do). But you will continue to mature and gain self-control. When I look back to what I was like when I was your age, I can't believe the things I sometimes said and had the audacity to put into print. God bless you, too!

81faceinbook
Nov 11, 2011, 9:21am Top

>41 lilithcat:
"The Catholic Church also opposes artificial insemination, embryo transfer and in vitro fertilization."

This is bothering me....sticking in my craw so to speak. I am not Catholic, know little about the Catholic Church other than what is widely known......my husband's family is Catholic....VERY Catholic.
Both of his sisters are anti abortion.....one of them actually does counseling through her church to try and convince women not to have an abortion.
They both had children through medical intervention ! Both artificial insemination AND in vitro fertilization were tried.
HOW can you possibly tell (shame them, scare them or whatever they do) someone else what the Church has said is God's will in one respect while you yourself have ignored it in another ?

Unbelieveable ! People lose credibility with me when they do this. I suspect it happens more often than not.

82johnthefireman
Nov 11, 2011, 9:43am Top

Over the Pope as expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there stands one’s own conscience which must be obeyed before all else, even if necessary against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority. This emphasis on the individual, whose conscience confronts him with a supreme and ultimate tribunal, and one which in the last resort is beyond the claim of external social groups, even the official Church, also establishes a principle in opposition to increasing totalitarianism.

(Joseph Ratzinger in: Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II ,Vol. V., pg. 134 (Ed) Herbert Vorgrimler, New York, Herder and Herder, 1967).

83nathanielcampbell
Nov 11, 2011, 9:54am Top

> 82: That's the same point my deeply Roman Catholic friend in college (he's now in seminary) made to me in our long hours of argument back and forth on papal infallibility and other matters. You see, I was raised very high-church Anglo-Catholic, and then went to school at a Jesuit university. My friend was often frustrated to see that I acted and believed more "Catholic" than many Romans at the school; and yet I had not converted. In the end, however, he maintained for me that I could not act against my conscience; and if my conscience could not rightly submit to the supreme authority of the Roman Pontiff, it were better that I remain outside the Roman Church than betray my conscience. A very admirable friend, he is.

84timspalding
Edited: Nov 11, 2011, 11:45am Top

HOW can you possibly tell (shame them, scare them or whatever they do) someone else what the Church has said is God's will in one respect while you yourself have ignored it in another ?

Two answers:

1. The church does not believe that the immorality of abortion—which is murder—is equivalent to that of artificial insemination. The church also teaches that masturbation is wrong. That doesn't mean that the individual who masturbates is a monster, or the anti-abortion Catholic who does so is a monster of hypocrisy.

2. Catholicism isn't a completely fixed menu, but a rich tradition over centuries. Its teachings come in different shapes and sizes.

That abortion is wrong is very deep in its thinking over the centuries and, incidentally, shared by many conservative Christians who aren't followers of the pope. It carries the most severe penalty the church can levy—automatic excommunication.

By contrast, the Catholic church's stance against birth control is out of step with most other Christian theology, and came about in some rather dodgy circumstances--removed from consideration by the Vatican Council and with the Pope's own study commission presured and finally sacked when they wouldn't agree to declare it illicit. When the pope eventually decided the issue himself--in a teaching that he did not declare infallible--it wasn't "received" by the church at large--large majorities in many countries ignore it completely. By some reckonings of Catholic theology (the "Doctrine of Reception"), this matters.

85AsYouKnow_Bob
Nov 11, 2011, 1:05pm Top

"The Catholic Church also opposes artificial insemination, embryo transfer and in vitro fertilization."

One obvious difference is that "artificial insemination, embryo transfer and in vitro fertilization" are used primarily by rich people; and in America, at least, the social contract says that rich people must never be inconvenienced. So, generally, only poor, frightened teenagers are to be terrorized by the pickets.

It's not entirely a trivial problem; there are probably half a million fertilized embryos on ice in America, awaiting either a womb or disposal. Something over 90% of artificially fertilized embryos are never implanted.

86eclecticdodo
Nov 11, 2011, 1:29pm Top

"The Catholic Church also opposes artificial insemination, embryo transfer and in vitro fertilization."

The way I understand it, and certainly what I and a lot of evangelicals believe, is that the objection comes from the method used, not necessarily the practice itself. IVF deliberately creates more embryos than are required, knowing that some will be "discarded". If you view life as starting (or possibly starting) at conception, this deliberate making and destroying of embryos is unacceptable.

Having said that, I think a lot of people just haven't thought about it.

87margd
Edited: Nov 11, 2011, 4:44pm Top

>86 eclecticdodo: If you view life as starting (or possibly starting) at conception, this deliberate making and destroying of embryos is unacceptable.

I think conception implies implantation in the womb, and thus embryos in the freezer or petri dish haven't gone through that process. Fertilization is probably what you mean?

(Terms and embryology process are important to understand, especially for wouldbe legislators. When I read about effort to declare fertilized eggs legal persons, I immediately thought of challenges based on, say, interrupted fertilization: does the egg become a person when cell surface has been chemically activated, when new genetic material crosses cell wall, when genes from male and female merge, first division of the new cell?)

If my future was as a lonely little ball of cells in a freezer somewhere, I would hope that I could instead help someone else overcome disease and disability. (But then I'm a regular blood donor and a registered bone marrow donor, who has signed the back of my driver's license promising organs and tissue upon my death. )

Apparently there's a (kidney?) cell line from a 1970s abortion that is the basis of a therapy for some disease or other. (I read about this a while back, so fuzzy on details.) The RC Church opposed its use for decades, but quietly reversed itself a while back.

88LolaWalser
Nov 11, 2011, 2:38pm Top

#80

The logical flaw is this: if we don't know if a fetus is alive, is it morally correct to assume that it's not?

No, that is not correct. It can't be correct, because of course the developing fetus is alive; and so were the cells from which it arose. Yes, abortion kills something living. So does a fresh lobster dinner. The question (for some) is on what grounds the life of a human fetus is or ought to be of more consequence than that of a (still) live lobster.

89lilithcat
Nov 11, 2011, 2:40pm Top

> 86

The way I understand it, and certainly what I and a lot of evangelicals believe, is that the objection comes from the method used, not necessarily the practice itself.

Well, no. Unlike IVF, artificial insemination does not "create more embryos than are required", but the Catholic church opposes that as well. All disassociate fertilization from the conjugal act. See Donum vitae II.

90eclecticdodo
Nov 11, 2011, 2:55pm Top

>87 margd: I had always assumed conception meant the same as fertilisation but I stand corrected.

>89 lilithcat: should have made that clearer - I was only talking about IVF. And yes, I'm sure there are other objections to it, that just seemed a pertinent one to our discussion of abortion.

91timspalding
Edited: Nov 11, 2011, 3:11pm Top

>88 LolaWalser:

This is just imprecise terminology. And not even that imprecise. Normally we don't say "my arm is alive!" except in horror movies. Often "is alive" is meant in the sense of "is a distinct life." Other times, certainly, it's used in the sense of "is not dead" or "is not an inanimate object." But there's no real point in arguing this, as nathaniel's words can swiftly achieve precision by using terms like "a life," "a moral life" or "a person" rather than "alive" or "living."

