Barack Obama’s view of women

Our new president has already come out strongly for killing babies and using our tax dollars to fund the killing. here is his statement in connection with his reversal of the Mexico City Policy:

On the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are reminded that this decision not only protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose.

While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue, no matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make. To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services.

On this anniversary, we must also recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights and opportunities as our sons: the chance to attain a world-class education; to have fulfilling careers in any industry; to be treated fairly and paid equally for their work; and to have no limits on their dreams. That is what I want for women everywhere.

emphasis added.

hat tip to Justin Taylor who helpfully points out that when Barack says sons and daughters, he only means those sons and daughters who successfully ran the perilous gauntlet of their own mother’s womb.

perhaps more interesting, because of its unexpectedness, is Justin’s update from a reader, Francis Beckwith who picked up on the chauvinism in Mr. Obama’s statement. check this out:

Apparently, the only way our daughters can be successful is if they are permitted to kill our grandchildren.

So, without surgery so that women can be like men, women are unequal to men. Thus, according to Obama, women are congenitally inferior unless they can have abortions.

I don’t even think the worst chauvinists in the world have implied anything so outrageous.

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49 Responses

  1. I do believe, given Obama’s attempt to generalize the nature of the subject on what he considers to be universal grounds of agreement (away from the issue of abortion), that Beckwith’s interpretation of him is a tad backhanded. Yet, if we retain something of Beckwith’s argument and restructure it, the most vital aspect of it can be improved, I believe.

    Obama is not necessarily saying that, without abortion, certain talented women would be burdened by an unecessary upward climb toward attaining life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In fact, he suggests that we must seek to “reduce the need for abortion,” assuming there is such a “need.” His concern, in the end, is to “expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services.” I take it that, without these, the consequences Mr. Beckwith noted would arise.

    In light of this and in the context of the subject of unwanted pregnancies which “preventative services” are good at eliminating, Obama is at least saying (in more general terms) that raising children is, in many cases, simply a hindrance to an otherwise ambitious woman with a bright future. Children are an overriding obstacle to her success. Once this attitude is made explicit, its logical emptiness and degraded nature are plain.

    All of it, in the end, is a red herring to evade the real issue. We know as they know that the matter is neither “private” nor an issue of “freedom.” It is a question of murder, to be executed for the crime of being inconvenient.

  2. …to be executed for the crime of being inconvenient. It really sounds like something out of Wonderland.

  3. Forcing girls and women through pregnancy and childbirth against their will is not the function of government. It’s not something good people anywhere should want to be part of.

    Sad to see so many people coming out against the preservation of life, health, and families, just because they love the idea of forced pregnancy and childbirth, regardless of the sixty thousand women their ideals kill each year.

  4. thanks for dropping by Benjamin. I think you are correct in your assessment.

    This whole thing definitely has a “through the looking glass” feel to it.

  5. jesurgislac, thank you for dropping by as well. Do you want to chat a bit? or are you a hit and run?

    What exactly is your thinking behind the locution “forced pregnancy and childbirth”? are you referring to a pregnancy from rape or incest? or are you talking about any woman who becomes pregnant for any reason?

    where do you get 60,000 from? is that the number of women who die during childbirth? where? worldwide or in the U.S.?

    Where in the world does the “ideal” of forced pregnancy and chilbirth kill 60000 women a year?

    you will forgive me for saying that your whole comment seems quite hyperbolic. It seems hollowly hyperbolic as well when juxtaposed against the almost 50 million babies who have been killed in utero since january 22, 1973 simply for the crime of being “inconvenient.”

    Did you see this post of mine on that anniversary a few days ago?

    did you see in that post this frank admission from Kim Flodin in Newsweek magazine ““I was pregnant, I carried two unborn children and I chose, for completely selfish reasons, to deny them life so that I could better my own” (My Turn).?

    Is that what you really want to defend by juxtaposing it against some ideal of “forced pregnancy and childbirth.” Really?

    I bet if you try, you can do better than that. The problem is that your team hasn’t had to try much in the last 36 years. Screaming vacuous slogans and quoting uncited statistics is not really much of an argument.

    Give it another go. We have time and a space for you to do it. Participate some in the “deliberative norms that facilitate persuasion” as Ed Whelan would say.

  6. What exactly is your thinking behind the locution “forced pregnancy and childbirth”?

    I mean that a woman who discovers she is pregnant, and who is then not allowed legally to decide whether or not she will have the baby, is being forced through pregnancy and childbirth by the state.

    Of course, since it is impossible to prevent illegal abortions except by literally imposing a police check of a fertile woman’s uterus on a monthly basis, and treating every miscarriage as a crime scene – which latter certainly used to happen in the US in the bad old days before 1973 – what actually happens, in countries where abortion is made illegal, is that women have illegal abortions. And die – illegal abortion is less risky than childbirth, but far more risky than legal abortion.

    . It seems hollowly hyperbolic as well when juxtaposed against the almost 50 million babies who have been killed in utero since january 22, 1973 simply for the crime of being “inconvenient.”

    It always seems kind of desperate when people who support forced pregnancy/childbirth refer to abortion as “killing babies”. A fetus is not a baby. (Further, at >13 weeks, when over 90% of abortions in the US are carried out, the fetus is not actually killed by abortion: the fetus is expelled or removed from the uterus. If the fetus were a baby, it would survive being expelled/removed from the uterus.)

    You can oppose abortion, because you feel women have no right to decide whether or not to invest nine months hard labor and use of bodily resources, in an effort that may kill them and will certainly change their bodies permanently, in order to produce a baby. But it fatally weakens the argument to claim that a fetus is a baby.

    Give it another go. We have time and a space for you to do it.

    Well, FWIW, I wrote out some time ago, at length, my reasons why being pro-choice is the only moral option – regardless of anyone’s personal feelings about abortion. As a matter of policy, the first time anyone comments on my blog it’s moderated, to keep away spambots, but thereafter, also as a matter of policy, all non-abusive comments are posted.

  7. jesurgislac, Don’t take this the wrong way, but you are showing two things very well with your attempts. number 1 you are showing that your team is way out of practice using the deliberative norms that facilitate persuasion. number 2 you are demonstrating the point where our respective teams miss each other and end up talking right past each other.

    let’s take number 2 first. You say that calling the product of the union between a human sperm and a human egg a baby “fatally weakens” my argument. what else would it be except a smaller less well developed human being? What are smaller, less well developed human beings, if they aren’t babies. If I were making your argument, I sure as heck wouldn’t want to call it a baby either. Very helpful to your cause to dehumanize “the other.”