92LolaWalser
Nov 11, 2011, 3:21pm Top

Imprecise terminology is expensive in science. And law.

93timspalding
Nov 11, 2011, 3:24pm Top

Conceded.

94StormRaven
Edited: Nov 11, 2011, 3:58pm Top

91: But then you have to define "a life", "a moral life", or "a person", which is the question being asked to begin with. Just saying "killing a person is wrong, therefore abortion is wrong" is more or less begging the question, since a large portion of the issue is "when does a zygote become a person".

ETA: With a further issue "when does a zygote become a person whose rights are sufficient to override the mother's right to personal autonomy".

95LolaWalser
Nov 11, 2011, 3:38pm Top

when does a zygote become a person

That's my understanding of the crux of the debate too.

96AsYouKnow_Bob
Edited: Nov 11, 2011, 3:53pm Top

The remarkable thing about that debate is that it's largely science-dependent: In olden times, a pregnancy didn't produce a person until there was delivery of a live baby.

Then people figured out "quickening".

But the whole business of "a person from the moment of conception" pretty much had to wait until somebody invented a microscope.

97jburlinson
Nov 11, 2011, 4:19pm Top

One way of thinking of this debate is that the relationship between a pregnant woman and a fetus is unique -- its conditions just don't apply to any other human/human relationship. Generalizing moral principles that apply to other types of interpersonal relations to this unique situation isn't valid.

98StormRaven
Nov 11, 2011, 4:22pm Top

Generalizing moral principles that apply to other types of interpersonal relations to this unique situation isn't valid.

Except by assertion, how do you come to this conclusion?

99Arctic-Stranger
Nov 11, 2011, 4:46pm Top

It's a known logical fallacy.

100timspalding
Edited: Nov 11, 2011, 4:50pm Top

Then people figured out "quickening".

Science told women when they felt the baby move?! Seems you've confused "science" with culture.

largely science-dependent

And here we have, again, the problem that science really has nothing to say on questions of morality. Science can't tell me that killing you is wrong. If, perhaps, we decide to assert that it does say this, certainly science isn't going to tell us what aspect of you—the thinking? the suffering? the lack of dependence on other creatures? potentiality? a full human genome?—makes murder wrong. It can, perhaps, answer when we start thinking or suffering, or when we are viable with current technology. But it's not going to choose between these criteria.

Starting with no firm basis for adults, it's going to have a very difficult time explaining whether, when and why killing a fetus is wrong.

Except by assertion, how do you come to this conclusion?

One could reason that there are no other human relationships which involve continual dependence and a growing from almost nothing to a small person. This aspect of the mother-fetus relationship are unique. What that means for moral question is unclear, however.

101jburlinson
Nov 11, 2011, 5:10pm Top

> 98. Except by assertion, how do you come to this conclusion?
> 100. What that means for moral question is unclear, however.

Specifically, it's the fallacy of accident, sometimes called "destroying the exception."

What it means for the moral question is that the mother-fetus relationship is totally exceptional, and therefore not subject to conventional interpersonal morality.

102margd
Edited: Nov 11, 2011, 5:16pm Top

> 100 ...there are no other human relationships which involve continual dependence and a growing from almost nothing to a small person. This aspect of the mother-fetus relationship are unique.

Scientists wonder at the mom not rejecting the fetus with its different genome. The fetus certainly is unique in overcoming most attempts to reject a foreign object. (Doesn't always overcome, though, e.g. Rhesus factor, higher incidence of homosexuality in later born sons.)

We are being so civil here and so I hope it holds when I say that I would love, love, love to see stats on pro-life male activists who have offered a kidney or bit of liver or blood or bone marrow to keep someone else alive.

103StormRaven
Nov 11, 2011, 5:20pm Top

What it means for the moral question is that the mother-fetus relationship is totally exceptional, and therefore not subject to conventional interpersonal morality.

Your conclusion does not follow from your premise.

104jburlinson
Nov 11, 2011, 5:30pm Top

> 103. Your conclusion does not follow from your premise.

Except by assertion, how do you come to this conclusion?

105StormRaven
Nov 11, 2011, 5:36pm Top

104: Because one could make a similar claim about any number of human relationships. All manner of human relationships are "exceptional", and yet we apply conventional interpersonal morality to them all the time. You assert this relationship is unique and there fore normal rules don't apply, but just because a relationship is unique does not lead to the conclusion that normal rules don't apply.

106AsYouKnow_Bob
Edited: Nov 11, 2011, 5:41pm Top

(Tim at #100, the subject of the sentence you objected to was "people", not "science".)

I was postulating three stages:
1) People are universally recognized to have achieve junior-personhood upon birth (infants aren't usually considered full-human, either....)
2) People infer that there's some quasi-person status even BEFORE actual birth - usually at quickening;
and
3) Science!, which is what takes us right back to the single cell of a fertilized egg, and makes the current abortion argument possible.

And here we have, again, the problem that science really has nothing to say on questions of morality.

It's interesting to contrast what always-cranky Jehovah says about it. Jehovah has a long list of capital offenses: and we all know the list:
- wearing blended fabric,
- shaving,
- eating a ham sandwich,
and more pertinently here in the current discussion,
- spilling one's seed is sometimes punishable by death (at least when it's in contradiction of Jehovah's plans).

On the other hand, God's Law specifically says that the punishment for causing a miscarriage shall be...a fine. Which at least implies that Jehovah didn't think that it's a crime that rises to the level of, say, masturbation. The Great God Jehovah could have ruled that causing miscarriage was always murder...yet, curiously, didn't.

107timspalding
Nov 11, 2011, 5:41pm Top

>105 StormRaven:

Right. An excellent argument against those who say that because the fetus is dependent on the mother, the mother may kill it.

Except that it's not. The whole problem with abortion is that it resembles different things to different people—some people think it's like a mother killing her newborn, some people think it's like a mother having some minor elective surgery to her own body. This feature of abortion does render it significantly different from other interpersonal relationships, because it narrows and forks the relevant moral comparanda.

108timspalding
Edited: Nov 11, 2011, 5:47pm Top

>106 AsYouKnow_Bob:

I'm not sure why you keep bringing up scripture in these contexts. I think perhaps you think it's embarrassing to me. (Perhaps I should trot out Chinese forced abortions on the theory that you must support them, or at least be embarrassed?) But I haven't once brought it up as normative to this question, and I freely admit it doesn't answer it. If one were inclined to a fundamentalist attitude, there are pointers in different directions. But I'm not and never have been, so foisting one on my is rather like me asking you why your views are contradicted by something in the Little Red Book.

I don't think your three stages are historically defensible. Certainly the state of science at any given time has entered into the conversation--for example mistaken beliefs about the fully-formed nature of the fetus, or mistaken beliefs that the fetus doesn't move until the mother feels its motion. But your 1-2-3 isn't very good history.

109jburlinson
Nov 11, 2011, 5:45pm Top

105. You assert this relationship is unique

I don't assert this -- I simply observe what is obvious to everyone. There is no other equivalent relationship, is there? Can you think of one?

just because a relationship is unique does not lead to the conclusion that normal rules don't apply

Of course it does. How can you apply "normal" rules to an abnormal (or, better word) exceptional case? It's actually immoral to try to do so, in my opinion.

110AsYouKnow_Bob
Edited: Nov 11, 2011, 5:51pm Top

#108 I'm not sure why you keep bringing up scripture in these contexts. I think perhaps you think it's embarrassing to me.

Uh, we're not the only people here?
I thought scripture might bear on the question, given that the topic is "Are All Christians Pro-Life?"

Or maybe it's because I'm often surprised at how many people have what they think is a religious objection to abortion, and don't actually know what the Bible says that might bear on the question? Given that surgical abortion wasn't specifically prohibited in the OT, people who want to base their reasoning on bronze-age texts have to extrapolate from what IS there?

111StormRaven
Edited: Nov 11, 2011, 5:58pm Top

Right. An excellent argument against those who say that because the fetus is dependent on the mother, the mother may kill it.

Only if you first determine that the fetus is a person first and entitled to be accorded rights we ascribe to humans (and if so, when does the fetus become a person). And only if you conclude that the fetus' rights trump the mother's right to personal autonomy. In other words, it is only an "excellent argument" if you sidestep several of the critical issues.

It is also an observation that allows us to generalize this to other issues. Are you required to save someone's life if you can? Suppose there was someone that only you could save by hooking you up to a machine with him. Does our moral code require us to compel you to agree under those circumstances? Suppose we knocked you out and hooked you up to him. When you came to, would you be obligated to continue giving, or could you walk away?

112timspalding
Edited: Nov 11, 2011, 5:55pm Top

Incidentally, lest others take your paraphrase as the final word, Exodus 21:22 does not lay out a penalty for causing a miscarriage generally, still less a euphemism for abortion. The quote is: "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury." The implication is that the miscarriage is the unintentional of a fight between men.

>110 AsYouKnow_Bob:

Duly noted. I certainly don't base my beliefs on the issue--which are, as stated, not conclusive--on the Bible. The Bible comes into it very rapidly once you've made the initial decision that a fetus is a life, for surely the Bible is pretty anti-murder. But I don't think it easily gets you there, whether you take a fundamentalist or a non-fundamentalist hermeneutics.

many people have what they think is a religious objection to abortion

The Bible is not a definitive list of everything good and bad that will ever need to be considered. Religious objections can exist independent of the Bible. For example, Garrison had a religious objection to slavery and MLK had one for discrimination. Did the Bible explicitly list them among things to be stopped? Of course not. Welcome to religion as rooted in the Bible, not scripted by it.

113AsYouKnow_Bob
Edited: Nov 11, 2011, 7:06pm Top

In other words, it is only an "excellent argument" if you sidestep several of the critical issues.

Well, in the morality of the OT, only patriarchs have full human rights - everybody else lives or dies at their sufferance. Women, adult-male children, children can all be killed, pretty much with impunity. There's really no evidence that infants or fetuses have more rights that the others did. Heck, half the infants would be female, and would STILL have no rights even after they were born.

... for surely the Bible is pretty anti-murder.

Only if you squint just right, and ignore all the divinely-approved murder and genocide. Heck, Jehovah's on record as reveling in the idea of infanticide.

Incidentally, lest others take your paraphrase as the final word, Exodus 21:22 does not lay out a penalty for causing a miscarriage generally, still less a euphemism for abortion.

But it's God's Law, and yet it doesn't list a punishment for abortion. At minimum, that's an oversight. A maximal reading would be that Jehovah doesn't mention it because it doesn't offend him. (And look at the long list of carefully-enumerated things that DO offend Jehovah.)

The Bible is not a definitive list of everything good and bad that will ever need to be considered. Religious objections can exist independent of the Bible.

It's possible that I've been accosted by more fundamentalists than you have. (For that matter, right here on LT, we've been told that the Ten Commandments is the only POSSIBLE source of morality.)
I've been told point-blank that abortion is expressly forbidden in the Bible; when asked for chapter-and-verse, Exodus 21:22 is the best they could come up with.

Which is something less than unequivocal.

114jburlinson
Nov 11, 2011, 5:56pm Top

> 111. Don't you realize that # 107 was complimenting you on your supposed "excellent argument?"

115AsYouKnow_Bob
Edited: Nov 11, 2011, 9:19pm Top

But your 1-2-3 isn't very good history.

Well, it's a chat room post, not a monograph. The point remains that people can't assert full human rights for a zygote until after we have the tech to see the existence of (and understand the implications of) a zygote. Nobody much thought to even criminalize abortion until after that happened.

116LolaWalser
Nov 11, 2011, 8:41pm Top

An excellent argument against those who say that because the fetus is dependent on the mother, the mother may kill it.

The fetus isn't just "dependent" on the mother, like someone listed on your tax form as such. The fetus is a part of woman's body, and for the entire period in which abortions may be performed at relatively low risk for the woman, a part of her body incapable of developing outside it.

117LolaWalser
Nov 11, 2011, 8:45pm Top

#102

I would love, love, love to see stats on pro-life male activists who have offered a kidney or bit of liver or blood or bone marrow to keep someone else alive.

Ah yes. Or any info on what exactly they do to help their existing fellow-people. I'll be waiting for that e-mail.

118margd
Edited: Nov 12, 2011, 4:45am Top

> 116 The fetus is a part of woman's body

OT, but interesting: apparently cells from the fetus can persist for years in a woman's bloodstream. For example, cells with Y chromosomes have been detected in women who bear sons. It's thought to be one reason that women tend to have higher rates of auto-immune diseases than do men.

119faceinbook
Nov 13, 2011, 9:35am Top

>84 timspalding:
"2. Catholicism isn't a completely fixed menu, but a rich tradition over centuries. Its teachings come in different shapes and sizes."

So you can pick your own shape and size ? or referr to the menu and choose that which you want ? If this is the case....everyone should be able to have their own menu without interference from the law of the land.

Which is a point in and of itself.....who decides what is God's will and who makes the decision that God was wrong at one point in time so we are going to change all that was traditional ? And why should Catholicism define which procedures are acceptable and which are not ?
Since women are the only ones who are directly affected by the implantation of a fetus, women will continue to make choices regarding her body and what she feels is best for her well being. Making abortion illegal is NOT going to stop abortions from happening. So I guess the question boils down to "Do women deserve to have a "safe" procedure"? OR, are we going to go backwards and keep women in their place.....behind the eight ball when it comes to unplanned or unwanted pregnancies ? ....it is the woman who is in the postion of having to "trust" that she will share the burden....sadly, too often that trust has been misplaced.