    However, when, in your estimation does it become a “baby”? when does it become worthy of the protection of the government? are you with Peter Singer in saying that there is no difference between a baby in the womb just prior to birth and one just delivered; that in a just society either could be killed with impunity? Is that what you are saying? Are you saying that how the mother feels about the thing growing inside her can make the difference between “baby” and “fetus”?

    Do you see how it is very difficult to have a logical moral conversation when one side says that it is a “baby” and the other side says it is a potentially disposable “fetus”? That is the point where we talk right past each other. It is intriguing to me that someone with your obvious intelligence would take that position.

    Number 1 second. Your persuasive skills on the merits of your argument need some work.

    You say that a woman “discovers” she is pregnant. How did that happen? Most of the time, a woman discovers she is pregnant after sexual relations with a man. A woman can choose to not have sex in the first place or she can choose to use any one of several ways to avoid pregnancy. Then she wouldn’t “discover” she was pregnant.

    Then you compound that bit of obfuscation by pointing out that a law against abortion would “force” the woman to carry and deliver the child that was conceived because of the prior choice to engage in unprotected sex. Guess what? A law forces me to keep feeding my three teenagers even though they are costing me a lot for groceries and are about to cost me more for cars and college. If it weren’t for that stinking law keeping me from killing them, I could afford a nice new car and a bigger house (oops, I guess I wouldn’t need a bigger house then, would I).

    Come to think of it, there are a lot of laws on the books keeping me from living up to my full potential because when you get right down to it, it is all about me and what my little self wants right now that is the most important thing in the world. Laws keeping me from engaging every selfish impulse and desire that I have in that moment with impunity and without consequences need to all be done away with. Could you talk to the Supreme Court about extending those penumbras a bit more to encompass the things that I want them to cover?

    Anyway. Maybe you could work a bit on your persuasiveness to cover up the inherent selfishness. But I don’t think we get past the problem of talking past each other.

    I think that God will have to work on your heart a bit so that you can see that every time a sperm penetrates an ovum, a unique human is created and is deserving of the protection of a civilized society.

    Compare this fellow (nicholas provenzo)
    “After all, the choice to have a child is a profoundly selfish choice; that is, a choice that is an expression of the parent’s personal desire to create new life.”

    with this couple:

    See how they talk past each other. I think Nicholas has to have his heart worked on before he can ever understand where Elliot’s parents are coming from.

  8. You say that calling the product of the union between a human sperm and a human egg a baby “fatally weakens” my argument. what else would it be except a smaller less well developed human being?

    Well, at the beginning, it’s a sperm and an egg. Then, after sperm meets egg, what you have is a single cell termed a zygote. for the first five to seven days, the term is “blastula”. When the blastula attaches to the lining of the uterus, this is now called a “fetus”. You can continue to refer to the developing human embryo as a fetus from then on until birth: though I am certainly willing to accept the term “unborn baby” after 32 weeks development, since after 32 weeks, delivery of a healthy fetus results (usually) in a healthy if premature baby.

    I admit there’s a point in fetal development between 24 weeks and 32 weeks when the pregnant woman must discuss very carefully with her doctor – if the medical emergency permits – what her options are. Because those options could include attempting to deliver a fetus early and hoping that the fetus survives. But, the number of abortions that take place after 24 weeks is vanishingly small.

    The vast majority of abortions take place while the fetus is >13 weeks old, and most of the rest when the fetus is >18 weeks old. There are basic differences at any stage of development between a fetus and a baby (low levels of oxygen in the cerebral cortex) but a fetus at >24 weeks old is not, by any definition, a baby.

    So, we can talk about whether it’s acceptable to “kill fetuses”. Or you can argue that it’s the job of politicians and lawyers to make blanket decisions about medical emergencies – as any abortion after 24 weeks is by definition a medical emergency – rather than the pregnant woman and her doctor. But don’t engage in the kind of Orwellian wordplay of calling an >8w fetus a baby.

    However, when, in your estimation does it become a “baby”?

    A fetus becomes a baby when s/he is born. That’s the scientific change from fetus to baby.
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    when does it become worthy of the protection of the government?

    The only effective way for the government to protect fetuses is for the government to protect pregnant woman. And, given that in countries where abortion is illegal, illegal abortion is the leading cause of death to pregnant women, it follows that – paradoxical as it may seem – a government must ensure that protection for pregnant women includes not only free health care, nutritional support, paid maternity leave, etc – but also the right to decide to terminate the pregnancy.

    You say that a woman “discovers” she is pregnant. How did that happen?

    Usually, in a developed country, because she takes a home pregnancy test. Sometimes, because she skipped a period and then takes a home pregnancy test. Occasionally, when her doctor tells her. Horribly, especially with child victims of rape, sometimes not until the victim shows external signs of pregnancy. How do you suppose it happens?

    A law forces me to keep feeding my three teenagers even though they are costing me a lot for groceries and are about to cost me more for cars and college.

    Yes. But no law compels you, if two of them need a live kidney donation, to surrender both your kidneys to them and go on dialysis – or even for the two of them to toss a coin and decide which of them gets one of your kidneys. You get to choose. And that’s the difference. The law can’t and doesn’t require the use of a human being’s body against her will, not even when the government can make use of the whole or part of her body to save a life. You get to choose.

    Laws keeping me from engaging every selfish impulse and desire that I have in that moment with impunity and without consequences need to all be done away with.

    Yes. There are laws preventing you from engaging the selfish impulse to force women to have babies against their will. There are laws – supposing you needed a kidney transplant – from taking a live kidney from an unwilling victim. There are laws against rape. The law prevents the unwilling use of another person’s body, even to save a life.

    I think that God will have to work on your heart a bit so that you can see that every time a sperm penetrates an ovum, a unique human is created and is deserving of the protection of a civilized society.

    Thank you: and I wish for your God to work on your heart so that you can see that every unique human that exists is deserving of the protection of civilised society – and then you will cease to argue that women alone do not deserve that protection, but must have the right to choose whether to terminate or continue a pregnancy protected by society.

  9. you see how we talk right past each other? Until you see that there is a life worth protecting inside of a woman’s womb, then we can’t have a discussion. you say woman woman woman and I say baby baby baby and we miss each other.