>117 LolaWalser:
Would guess that you will be waiting a while.

Would also like to see a clean list as to absentee or irresponsible fathers in this country....before seeing men on the anti abortion picket line. While I am fully aware that many men are responsible for their offspring, this is not always the case. There is no way to put oneself in the shoes of a mother of three who is supporting her family.....and finds that she is pregnant again. If she is the main bread winner......this is a devestating situation. Again, what of the life of the "persons" who are already here ? What of the three children who depend on her ?
The decision's made by the church are often so sexist as to be laughable....abstinence only programs...COME ON..."We will decide that birth control is a no no and then when you DO get pregnant you are a murder for choosing not to carry the fetus"
My mind simply can not get a grip on that kind of reasoning......

120timspalding
Edited: Nov 13, 2011, 12:16pm Top

I would love, love, love to see stats on pro-life male activists who have offered a kidney or bit of liver or blood or bone marrow to keep someone else alive.

I don't think anyone's ever done an analysis of giving by religion. If they have, it didn't make it online--and that's the sort of thing that would appear online, I think. For what it's worth, however, the "pro-life" churches are generally very pro-organ donation. Certainly the Catholic church is.

Finally, lest we slide into this whole canard about how religious people don't care for others, etc. I would remind people that studies consistently show that religious people donate far more of both time and money to charity, even when you factor out giving to the church or whatever itself. See http://www.hoover.org/publications/policy-review/article/6577
"Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money (91 percent to 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer time (67 percent to 44 percent)."


The fetus is a part of woman's body, and for the entire period in which abortions may be performed at relatively low risk for the woman, a part of her body incapable of developing outside it.

We can, I am sure, agree that viability is an important potential metric. But I don't think you can move from that to a blanket assertion that the fetus is "part of the woman's body." In some ways, like dependence, it may seem so. In other ways, like possessing largely or entirely separate systems (eg., circulation), it does not.

121faceinbook
Nov 13, 2011, 3:14pm Top

>120 timspalding:
I wonder how the statistics would come up if we left out the word "religious" and substituted the word "spiritual".......it also would be interesting, though impossible to gage, how many people give money or donate time and take no credit for it.
Know someone who is very well off.....he often will go out to eat at family restaurants....try to pick out a family that seems to be budgeting what they are ordering off the menu....he makes a point of meeting up with their waitress and paying for the meal.....only under the condition that he not be identified...also tells her to make sure the kids get a dessert.
He is not religious....no church affiliation.... he would not show up on any statistic nor would he tell anyone but a close friend what he is up to.

Not sure that statistics would show a valid picture as to who donates and how much. Many people believe that true charity is that which one does that goes untold.
Some of the greediest people I know donate time at various charities and treat those who they come into contact with, on a daily basis, like crap. Attend church every week as well.....tell everyone about the hour or two they spent at the food pantry. Clearly they are not charitable people so much as people who wish to appear to be charitable.

I respect the opinion of those who are anti abortion.....just don't understand how some of these same individuals have beliefs that do not support a scenerio which would limit the number of unwanted pregnancy. And I don't think anyone who has not experienced an unwanted pregnancy can determine what a woman in that position should or shouldn't do.

122jburlinson
Nov 13, 2011, 4:04pm Top

> 121. Clearly they are not charitable people so much as people who wish to appear to be charitable.

All charitable people wish to appear to be charitable, if only to themselves.

123JGL53
Edited: Nov 15, 2011, 9:43pm Top

We've just voted down this anti-abortion bullcrap here in Mississippi 58-42.

If that crap can't be sold in #50-in-everything-important Mississippi, then where in Amurica can it be sold? I ax you.

Give it up, anti-abortionists - we need the fetuses for stem cell research.

124lawecon
Nov 16, 2011, 7:19pm Top

We've just voted down this anti-abortion bullcrap here in Mississippi ...

===========================

Yept, that sounds right.

125faceinbook
Nov 18, 2011, 8:31am Top

http://news.yahoo.com/wis-couple-accused-starving-infant-daughter-004827550.html

Perhaps all those who are counseling against abortion and hovering around clinics toting signs, could do some good if they were to work with idiots like these two people. It is daunting to think of the misery their children have experienced. It would seem to me that the crisis in this case is far more urgent than worries over the unborn ...... who may or may not be "persons"...... when we are certain that these children ARE.

126johnthefireman
Nov 18, 2011, 8:40am Top

>125 faceinbook: Which parallels the feeling in many developing countries that we need to put more effort and resources into caring for children who are dying / being killed after birth, not only before birth.

128JGL53
Nov 24, 2011, 4:27pm Top

> 127

Apropos of what?

129eclecticdodo
Nov 25, 2011, 8:31am Top

thought others might find it interesting in light of the discussion.
The article is written from the perspective of what a tragedy it is that a healthy child died. I find it distressing that an abortion was carried out at 32 weeks, by which point a baby is viable.

130quicksiva
Nov 25, 2011, 8:50am Top

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which I have yet to read, tells the story of cells, which were removed from a poor Black cancer patient in the early 50’s. These cells have played an important role in modern healthcare. After “cloning”, the cells continue to grow. Millions of dollars have been made, and thousands of lives saved by these cloned cells. My question is: How does this “new science” fit into the discussion? What is the legal status of these cells? Are they considered a form of “Human Life”?

131paclady
Edited: Jan 7, 2012, 6:07pm Top

lawecon#19-

Do you really think this is the same as skin cells?

http://www.100abortionpictures.com/Aborted_Baby_Pictures_Abortion_Photos/thumbna...

This looks like an innocent baby to me.

Maybe if a mother has six children and has a poor quality of life, she should think about it before she gets pregnant and not just kill the next baby so that her "quality of life" is a little better. Some abortion doctors take the baby out of the body and snap its neck as late term abortion. Hmmm. I think that is murder, don't you? What difference does it make if he kills it outside the mother's body or inside though. Still a little baby. It is so sad that our country is ok with killing babies, just so irresponsible mothers can have a "better quality of life".

God said, "Mary was with child". (Luke 2: 5) It is clear that according to the bible, if a woman is pregnant, there is a child inside her. It does not say, Mary was with cells and tissue. If you are a Christian, I think that it would be impossible to take a pro-choice stance.

With regards to the argument for rape victims, we need to have tougher laws against rapists. If a man had to face life in jail for rape, maybe there wouldn't be so many men doing such awful things to women.

132StormRaven
Edited: Jan 7, 2012, 6:37pm Top

If a man had to face life in jail for rape, maybe there wouldn't be so many men doing such awful things to women.

Bullshit. Rape used to be a capital crime in many states in the U.S. Now it isn't, and the incidence of rape is much lower now than it was then. Ramping up punishment doesn't always serve to reduce the incidence of crime.

More to the point, even if it did work that way, you'd never be able to reduce rape to nonexistence, no matter how high the penalties were. As a result, you'd have raped women who have gotten pregnant who you will be telling "let's compound your horrific situation by making you carry your rapists baby to term."

Why is it that whenever you strip away the nice sounding language from the positions taken by the very religious, their ideas turn out to be vile and reprehensible?

133JGL53
Edited: Jan 7, 2012, 7:36pm Top

According to christian fundie theory if my mother had aborted me I would be up in heaven right now with jesus and god and the holy ghost, not to mention that minority of people who will make the cut, including billions of spirits of other aborted fetuses.

But now according to christian fundie theory I am going to eternal perdition.

That's messed up.

I think there may be something wrong with the christian fundie theory.

But the Hindus - now those hep cats got it going on.

134faceinbook
Jan 7, 2012, 7:03pm Top

>131 paclady:
Your post is a glaring example as to why women should have a choice. No where in your post do you mention the responsibility of the man. Not once ! Since this is not an attitude that is exclusive to yourself, it is only fair that women get to make a choice as to how much responsibility she feels she can handle, since ultimately, she is the one who bears the burden of the another pregnancy and the child, not everyone feels this way, but enough do.... you pretty much spoke for how many think. Not only is she irresponsibility for choosing to terminate her pregnancy, she was irresponsible enough to get pregnant. SHE and SHE alone !

Great example....thank you !

135cjbanning
Edited: Jan 7, 2012, 10:10pm Top

131: "God said, "Mary was with child". (Luke 2: 5)"

I don't speak Greek, but a glance at an interlinear seems to indicate all the original text says is basically "pregnant." You're stretching. (Plus, God didn't write the Bible, only inspired it.)

136timspalding
Edited: Jan 7, 2012, 10:19pm Top

>135 cjbanning:

The Greek word means "pregnant." Etymology is not meaning, but the word is etymologically related to kuma, "wave" and "swell" not "child." "With child" is how formal English expressed this until recently. "Pregnant" was, famously, not allowed to be said on I Love Lucy as being too explicit.

137paclady
Jan 9, 2012, 2:21pm Top

Rape is the most underreported crime. I want to know where you got your info. that rape is much lower now and how you know that is accurate. I think stats are 1:4 women are raped. That is pretty bad. Making harsher punishments may not always deter crime, but it might just help make evil people think twice about it. I said "maybe". I don't know the real answer. I know there will always be horrible people in the world, but I wish our country would try some new ways of dealing with that problem.

I know two women who have been raped and also who had abortions. I know for a fact that they are haunted much more by the abortion than the rape. I'm not speaking for everyone. It is a horrible circumstance, but still where is the baby's rights? Also, statistically according to the CDC approximately 1% of all abortions are for rape victims. In 2008, there were 825,564 abortions in America. What about all those other babies. If you want to keep your rape victim argument, there are still hundreds of thousands of babies being killed annually in this country alone.

How are the ideas vile?

138paclady
Jan 9, 2012, 2:28pm Top

Okay, with child= pregnant or with child= skin flakes? My argument was in response to Lawecon's argument earlier on skin flakes being the same as a fetus.

If you are a Christian you believe that the Bible is the word of the Lord and that it is true, not "inspired" writing. I do not believe that argument would work with anyone who is a Christian.

139cjbanning
Jan 9, 2012, 3:38pm Top

>138 paclady:

You mean if you are your type of Christian.

140timspalding
Jan 9, 2012, 4:00pm Top

If you are a Christian you believe that the Bible is the word of the Lord and that it is true, not "inspired" writing. I do not believe that argument would work with anyone who is a Christian.

Absolute nonsense. Either you believe most Christians now and throughout history weren't, or you just aren't aware of what Christians believe.

141StormRaven
Jan 9, 2012, 4:57pm Top

It is a horrible circumstance, but still where is the baby's rights?

You've never actually read Roe v. Wade and the difficult balancing act between the rights of the mother and the rights of the fetus that it attempts to achieve, have you?

142StormRaven
Jan 9, 2012, 4:58pm Top

I want to know where you got your info. that rape is much lower now and how you know that is accurate.

You could try crime statistics. There are a number of places, including the FBI, that keep track of this sort of thing.

143faceinbook
Jan 9, 2012, 5:59pm Top

>138 paclady:
Often there are the rights of other children to consider as well. A woman may have three children and be able to keep them fed, clothed and sheltered. A fourth may be an impossiblity. What of the rights of the "born" children ?

" I know for a fact that they are haunted much more by the abortion than the rape."

So will you be willing to concede that women do not make this choice easily ? That no matter the choice she makes, she is going to pay a price ? Why should that price be any other than the one she choses ?
How awful is it to harrass women, women who are making a difficult often painful decision most of them feeling they have no other option, based on your personal belief system ?
I fail to see the Christianity in that.
If you do not believe in abortion, do not have one. If you should come into contact with a woman who feels she has no other option, it seems to me as a Christian one should feel compassion. Yet, they are labeled "irresponsible mothers". Maybe they are being responsible to the children they already have ? Might be that having a child one can not care for is irresponsible ?

144JGL53
Edited: Jan 9, 2012, 6:35pm Top

This is all theoretical. The fact is there are around 42 million abortions a year worldwide.

http://www.abort73.com/abortion_facts/worldwide_abortion_statistics/

No doubt there have been BILLIONS upon BILLIONS of abortions in just the last few hundred years.

Who is going to do something about all this?

Nobody, that's who.

Will any women be shamed or guilted into not having abortions? Hardly any.

Will any government have any effective method in actually preventing abortions. Hell no.

How many abortions will be had in the next one hundred years? Billions.

But don’t let reality rain on anyone’s parade. Please ignore the reality and continue with this useless hypothetical and idealistic discussion. You all seem to enjoy it so much - please continue to knock yourselves out.

145lawecon
Jan 9, 2012, 7:25pm Top

~138

"Okay, with child= pregnant or with child= skin flakes? My argument was in response to Lawecon's argument earlier on skin flakes being the same as a fetus."

=======================================

Let's see what that "equation" looks like, shall we:

"You say that a fetus has the potentiality to be a mature human being, but as we both know, many things other than abortion can interfer with that potentiality. Conversely "we" are not that far from cloning human beings from any cell of a human body. Will that clone then be "not human" because it didn't start out as a sperm and egg?

In answer to your second question, the issue is not "when life starts" - human skin cells are indisputably alive until they die. The question is when political rights start. Political rights are, at least partially, a matter of enforceability and a trade off between the atonomous freedom of a person and the need for social order..."

My goodness, it would appear that you either can't read or are lying about there being an equation. Which is it? Is lying another Christian virtue which you find in the Bible?

146Jesse_wiedinmyer
Jan 9, 2012, 7:30pm Top

" I know for a fact that they are haunted much more by the abortion than the rape."

Birth or Abortion?: Private Struggles in a Political World would seem to argue (though that's not the correct word in all probability, mayhap convey would be better) that this depends on the person and the circumstance (even in situations where rape is not involved.)

147StormRaven
Jan 9, 2012, 7:48pm Top

I know two women who have been raped and also who had abortions. I know for a fact that they are haunted much more by the abortion than the rape.