    I never did hear where the “ideal of forced pregancy and childbirth” kills 60,000 a year.

    btw the law doesn’t allow me to kill my kids at 15 and 13 no matter how much they might be keeping me from living my dream. pesky thing that murder law. pesky thing indeed.

  10. Sadly, I agree. So long as you don’t consider women to be human lives worth protecting – if you have already in your mind dismissed pregnant women as mere incubators for fetuses – then we talk right past each other.

    When you think of women as human beings – when you realize that every pregnant woman is a life with human dignity and human worth – then you stop being able to argue that pregnant women ought not to be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not to continue/terminate their pregnancy.

    I never did hear where the “ideal of forced pregancy and childbirth” kills 60,000 a year.

    If your ideal is that a woman who conceives must be forced through pregnancy and childbirth against her will, then you either must envisage a police state in which women are subject to 4-weekly vaginal checks by the police to confirm if they are pregnant, and thereafter have any miscarriage treated as a crime scene and the woman interrogated as a murder suspect – is that what you want? – or else, which is what happens in the real world, a woman who conceives, who doesn’t want to have a baby, and who isn’t allowed to have a safe legal abortion because her government has decided it’s best to force her against her will to produce a baby, will go get an illegal, and therefore less safe, abortion.

    Which, in the real world, under real governments who enforce “pro-life” policies in their countries, ensures the deaths of sixty thousand women each year.

    btw the law doesn’t allow me to kill my kids at 15 and 13 no matter how much they might be keeping me from living my dream.

    Nor does the law allow your kids to requisition your kidneys, no matter that they will die of renal failure if you don’t provide each of them with one of yours. Nor does the law allow you to draw a pint of blood from your kids every eight weeks, no matter that it’ll do them no harm and you need it for regular transfusions. The law does not allow other people to make use of a person’s body against her will. T

  11. I still haven’t seen a source for the 60K except your say so.

    I have to correct your calumny. The idea that you have that caring for the welfare of women requires that they be allowed to exterminate their offspring is just a red herring. And not a very good one.

    I agree that pro-lifers can definitely do more to demonstrate their compassion for women in situations beyond their control, but that is not the same thing as saying that the welfare of women requires abortion on demand.

    Your idea that a police state follows if abortion is illegal is just silly. Abortion stops a beating heart. But the law doesn’t have to make it murder. It could be some form of voluntary manslaughter. The law makes distinctions in criminality every day based on state of mind and circumstances.

    Every criminal statute (except a very few strict liability crimes) we have on the books currently has a mens rea (http://www.answers.com/topic/mens-rea) requirement. Every single criminal case looks at the circumstances under which the crime was committed. Sometimes these circumstances and the evidence of mens rea is sufficient to increase the level of the offense and sometimes it lessens the offense level.

    The idea of forced vaginal checks in the U.S. of America is unthinkable absent some intervening public events about which we are currently unaware. Why would we have to go all the way to an Orwellian state on this, when at the same time we have a voluntary tax code? That is just a silly claim to make.

    And until you come up with a cite for your 60K then you really don’t have even this leg of an argument to stand on. In other words you are presenting a false dichotomy.

    Like I said to begin with, using uncited statistics and loud slogans is not a substitute for argument.

    and here we go again at the level of the disconnect on assumptions.

    When I hear you (and others like you) saying that making abortion illegal is using someone’s body against their will, it makes me kind of crazy. That argument only works if what is growing inside the mom is subhuman and not worthy of the constitutional right not to be deprived of its life without due process. Dehumanization of “the other” is why some muslims brainwash their children into believing that Jews are apes and pigs. It makes it easier to kill them without remorse.

    That is why you have to call it a zygote, then blastula, then fetus. By all means don’t call he or she a baby until he or she has safely exited the danger zone of the mother’s womb.

    Whatever else he or she may be, they are a human zygote, a human blastula and a human fetus. A unique combination of dna that has never been before and will never be again. Being a believer in God, I would add that this unique combination of dna is a being created in that God’s image and for that God’s special purpose.

    You also never answered me about Peter Singer. Are you with him in favor of infanticide? why not? Why get squeamish about offing them after they come out? Why is that the point of demarcation?

    Do you agree that this punishment was appropriate for the crime described?

    “On January 12, 2009 Samantha Heiges, age 23, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for drowning her newborn in Burnsville, Minnesota. If she had arranged for a doctor to kill the child a few weeks earlier she would be a free woman.”

  12. I still haven’t seen a source for the 60K except your say so.

    Sorry, I thought I’d posted a link already:

    • Worldwide, an estimated five million women are hospitalized each year for treatment of abortion-related complications, such as hemorrhage and sepsis.

    • Complications due to unsafe abortion procedures account for an estimated 13% of maternal deaths worldwide, or 67,000 per year.

    • Almost all abortion-related deaths occur in developing countries. They are highest in Africa, where there were an estimated 650 deaths per 100,000 unsafe abortions in 2003, compared with 10 per 100,000 in developed regions.

    • Approximately 220,000 children worldwide lose their mothers every year from abortion-related deaths.

    Why get squeamish about offing them after they come out? Why is that the point of demarcation?

    Because the issue for me is the basic human right to decide what will be done – or not done – to your own body: what you will or will not do with your own organs. How is this not clear to you?

    A woman has a right to decide to terminate her pregnancy at any point. After the first trimester, she should have to get a doctor’s medical advice: between 24 and 32 weeks the decision should be made as a matter of medical necessity: after 32 weeks, termination will be induced labor or a Caeserian. But at every point, because this is her body, it’s her decision.

    Once the baby is born, the baby is an individual, not within or dependent on the uterus any more.

    When I hear you (and others like you) saying that making abortion illegal is using someone’s body against their will, it makes me kind of crazy.

    I’m sorry to hear it makes you crazy. It’s true, and I can’t unsay it: I’m sorry the truth makes you crazy.

    That argument only works if what is growing inside the mom is subhuman and not worthy of the constitutional right not to be deprived of its life without due process

    Not at all. Supposing your brother has acute liver failure. You could give up half of your liver. Do you think that because the law gives you the right to choose – to decide for yourself, by yourself, no one allowed to make the decision on your behalf – that the law has ruled your brother is “subhuman and not worthy of the constitutional right not to be deprived of its life without due process”? I don’t think so. Your imaginary brother in this fictional example is human and has all his constitutional rights – but that doesn’t include any right to take or make use of one of your organs unless you choose to donate it.