How much of the haunting they feel is the result of people like you stigmatizing them for their choice? How much is the result of the implicit slut-shaming you engage in?

Also, statistically according to the CDC approximately 1% of all abortions are for rape victims.

So, you'd make about 8,500 women a year carry their rapists baby to term. How very kind of you.

In 2008, there were 825,564 abortions in America. What about all those other babies. If you want to keep your rape victim argument, there are still hundreds of thousands of babies being killed annually in this country alone.

You presuppose that a fetus is a baby. You presuppose that the fetus' rights always trump those of the woman whose body it is dependent upon. If I needed an organ from you in order to live, would my right to that organ trump your right to bodily integrity?

How are the ideas vile?

You'd make 8,500 women a year who do not want to carry their rapists baby to term. That's vile.

148lawecon
Edited: Jan 9, 2012, 11:45pm Top

~145

Here we go again.

A particular poster attributes an absurd position/statement to me that I have never taken/said and would never take/say. I correct he or she, quoting what I did say, and inquiring along the way whether he/she can't read or just lies about the other guy's position. Who gets the red flags. Guess.

So, oh anonymous red flaggers, let me put you in a similar position: " ____ (fill in your name) regularly buggers donkeys, believes that Blacks are racially inferior, and believes that the Earth is flat. As he has said above."

Now, what is your reaction? Should we red flag your reaction if you suggest that the foregoing are lies or that the person advancing such evaluations can't read? Apparently.

Hypocrites.

Of course, red flagging is anonymous, and we know that Tim could care less, so go for it. Why not, since you obviously are incapable of responding in any other fashion.

149nathanielcampbell
Jan 10, 2012, 11:18am Top

>138 paclady:, 145, and 148:

I believe, lawecon, that paclady was responding to your comments in post 19, as follows:
Although the rationale for the above position seems to be that the fetus is genetically a complete human being, there is no appeal for similar rights for skin cells that flake off of all of our bodies on a daily basis and are equally genetically "fully human," etc. No, no, it won't do to say in response that those cells are identical to another still living human being, since there are identical twins each of whom retains full human rights, albeit there is another being with an identical genetic structure. Similarly, it is clearly true that a fetus is no more viable "on its own" than is a skin cell viable on its own.

Paclady's conclusion in 138 ("Lawecon's argument earlier on skin flakes being the same as a fetus."), while perhaps not exactly what you meant by these words, is nevertheless a plausible reading of them.

But I think you will find that your post 145 has been flagged because, rather than trying to explain in what ways paclady has misunderstood you, you simply called her a liar and then called into question her Christian faith. In other words, rather than responding to the argument in question, you attacked her personal integrity.

You've demonstrated this pattern before. Somebody misunderstands or misconstrues your words and arguments; and rather than explaining yourself, rather than clarifying the misunderstanding, you simply declare them a liar and attack their intelligence and integrity. That's why you get flagged.

You'll notice that when you have misconstrued or misunderstood arguments put forward by folks like me, or Tim, or cjbanning, or johnthefireman, or Jesse_wiedinmyr; we usually respond by giving you the benefit of the doubt. We don't often simply declare you a lying fool and attack your intelligence. Rather, we assume that what we had written was unclear and led you to misunderstand our meaning. Then, we attempt to clarify our arguments so that you (and other readers) can make better sense of our true intentions.

That is, in fact, the nature of constructive dialectic. It encourages each side to go back, refine their positions, clarify their arguments, and in the end become better, clearer, more rational thinkers. Simply delcaring "j'accuse" encourages only obstinacy and further obfuscation.

150margd
Jan 29, 2012, 2:05pm Top

Our society needs to do a better job celebrating the selfless bio-mom who chooses to bring a baby to term and to place it for adoption. I was shocked that a young woman of my acquaintance, though she is choosing to have and keep the child, briefly considered abortion, but not adoption.

151lawecon
Jan 30, 2012, 12:28am Top

~149

I think you need to reread what I said in #145 and perhaps look up the definition of the term "or". Frankly, I can't tell whether someone is grossly misinterpreting a position deliberately or can't read. However, I can tell when a criticism is meant to be a criticism of a person rather than an intellectual position. Criticisms that are the equivalent of calling someone a monster are not intellectually based criticisms.

As for what I said in post #19, do you really think that I said that "skin flakes are the same as a fetus?" Do you really think that would be a "plausible interpretation" of the ARGUMENTS I was advancing in the quotation you give? Really? Amazing.

As for the performance of you, Tim, cjbanning, or Jesse, I think you are getting exactly what you deserve. Too bad that you can dish out the personal attacks right and left but get offended when someone suggests that you are talking through your respective hats. Frequently, you are. You and Tim, in particular, go on and on about topics on which you have much less than complete knowledge. Perhaps if you ever actually cited any external support for any of your positions or your dismissal of the other guy's positions as ignorant or crazy you wouldn't receive the treatment you receive. You might try it sometime.

cj seems to be simply a compulsive gadfly, and, unfortunately, doesn't appear to care whether the positions he is taking make any sense or are even remotely connected to what is being discussed.

John and I actually get along quite well. John doesn't seem to "know it all" or get personally offended when you point out weaknesses in his position. While he and I often differ, he is very intelligent, has clear positions, and usually has support for what he says. When he doesn't have support, he makes it very clear that he is taking the position "on faith." (Fine with me, as long as we're clear about the difference between faith and intellectually defensible positions.) Frankly, John is one of the most honest people I have ever had the pleasure of reading and is, in my book, morally admirable in many other respects. So please don't lump him in with those others who you perceive as victims of the HORRIBLE lawecon.

152jburlinson
Jan 30, 2012, 12:46am Top

> 151. quoted from # 19 -- "it is clearly true that a fetus is no more viable "on its own" than is a skin cell viable on its own." Also: "Although the rationale for the above position seems to be that the fetus is genetically a complete human being, there is no appeal for similar rights for skin cells that flake off of all of our bodies on a daily basis and are equally genetically "fully human," etc." (bold emphasis mine)

Now, from: # 151 -- 'As for what I said in post #19, do you really think that I said that "skin flakes are the same as a fetus?'"


Yes.

To give you your due, I don't believe you actually believe that skin flakes are the same as a fetus, but you did say it.

153lawecon
Edited: Jan 30, 2012, 8:32am Top

Now go back and read it again (particularly the part you have omitted above). If you read it, the post is clearly about whether it makes any sense to contend that a fetus is is entitled to full human rights from the moment of conception. Hence, in the part you omit, I say explicitly "As I understand it, that position is not that a fetus is "somewhat human" and thus is not to be denied some consideration, it is that a fetus is fully human from the moment of fertilization and is to be accorded all rights of a human being from that point forward."

Now what distinguishes a fertilized egg from sex cells? The only thing is that it is genetically complete rather than genetically haploid. But so is, as I point out, every nonsex cell in the human body. Yet we don't accord legal rights to every human cell and we recognize that many human cells die daily in the ordinary course of living. It is apparently no problem for the right to lifers that such is the case, but yet, killing a fertilized egg is still "murder" for them.

It is indeed mysterious how one can read post #19 in its entirety and contend that I am maintaining that fetus = skin cell, when what I'm clearly doing is trying to understand why that isn't the position of the "right to life" crowd.It is almost as if the people to whom the post is addressed want to misunderstand the question and create a strawman because they really really don't want to answer the question. The explanation for you, Paclady and NathanielCampbell I suspect varies.

Let me just add, since this seems to be such an emotional question for some people that their critical facilities fly entirely out the window, that the "full rights from the moment of conception" argument gets even worse in the light of advances in medical science. What I had expected to be the rejoinder to the above argument, as I pointed out in a later post, was that skin cells didn't have the potentiality to become full human beings and, hence, were unlike a fetus. That was the point of the pre-emptive strike in the comment about spontaneous abortions, particularly at the early stage when no one really knows that an abortion has occurred. (Why don't we know? We have methods for discovering hidden bodies and negligent homicide, don't we?)

Curiously, no one pursued that counterargument. Perhaps it is because it appears that medical science will soon be able to clone a fetus from any cell in the body. Does that mean a skin cell is a fetus? Clearly not. It will take considerable skill and high technology to turn a skin cell into a fetus. Does it mean that the argument that killing a fertilized egg or later developed fetus is murder BECAUSE A FETUS IS GENETICALLY A HUMAN BEING AND CAN BECOME A FULL HUMAN BEING will make a lot less sense? Yes it does.

Now let me repeat again what I said in the original post. Does the position that a fertilized egg is a human being with full human rights make any sense in light of the above? No it doesn't. The above considerations clearly indicate that this LEGAL POSITION is unsustainable. Does that mean that a developing fetus has no rights as it develops until the instant of birth. Well, no it doesn't - another point I clearly made in the original post, but which you seem to be conveniently overlooking.

154JGL53
Edited: Jan 30, 2012, 2:32pm Top

> 152

I think the mad scientists are up to cloning monkeys now. In any case sheep. Guess which species is next on the block? That's right, every right-thinking person's favorite species.

Not just in "theory" but the technology is here - today - for the cloning of humans. That makes every single cell in the body a potential person - just like a human blastocyst, embryo or fetus.

The question is where do we as societies decide wherein an entity meets the criteria for being a "person". There's the rub - with "potential" not equaling "actual" any more than an acorn is an oak tree. In fact I would think that anyone who confuses an acorn with an oak tree is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Everyone except certified psychos are pro-life. No one but psychos or suicides are pro-death. Everyone loves to have choices. No one just hates the extension of choice. Thus, all of this language is crap language - just attempts to "win by definition".

Everyone - excepting psychos again - wishes the best for all persons - especially ones that mind their own business - killing persons being popular only in death penalty cases, a "just" war, self-defense or defense of others. Excepting such exceptions everyone accepts that all persons under the constitution are equal, in their political rights.

The question is who is a person and what is not.

Convince me a piece of human tissue smaller than the eye can see - or even one the size of a fingertip - is a person and I'll be on board with the so-called "pro-life" movement.

Hard row to hoe, fellows. Ditto for about that 80 per cent of Americans who obviously do not consider a person to be extant from the so-called "moment of conception" - or even for many weeks thereafter.

155timspalding
Jan 30, 2012, 5:32pm Top

all of this language is crap language - just attempts to "win by definition"

Exactly so. Ditto "pro-choice," etc. Sensible people fight about the ideas, rather than loudly squabbling about terminology.

156jburlinson
Jan 30, 2012, 5:56pm Top

> Sensible people fight about the ideas, rather than loudly squabbling about terminology.

How can you get to the ideas before first getting the terminology straight?

157timspalding
Jan 30, 2012, 6:09pm Top

Whether you call it "murdering a fetus" or "terminating a pregnancy" it's the same thing.

158jburlinson
Jan 30, 2012, 6:24pm Top

> 157. Whether you call it "murdering a fetus" or "terminating a pregnancy" it's the same thing.

So the terminology is the ideas.

159JGL53
Jan 31, 2012, 4:26pm Top

> 158

For sure. Thus "terminating a pregnancy" is an exact description of the situation.

"Abortion is murder" makes no more sense than the idea that "crushing an acorn is killing an oak tree".

If someone crushes a basketful of acorns is he guilty of destroying a forest?

Ha.

160timspalding
Jan 31, 2012, 9:02pm Top

For sure. Thus "terminating a pregnancy" is an exact description of the situation.

It ignores what a pregnancy involves—a woman and a fetus—and whether the act has moral consequences or not. It is like describing both lovemaking between two consenting individuals and an act of rape as "sexual relations between two individuals." Certainly that is a true description on a clinical level. But if you take clinical descriptions as the final word on such matters, and steadfastly insist people not speak of "rape," you're not getting the point in a dreadful way.

"Abortion is murder" makes no more sense than the idea that "crushing an acorn is killing an oak tree".

Abortion as a clinical term also applies when the fetus in question is fully grown and at term or over it. Most decent people do not consider it perfectly fine to kill a term-infant if it is 3 inches north of the cervix, and despicable infanticide if it is three inches south of it.

Stipulating that a newly fertilized egg is an acorn, and a baby in the process of being born two weeks late is a baby, I see no obvious way to determine when you're stomping acorns and when you're stomping babies. If you blindfolded me and put me under an oak tree, and told me that around me were either acorns or babies, I would hesitate to stomp around. How about you?

161JGL53
Edited: Feb 1, 2012, 11:22am Top

> 150

That's all great as long as there exist enough people who are willing to adopt the unwanted babies produced by all the potential "selfless biomoms". I doubt that is a possible reality.

And all those millions of babies - which will include most of any babies with severe mental or physical problems - will become wards of the state.

republicans and conservatives are willing to have their taxes raised to pay for that?

Ha.

Instead of building more giant expensive church buildings let's see all the religious republicans and conservatives spend that money instead on housing the millions of orphans - babies and children they are unwilling to adopt.

Ha.

religious conservatives and republicans are willing to tell other people what to do, that others must conform to their particular ideology, and willing to have big secular government used as a tool to enforce their particular ideology, but are they willing themselves to step up and self-sacrifice and "do the right thing" in conformance to what they SAY - i.e., walk the walk in addition to always be willing to talk the talk?

Ha.

As stated in a previous post, the anti-abortion lobby's problem is that 80 per cent of Americans do not think abortion is ipso facto murder, like the anti-abortion lobby insist. And it has been this way for about 40 years now, the polls on this being consistent from year to year.

The anti-abortion lobby is not winning hearts and influencing minds. All have been tried - shame, guilt, threats and intimidation - even murder. The anti-abortion lobby just can't make that 20 per cent grow.

And now that the anti-abortion lobby has come out of the closet on birth control and are trying to outlaw the BC pill - which even 80 per cent of American catholic women have used.....