    The argument that women can’t be allowed to decide to make use of their uterus to make a baby from a fertilised egg, is an argument that pregnant women are subhuman and not worthy of the constitutional right not to be deprived of their life or their freedom without due process.

    Being a believer in God, I would add that this unique combination of dna is a being created in that God’s image and for that God’s special purpose.

    Then as a believer in God, I think you should have more confidence that if God has a special purpose for this unique combination of DNA, God will ensure that special purpose is not frustrated by a woman using contraception – or having an abortion. If you make this a matter of religion, you must be aware that it is explicitly everyone’s constitutional right to hold to their own religion, and not have other religious beliefs imposed on them by the state.

  13. I’m sorry, Keith. I read some of the comments on this person’s blog, and from what I can tell, she has her mind made up and won’t accept any other viewpoints. I hope she’ll come to understand that an unborn human has just as much value as a grown woman.

  14. One thing that jesurgislac’s statistics do not tell us is how many of those 60,000+ women die from attempting to abort children that are late-term (or, more precisely, after 24 weeks, according to her somewhat arbitrary chronological divisions), especially for reasons other than life-threatening ones. I am assuming that it is not usually the case that a woman who tries to dangerously perform her own abortion has been notified by a doctor that she will die otherwise. Without further information, I would hazzard a guess that it is reasonable to assume a sizeable number of these abortions are late pregnancies. Even if only 1% of self-performed abortions are late-term, that would still be equivalent to 670 cases.

    Let us remember that, according to jesurgislac, it is morally wrong for these women to be engaged in this practice. In that case, if it is true that there are a number of women who die trying to abort late term pregnancies–indeed, even if only 670 do–then the argument she has used turns to bite her in regard to her now supposedly callous disregard for these women. By her own reasoning, she obviously “doesn’t care” that to prevent virtually all abortions after reaching such a late stage would somehow “force” these women to have unsafe abortions and cause their deaths. Of course, this sort of jackboot appeal or politically motivated rhetoric is dubious in the extreme.

    The matter is not and never has been about the death of these women who tragically and wastefully chose of their own to endanger themselves while fervently seeking the death of the wonderful life inside them. It is not, in fact, and never has been about the humanity of the child. That matter has never been in any serious doubt, even among ardent abortion advocates. What is more, the young women that have been conversed with on this matter are well aware that they are aborting a child, as (in just one example) the research of the pro-choice November group has made clear.

    Even their parents or partners that believe a child is being put to death have consoled themselves with one excuse or another… while writing fond farewell cards to the children they are sending “to a better place.” These are the majority, not the minority.

    The issue, in a very important sense, boils down to the ultimate moral purpose behind executing a child for the crime of being inconvenient or distasteful which is clearly the pursuit of rather shallowly selfish ambitions (weak yearnings for simple pleasure or convenience, baseless fears, loathing, prestige or a sense of personal entitlement and power). These are in turn driven by a supposition that a person has some intrinsic moral “right” (or, as I said above, some entitlement) to make themselves the object of their every pursuit in life… which is, in the end, entirely self-contradictory. It is no wonder it ends one way or another in death.

    Of course, if the matter is discussed merely on the level of legality, then the issue is settled already. The laws are already in place. But no one is really talking about what happens to be but, rather, about what ought to be. That is a consideration of ethics.

    In that case, as entirely wretched a fact as it is that so many women endanger themselves and too often die from their attempt to kill another person, it is absurd to argue that pro-life advocates “do not care” about these women. Instead, knowing as we do that the morally and spiritually destitute choice of abortion destroys a woman more thoroughly than her choice to endanger herself physically could ever have done, it is rather the exploitative pro-choice philosophy that cares so little about these women. They are useful to promote the generally selfish philosophy which encouraged these women to seek unsafe abortions in the first place.

    The efforts of pro-life advocates to try to limit the number of women who believe so strongly that they somehow “need” to have an abortion, by a selfish reckoning, isn’t to be compared with the debased and empty pro-choice rhetoric about limiting the number of abortions, which are no one’s moral “right” to carry out in the first place. If a woman chooses to endanger herself, we can and should do what we can to dissuade her of this and to give her support and resolve her fears or reason with her regarding her selfish ambitions. Some, of course, will urgently insist upon placing themselves in danger so that they can, detestably, seek with fervor to end another life. The child, on the other hand, has hardly chosen to be an inconvenience or distasteful to his or her mother.

    The usual utilitarian rhetoric turns out to be morally bankrupt precisely because it is logically unsound. Even Singer has admitted in his work that his ethical ruminations are founded upon a subjective basis. What does this leave us with but a self-refuting and egotistical philosophy that destroys women morally and spiritually while encouraging them to kill for their own selfish reasons, opposing GOD and all reason, as they are used by others to further a much larger and truly despicable agenda.

    This whole issue is tied into so many others–such as questions of moral liberty, sexual freedom, environmentalism, economic concerns, cherished notions of privilege, etc.–all of which are driven by a self-worship that Scripture has always defined as the impetus of our evil, so that in the end I doubt the political question will ever be resolved in favor of anything rational again.

    I do understand why many Christians still work to put laws into affect to limit abortion as much as possible lest those most detestable “partial-birth” abortions were deemed “justifiable” and, therefore, “reasonable” yet again by the madmen and madwomen of influence. Yet, at the same time, we must remember that these laws are not for sincere followers of Christ who already detest the murder of these children. These laws, if we seek their establishment, will be entirely for the sake of limiting the depraved activities of the lost. They aren’t for us for we already answer a higher law…

    Is it then our purpose to legislate the morality of Scripture among those who cannot keep it? Can we even do this successufully? Is this our mission? I do not think so and I have a number of thoughtful reasons why I believe we should not. It is the Gospel alone that will really change anything in a lasting fashion. Political change is tenuous at best and not a serious answer to the problems of the world. More importantly, it is not consistently a Biblical way of resisting evil and cannot be carried through to its logical conclusion.

    But, apart from the practical political concerns, there is no question about the morally perverse nature of abortion.

  15. melody, I agree. That is what I was talking to Julie about yesterday.

    God saves sinners. God intervenes to change hearts from stone to flesh. Paul on the road to Damascus and hopefully soon jesurglisac when he or she least expects it.

  16. Thanks Benjamin. I agree with you. Hearts must be changed by God one at a time in order for real change to occur. Fighting about laws is a distraction from fighting on behalf of the gospel.