Ha.

An anti-abortion measure was just voted down 58 - 42 per cent in my home state of Mississippi. Last time I checked everyone who is anyone agrees that Mississippi is THE most conservative state in the union.

Americans in the majority are now obviously realizing - finally - the threat to civil liberties and Constitutional law posed by the anti-abortion lobby.

The U.S. of A. is not a theocracy. It has a liberal secular government. One particular religious group DOES NOT get to call the shots for the entire country - just because that particular religious group is convinced beyond all reason they know the mind of god, the white male supreme creator of heaven and earth.

What I am saying - in a nutshell - is "GET A CLUE'.

162MyopicBookworm
Feb 1, 2012, 12:04pm Top

And now that the anti-abortion lobby has come out of the closet on birth control and are trying to outlaw the BC pill

It is the negative attitude to family planning and contraception that forces me to keep the "pro-life" people at the other end of a long bargepole, and probably alienates many other people who might otherwise be more sympathetic to their anti-abortion campaign. The best solution to the problem of excess abortion (given the impossibility of universal sexual abstinence) is contraception, and I find it hard to consider the position of the (male-dominated) Roman Catholic Church as anything but (a) ridiculously idealistic and (b) hugely destructive.

163Jesse_wiedinmyer
Feb 1, 2012, 4:56pm Top

Any thoughts on the Komen Foundation's defunding of Planned Parenthood?

164margd
Feb 1, 2012, 5:58pm Top

> 161 That's all great as long as there exist enough people who are willing to adopt the unwanted babies produced by all the potential "selfless biomoms". I doubt that is a possible reality.

I haven't matched up the numbers, but adoptive parents can wait a long time for a newborn. Sadly this is not always the case for African-American babies--Canadians and Brits come to the US to adopt some of our kids, did you know?

> 161 And all those millions of babies - which will include most of any babies with severe mental or physical problems - will become wards of the state.

Quite a few adoptive parents that I know adopt special-needs kids, and not just minor stuff. I am amazed myself sometimes by what some adoptive parents voluntarily take on.

165JGL53
Edited: Feb 1, 2012, 10:18pm Top

> 164 "...Quite a few adoptive parents that I know adopt special-needs kids, and not just minor stuff. I am amazed myself sometimes by what some adoptive parents voluntarily take on."

For sure there are many, many people who adopt children. I realize that.

My point was that if the dream of no abortion were to happen, this would then result in millions of new orphans. Thus I doubt there could ever be the millions of the required adoptive parents. And thus my mention of millions of orphans as wards of the state, and the subsequent tax burden thus caused, if the religious who object to abortion could have their dream come true.

But religious conservatives and republicans are the ones who think taxes must never be raised, for anyone, at any time, for any reason.

So then I'm just pointing out the dilemma in their ideology that they either don't know about, don't care about, or think they can safely ignore - apparently because the ancient Mayans said jesus is coming back at the end of this year or something.



166johnthefireman
Edited: Feb 2, 2012, 12:57am Top

>162 MyopicBookworm: The best solution... is contraception, and I find it hard to consider the position of the (male-dominated) Roman Catholic Church as anything but (a) ridiculously idealistic and (b) hugely destructive

To be realistic, the Church's official opposition to artificial contraception is one of the least accepted of its teachings. It was controversial even while Humanae Vitae was being prepared; it appears that Pope Paul VI ignored his own panel of (male-dominated) experts. A huge number of (male-dominated) bishops and priests give their flock the opposite advice, privately if not publicly. Ordinary Catholics tend just to ignore it. Thus I'm not sure that it is as "hugely destructive" as hyperbole would suggest, although it could reasonably be described as ridiculous for the Church to have a teaching which has arguably been rejected, in practice, by most of its members.

167lawecon
Feb 2, 2012, 7:14am Top

`166

I thought that there was something in Church doctrine about this: i.e., that Papal announcements that didn't rise to the level of Teachings were tested by the consensus opinions and actions of the Church faithful.

168johnthefireman
Feb 2, 2012, 7:24am Top

>167 lawecon: Yes and no. The concept of sensus fidelium (or sometimes sensus fidei) is found in Vatican II. Paraphrasing, it basically asserts that the Holy Spirit is not likely to inspire the Pope and bishops to teach one thing whilst simultaneously inspiring the Church as a whole to believe the opposite. Thus in a sense the assent of the faithful is a confirmation of the teaching, and one can argue that a teaching which is so widely rejected (including by many bishops, who share in the teaching authority) is suspect. In practice, of course, Rome does not change its teaching because the faithful vote with their feet and ignore it, at least not quickly; who knows what the Church will be teaching about artificial contraception in a decade or so? It is not an infallible teaching.

169timspalding
Edited: Feb 2, 2012, 8:59am Top

Any thoughts on the Komen Foundation's defunding of Planned Parenthood?

No major thoughts, but my Twitter filled up with hatred for it. I can understand hatred over the issue itself, but I also had people screaming about how they weren't a decent charity to begin with. For example, they spend only 20% of their money on a cure. (This is because the rest goes into prevention and direct funding of treatments.) If they hadn't done the abortion thing, I GUARANTEE you none of these people would be complaining about them for other reasons. In politics when someone does something we don't like, we look for reasons to hate them. Dislike something Obama does? Maybe he's a Kenyan!

As stated in a previous post, the anti-abortion lobby's problem is that 80 per cent of Americans do not think abortion is ipso facto murder, like the anti-abortion lobby insist. And it has been this way for about 40 years now, the polls on this being consistent from year to year.

Gallup poll, 2011: http://www.gallup.com/poll/147734/Americans-Split-Along-Pro-Choice-Pro-Life-Line...

Data point 1: In 2011, 24% of women and 19% of men believed that abortion should be "illegal in all circumstances." All circumstances is pretty far out there—it would, presumably, exclude the health of the mother.

When you add "Legal in only a few circumstances" the numbers are 60% and 61% respectively.

Data point 2: 49% of Americans describe themselves as "Pro-Choice" versus 45% "Pro-Life." Since 1995, the "Pro-Choice" has fallen 7%, "Pro-Life" risen 16%.

Data point 3: 51% of Americans think that abortion is "in general" "morally wrong." 39% think it is "morally acceptable." The "morally wrong" has grown 6% since 1995, the "morally acceptable" fallen 3%.

In sum, a majority of Americans are to some degree pro-choice, with solid support for abortion in some cases, but also solid support for laws against abortion in many cases, and broad suspicion of its morality. Numbers have shifted slowly away from the pro-choice position.

I don't think this data is compatible with what you believe—that Americans are finally waking up to the evils of pro-Life people. The opposite isn't happening either, but the overall direction is not favorable to the pro-choice side.

170StormRaven
Feb 2, 2012, 9:32am Top

If they hadn't done the abortion thing, I GUARANTEE you none of these people would be complaining about them for other reasons.

I've seen plenty of people complaining about them before the abortion thing - their propensity to try to run roughshod over other charities didn't earn them many friends.

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