    Here is a post about that very thing that I wrote back in August.

    here is a portion of what I said:

    The only issue I have with what you wrote is making sure that the main thing stays the main thing. The older I get and the more I see, the more I am convinced that our enemy’s best tool is distraction. He distracts christians with busyness with “the good” in order to keep us from being effective at “the best”. “taking back America” is not the main thing.

    Saving unborn children is a wonderful thing. What is the best way to do that? Getting a fifth judge on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade? That won’t stop abortion. That will just move the fight to state legislatures. If we then succeed in getting laws restricting abortion passed in 35 or so states, then you are correct that the number of abortions will decrease. That is a very good thing. But would that time and effort have been better spent working with our kids to teach them that God’s way of sexuality is different than the world’s and that God’s way is for their good and for their benefit?

    Paul said that since we know what it is to fear God we persuade others. 2 Cor. 5:11. He then begins his discussion of our being new creatures in Christ reconciled to God through Christ. We have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation. We are His ambassadors in this world with His message on our lips. 2 Cor. 5:17-21. Paul wasn’t trying to persuade the Roman government to outlaw baby girl abandonment. As worthy and important a goal as that would have been, the goal of Paul’s persuasion effort was much more fundamental and important. “We implore you through Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:20.

    My point is that we live in a wonderful country with a wonderful opportunity to have an influence on the laws by which we are governed. I agree with you that we should use that opportunity to push for laws that can teach the culture what morality is. However, we must constantly be on guard against the temptation to spend our resources of time, talent, and treasure on the good to the exclusion of the best.

    The best and highest task we have is to be ambassadors for Christ entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation.

  17. jesurgislac,

    here is why the kidney thing doesn’t work. the human zygote that begins living, growing, developing at the moment of conception is a unique human being. he or she resides separately from their mother while inside the womb. Mom provides shelter for the very small being, food for the very small being, and oxygen for the very small human.

    Moreover, a woman is designed/evolved (depending on your point of view) for just this very thing and women have been doing it very successfully for thousands of years.

    Taking someone’s kidney against their will is a permanent disfiguring (in a medical sense) thing. While, my wife is not precisely the same after carrying three children, her health is not adversely affected. In fact, I think that pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding have been shown in some studies to decrease a woman’s chances for certain kinds of cancers and diseases in later life.

    I was relieved when I saw your statistics because they were what I thought you were talking about. As Benjamin says above, the statistics have their own problems for your argument.

    More fundamentally, these numbers don’t show deaths that result from an “ideal of forced pregnancy and childbirth” except indirectly. In other words, I thought you were going to show childbirth to be that dangerous and I was worried for a brief moment that you might have a small point to make besides simple selfishness. Instead your statistics only reinforce that selfishness can be dangerous to both the mother as well as the child.

    The fact that the human child inside his or her mother is a separate being depending on his or her mom for everything is why I kept coming back to my teenager analogy.

    Contrary to your assertion, the law does require me to provide a minimum level of care and sustenance for my teenagers. They are slightly larger, slightly less dependent, but they live in my house and they depend on me for food, shelter, clothes, routine doctor visits, care when they are sick, help with their homework etc. If I neglect these needs of theirs, then I am at risk of a visit by child protective services and the possibility that my kids get yanked away from me. Moreover, if I neglect them then I can be criminally prosecuted for neglect.

    Because the law recognizes that they are separate human beings with a right to a certain level of care by the persons who brought them into the world.

    All I am saying is that once a woman “discovers” she is pregnant, after choosing to have sex, then she should assume the responsibility (along with the man who impregated her) for caring for the new human being.

    Yes, that means that the first nine months of care are inside of the woman’s womb, but that is just a location not an imposition. It is a natural beautiful thing, not an ugly requirement that somehow demeans a woman.

    The fact that you think pregnancy and childbirth is the equivalent of forcing someone to give up an organ or blood shows how warped your thinking is in this area.

    Check out this fetus talking about her experience from her point of view. Funny how a fetus became a baby.

  18. […] sex |   I don’t how many of you have noticed the discussion that has been going on in comments to this post, but I encourage everyone to take some time and go check it […]

  19. After reviewing Obama’s original statements once again, I must say that I am glad he is convinced that we ought, especially in this context, to allow women to have the same rights and opportunities as men. What might such a state of affairs envision?

    At the very least, men would be allowed an equal voice in a decision that, by law, they have been for too long cut off from. Where previously they were shut out of the whole process, many of these men who have desired to keep the child would be able to veto the selfishness of one woman. Certainly a child is as much a part of the man’s body as it is the woman’s… or is there a need for more basic health education classes on this subject?

    Second, if a woman has the same opportunities as a man in this regard, she will–like so many men before her–be equally open to prosecution for harming what is inside her womb. There have been public cases in which a woman enlists the aid of a rather ignorant dupe to help her have an unsafe abortion. The madness then ensues wherein she is regarded as guiltless before the law for the very same act which puts the young man behind bars for a large part of his life. It is excellent to realize that women will now be treated equally before the law and have the same opportunities as men for prison terms for identical crimes.

    Obama does seem to be pressing for a more centrist leaning vision of proper governance and it is excellent news that after all the work women have put it for equal pay for equal work, they will now be granted equal punishment for equal crimes.

  20. Certainly a child is as much a part of the man’s body as it is the woman’s… or is there a need for more basic health education classes on this subject?

    Evidently, if you’re under the impression that men can get pregnant.

    Men have identical rights to decide about abortion as women do. Any man who gets pregnant has the same right a woman does to decide to terminate his pregnancy.

  21. A child develops from the genetic information of both father and mother. It does not share, in any qualitatively ontological sense, of the body of the mother more than the father, even though the child is housed and nourished by the mother. That is to say, this process of being nourished and sheltered by the mother is not an intrinsic part of the essence of its being. It is a human child and remains a human child quite apart from this fact and, even if the child were to die were he or she removed from this most natural environment, that bears no more relation to the child’s essential definition as a human being than our natural environment does to who we are. Our identities are not to be confused with what nourishes us nor with what shelters us, even if we would die without these needs fulfilled.

    Everything that makes a child what he or she is, physiologically, is already present in his or her genes from conception, not in the interaction with a mother’s body. The mother’s body is a needed and, hopefully, a welcome relationship of security to the life of the child, but the mother and her body remain separate from the actual essence of the child’s humanity.

    Simply because you have imbibed, perhaps less thoughtfully, the usual pro-choice rhetoric about being a “part of the woman’s body” has no bearing on a serious consideration of the nature of this question. To be quite blunt, I really do not believe you are so confused on this point.

  22. It does not share, in any qualitatively ontological sense, of the body of the mother more than the father

    Well, no, of course a fetus is, ontologically, more of the body of the mother than of the father. If a fetus is removed from the body of the mother before the fetus is able to exist independently (ie: anytime in the first 22 weeks of development for sure (and, decreasingly so, for the next 10 weeks of fetal development – but >22w is the period during which 99% of abortions take place) the fetus dies: it ceases to be. Once the father has contributed half the chromosomes via sperm, however, the father’s presence or absence does not affect the development of the fetus in any qualitative way.

    Genetically, too, the development of the fetus is affected by maternal RNA, and not at all by paternal RNA.

    Simply because you have imbibed, perhaps less thoughtfully, the usual pro-choice rhetoric about being a “part of the woman’s body” has no bearing on a serious consideration of the nature of this question.

    No, you mistake my argument. I am not saying that a fetus is part of a woman’s body: I am saying that a woman’s uterus is part of her body. A woman is, therefore, entitled to decide whether to donate the use of her uterus for nine months to produce a baby from a fertilized egg – as she is entitled to decide whether to donate a pint of her blood. In both instances, it is her body, and her choice.

  23. Once again, please examine carefully what is actually being argued here. No one doubts that the mother’s body harbors the developing child and is necessary to its viability, its life, until it reaches a certain stage of independence. This is well established and agreed upon by all.

    What you have missed, however, is that this has no bearing whatsoever on the basic essence or identity of the child. We are discussing the necessary aspects of identity, not the development of that identity. A discussion of the “basic essence” revolves around precisely what properties must be included when defining a thing for what it is essentially, not temporarily or accidentally. If there is something you would, for instance, argue is part of the “essence” of a child’s being and, upon examination, it appears that the aspect you’ve insisted should be included could actually be replaced without the child itself ceasing to exist, then it is certain that you have failed to identify something basic to the child’s identity as a human being.

    A few illustrations are needed here because you continue to insist on confusing the matter between identity and subsistence. It is of course true that without a supply of air, human beings would soon perish. However, at the same time, we would be in error to assume that the air needed is somehow part of who we are as individual human beings. I can, in other words, be without such air and yet still remain essentially myself. I may struggle to survive the experience for long, but it will still be me who is struggling. I could lose an arm or a leg or be granted no meals for an entire week or no sleep, and I would still remain myself precisely because these things are accidental or transient properties and are not essential aspects of my permanent identity.

    We all have, as much as any developing embryo does, a set of needs and an environment essential to our survival. Take any one of us away from that environment (place us outside the atmosphere of our planet, for instance) and we are as helpless to survive as any “fetus” in its early stages outside the womb. Nevertheless, we remain who we are and though the needs we have may be basic to who we are, their fulfillment and the objects which meet our requirements are not to be confused with our basic personhood. I am not the banana I am about to eat, even if it will, as soon as I eat it, temporarily nourish my body.

    Phisiologically, there are many things a child needs to grow and develop but what makes any child a distinct individual human being, phisiologically speaking, is his or her genetic information. After this, by a process of mitosis, the child reaches the embryonic stage (passing from motula to blastocyst) and there is nothing beyond the genetic information that proves fundamental to the identity of the child. There are, without any doubt, various things which a mother provides which are needful for the continued development of the child. If, however, we replace a mother’s womb with successful laboratory conditions (as has been done in the past), the developing child does not immediately go out of existence. Whatever can be replaced was not “essential” in this sense.

    As for your insistence that I have misunderstood your argument, I encourage you to read the original context of my statements. They were not addressed to you. They were aimed, somewhat sardonically, at the disingenuous remarks Obama made about equality and they were intended to clarify the purely selective nature of the equality he and others are aiming at. If you come into such a discussion and insist that I am wrong about the genetic contributions of a man to the development of a child and that this wasn’t the point of your arguments anyway, you must be willing for me to remind you that not every conversation here is revolving around your arguments and that you have not even understood the issue in the first place.

    Pointing out that men and women contribute different things, genetically, to the identity of a child is hardly helpful when addressing the matter of their relative importance or amount. And insisting — quite apart from any real argument — that a woman is “entitled” (there’s that word again) to decide what to do with her womb no matter who it will kill is either merely a statement of legal precedent, which is not strictly an ethical discussion, or it is an empty opinion or a complete confusion of the ethical issues involved.

    Frankly, if you are so keen to fight for the rights of women to do whatever they wish to their own bodies and anything inside them, I do not understand why you view the attempts of certain women to endanger themselves and injure their bodies through unsafe abortive procedures to be a tragedy. Following the rationale of your protests, we should appreciate the self-expression involved in those moments and paint over them with every positive adjective we imagine will brighten the support for our cause. Death arises in either case, whether the death of the woman or her child… Thankfully however, regarding this point, your logic is woefully inconsistent and you do not see this as a success for women’s rights. You see it for the hateful tragedy that it is, even though it arises from a woman’s choice… but that is one reason why many of us reject your initial premise celebrating whatever a woman wants to do with her body.

    Finally, it is equally confused to state (as you did earlier in this thread) that no one, legally, is required to heed the declarations of GOD. Indeed, no one was required in the early 20th century to bother about women’s political opinions, but that I imagine just about everyone today would agree is disturbingly beside the point in a discussion about the ethical status of such indifference. Whether you are legally required to listen to sane and rational discussions about what is morally wretched and what is praiseworthy is far less important than whether you can ignore them and remain sincerely good and rational.

    The answer to that is obvious.

  24. Most people, like jesurgislac, would not accept the position that abortion should be freely allowed up to the point of a complete and natural exit from the womb. The grotesque nature of partial-birth abortions are not lost upon them. Yet, given their reasons for insisting upon abortion as an option open to all women before the 20th week of pregnancy, I do not see the logical coherence of their conclusions which shift beyond that date.

    It is often argued from that side of the debate that we must be concerned about the woman’s rights over her own womb. Now, I imagine that what is truly the concern is either a desire for a virtually unchecked liberty or a faulty slippery slope suspicion that to deny a woman this choice will lead to something dreadful. Whether that is really true, it almost always turns into something completely confused by the end of any discussion.

    If a woman, for instance, should no longer have the option to abort a child after the 20th week, what has suddenly happened to her right to be free of any physical obligations to her baby? The argument, I imagine, would be that instead of an abortion, she would simply be required to give birth to the infant and leave him (or her) to the care of doctors, wiping her hands of the matter after that.

    Of course, the old bromide would be readily strutted back onto center stage in the form of an argument that a woman’s womb is her own property, therefore, no woman should be required to use her body to ensure the healthy birth of any child, especially while the baby is using her body for his (or her) own sake throughout the process. So long as the baby insists on nourishing herself through the mother, a woman has a right to end that baby’s life. She shouldn’t be “forced” to give birth to the child at any time.

    The final position of those, like jesurgislac, seems to rest upon a rather arbitrary basis given the initial premise they insist upon. By the logic of their insistence upon a woman’s completely private sovereignty over her womb, there is no solid reason she should lose this sovereignty at the 20th week of pregnancy.

    What this reveals, in part, is the utter baselessness of the conditions and distinctions which jesurgislac and others attempt to use for fundamental ethical prescriptions. They have, in the end, missed the heart of the matter altogether. This question can never be resolved by artificial developmental boundaries that, upon closer examination, always turn out to be far less precise than one might have hoped and certainly empty as rational conditions for ethical justification of our actions.

    The issue was and remains whether abortion is a depraved choice, period. Trying to label it as depraved after the 20th week (or after any other arbitrarily assigned stage of importance) appears as hollow as ever.

  25. What you have missed, however, is that this has no bearing whatsoever on the basic essence or identity of the child.

    And you can show this …how?

    I’m unaware of any scientific research that has proved that who hosts the embryo has no effect on the “essence or identity” of the child. If you’re thinking of some such, please cite the research.

    And insisting — quite apart from any real argument — that a woman is “entitled” (there’s that word again) to decide what to do with her womb no matter who it will kill

    No: my argument is that each human is entitled to decide what to do with the organs of their body, regardless of whether withholding an organ will kill someone.

    This is a real argument, and it is indeed a real ethical position.

    Some countries – China, for example – disagree, and make use of the organs of condemned criminals without getting their consent: some countries rule that anyone who dies accidentally who has usable organs may have those organs harvested and used to save lives: and some countries rule that one specific organ only, the uterus, may be made use of against the will of the human whose organ it is.

    My belief – that everyone has an unalienable right to decide how and when and if to use their organs to save a life – may not be one you share, but it is far from an uncommon ethical position.

    I do not understand why you view the attempts of certain women to endanger themselves and injure their bodies through unsafe abortive procedures to be a tragedy.

    I absolutely do consider this to be a tragedy: this is exactly why I believe all women must have free, and freely available, access to safe, legal abortion. It is horrific that in the 21st century, when any woman in the world should be able to safely terminate a pregnancy she does not wish to complete, so many women are forced to make use of unsafe illegal abortion methods.

  26. It is thoroughly reprehensible and diminishing to serious discussion when you use lying rhetoric such as “so many women are forced to make use of unsafe illegal abortion methods.” No, they are not. No one requires them to do this. No one demands that they do this. No one puts a gun to their heads or threatens them with incarceration if they do not do this. It is a verbal charade, in complete resistance of all normal linguistic usage, to insist that these women are in any sense truly “forced” to make use of illegal abortion methods. The only sense of “forced” you could possibly contrive is a pragmatic one in which a person who desires to achieve a certain goal is “forced” (in a logical sense) to implement the means to reach it.

    But you attempt to get a lot of deceitful mileage out of your rhetoric. The point is about as senseless and irresponsible as arguing that criminals (because of illegal handgun laws) are “forced” to purchase their weapon of choice on the black market.

    Turning to your initial statement…

    I’m unaware of any scientific research that has proved that who hosts the embryo has no effect on the “essence or identity” of the child.

    That is because I never argued that the mother’s relationship to a developing child “has no effect” on the identity of that child. I argued that the development of a human being cannot be confused with what makes up the “humanness” of every human being. I gave a number of examples clarifying the confusion you have shown between the sustenance of an individual and the identity of that individual. I mentioned the successful development during the IVF procedure, however long it may be, of a child in a laboratory without the benefaction of a mother’s womb. A new “silicon womb” device was invented last year which makes the process a little more incremental. In either case, the child was not less “human” because he or she did not initially develop in the usual, natural environment precisely because that environment was not part of what made her “human.”

    That child’s needs were met in a different fashion precisely because the mother’s womb could be replaced as it was not essential to the “humanity” of the child herself. We — our “humanness” or the essence of our being “human” — are not to be confused with the forms of sustenance we require. A human being is not identical to what he or she eats. You seem to remain blind to the simple fact that our own relationship, as adults, to our environment is very similar to that of the fetus in the womb in the sense that we are extremely dependent upon certain environmental factors to continue in life from moment to moment. However, we are not identical to all those factors. We are distinct from them even as we need them.

    Concerning your second assertion, in which you equate the atrocious abuses in China — wherein people are killed so that their organs may be harvested — with the process of pregnancy, this doesn’t even approach the simplest requirements of a valid analogy.

    Logicians describe an adequate analogy as one which carries the following property:

    The greater the number of properties related to the conclusion the two examples compared have in common AND the fewer the number of properties related to the conclusion in which the two examples differ, the more likely the conclusion.

    Is pregnancy, even an unwanted pregnancy, really analogous to having one’s organs taken by a third party to be donated to a stranger? The only property related to the conclusion that is similar between the two events that I can find in your analogy is that in each case a person’s organs are used by another against the person’s wishes.

    The differences? They are legion. To begin, the child making use of his mother’s organs is her own. She is partly responsible for the child’s existence and it is ethically her responsibility to care for her son or daughter. That is not at all a situation shared with the callous comparison you strike. Second, the mother does not lose the use of her organs nor are they damaged or given to another. Third, in most cases of abortion (which do not occur because of rape), no argument can be made that a child was “forced” onto a woman, certainly not by the government. Fourth, pregnancy is not the result of being treated as a criminal. Fifth, a child in a mother’s womb has not sought out despicable means to pay to harvest her as though she were a side of beef at a meat market. Pregnancy is a relationship and, contrary to what you or certain women imagine, it is a beautiful one… this list could go on.

    Analogies like the one you chose are not meant to strike an honest balance in a serious attempt to understand this issue. They are meant merely to drag down the opposite side into a denigrating light to score cheap points. Pregnancy is not a prison sentence, it is not a punishment, it is not scarring and ugly or evil. What is evil is a mother who wants to kill a baby who had nothing to do with bringing about the relationship and yet, in the end, the baby is the one who loses.

    Your belief in “unalienable” rights (which are, by definition, a necessary property of “humanness” and therefore cannot be “alienated” from who we are) is pure fiction. You treat human beings as though they are biological entities alone and yet you hypocritically presume that they bear some abstraction called “rights” naturally? Perhaps it is my turn to ask you to “cite the research” or the argument. Otherwise, your beliefs have no bearing on the real ethical nature of abortion.

    In the end, you’ve skated over a number of the arguments placed before you. How do you define the moral limitation of abortion at approximately 20 weeks and yet not fall under the same condemnation as you attempt to thrust upon us regarding women who kill themselves every year attempting to eliminate a fetus (some of whom are later in term than 20 weeks)? Even assuming your guess is correct that 99% of illegal abortions occur before the 20th week, I already conservatively estimated the same from the data you provided. That would leave us with 670 women (out of 67,000) who die every year attempting to end pregnancies that have progressed beyond the 20th week. Is your position guilty of “forcing” these women to their deaths every year?

    Second, if you are so insistent that a woman may do whatever she likes with her body, no matter what the consequences, then why do you argue that it is a horrific tragedy that so many of them choose to endanger themselves and even die to eradicate the children within them? You speak in terms of being “forced” when, by your own rhetoric elsewhere, we should be referring to this as a grand example of their exercising their sovereign choice over their own bodies.

    When a child dies, you respond, “It was good. That was the woman’s right.” When it is the woman who dies, you respond, “This is horrible. She was ‘forced’ to mishandle her own body” and you refuse to celebrate her choice to do this to herself.

    Now, possibly I have misunderstood and you are not after all a rank hypocrite playing games with your words. If so, then I would certainly like to be corrected.

  27. when you use lying rhetoric such as “so many women are forced to make use of unsafe illegal abortion methods.” No, they are not.

    Well, yes, they are. If a woman needs to terminate her pregnancy, and the government of the country in which she lives has made all the safe methods of abortion either illegal or unobtainable, then she has no choice but an unsafe illegal abortion.

    She may of course end up being forced through pregnancy and childbirth against her will, but this would not be her choice.

    To begin, the child making use of his mother’s organs is her own. She is partly responsible for the child’s existence

    Partly right. A woman who decided to have a baby will be wholly responsible for the child’s existence when she chooses to continue the pregnancy and give birth to the child. If she lives in a country where she is not allowed to choose to continue the pregnancy, but can legally forced under threat of prison sentence if she obtains an abortion, then she is not being allowed to be responsible: she is being treated as an object or a slave, whose function is not to choose and be responsible, but to produce babies against her will.

    and it is ethically her responsibility to care for her son or daughter.

    Certainly. When she has a son or a daughter, that is her ethical responsibility. That includes, of course, the ethical responsibility of terminating an unwanted/unplanned pregnancy that may prevent her from caring for the sons/daughters she already has.

    I’ll skip over the rest because I don’t doubt you won’t pay attention. 😉

    then why do you argue that it is a horrific tragedy that so many of them choose to endanger themselves and even die to eradicate the children within them?

    Because it is a horrific tragedy that, when safe methods of abortion are available, women are compelled by the laws of their country to use unsafe methods. Statistically, of course, even unsafe methods of abortion are more safe than carrying a pregnancy to term and giving birth.

    When a child dies, you respond, “It was good. That was the woman’s right.”

    I’ve never said this, and I never will. It is the wordplay of pro-lifers who pretend that a fetus is a child or a baby, and who pretend that people who are pro-choice are pro-abortion.

  28. I have listened to your arguments and I have watched you avoid a good deal of what I have said while you play about with words to your own benefit. You speak of “need” and “entitled” and “forced” and “allow” and “pro-abortion” and “responsible” and “safe” and “slave” in very slippery ways, a form of unsubstantiated rhetoric that not only begs the question continually, but strains even the most minimal standards of veracity.

    You claim not to be “pro-abortion” because you would perhaps not choose abortion for yourself or would counsel some women (who have passed beyond an arbitrarily chosen line of division) to consider other alternatives. Nevertheless, you are “pro” abortion for anyone who wishes to make use of it. A pro-abortion stance does not and has never meant solely that the advocate is in favor of abortion in their own regard and you might have known this better if you had bothered to actually understand those who use this term.

    I disagree, on ethical grounds, that any woman “needs” an abortion in a strict sense, and very few require one even in terms of life-threatening circumstances. I have always sympathized to some degree with those who felt that abortion should be made available to women who suffer dire, life-threatening circumstances, even though I have known women who have faced these circumstances, bore their children all the same, and every one of them has lived well to tell of it with healthy babies that they adored. I can, at least, understand how the concerns over a truly life-threatening pregnancy can create confusing ethical questions.

    Yet, the vast majority of women who kill their unborn children (and it is hardly “wordplay” to use language in its normal sense) do not choose this path to escape a serious threat to life posed by a child. Research by the Alan Guttmacher Institute (which is pro-choice) regarding practices in the U.S., published on the “National Sexuality Resource Center” website (again, pro-choice), reveals that 75% of women who have an abortion did so because they imagined that having a child “would interfere with work, school or other responsibilities.” Roughly 66% asserted, in spite of all the assistance available to anyone who has such financial trouble, that “they cannot afford a child.” Finally, half of those who have an abortion said that “they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.”

    Indeed, only 1 percent of all abortions occur following — not necessarily because of — rape or incest (13,000 out of 1.3 million) and these dwarf the number of abortions chosen from a real emergency that exists because of pregnancy. Even these statistics are misleading because they do not include the enormous (and increasing) numbers of post-conception contraceptive use, often referred to as abortifacients.

    But where in all of this do we find any reason why — if abortion were made illegal in America — these women would be “forced” to choose an abortion out of some “need” for one so that they might not have to “endure” a pregnancy? There is no good reason to believe that these statistics are atypical and unless we confuse genuine “needs” with mere “desires,” there is no “need” for abortion.

    Of course, there are always the horror stories of women who have the most unusual circumstances being “forced” to endure pregnancy. Now these narratives are truly atypical and the lurid descriptions are usually meant to incite emotions rather than critical reasoning. But the result is even worse, for laws are enacted, not to end the torrid suffering in these atypical cases, but to open abortions to all women for whatever reason, including reasons of convenience.

    The vast majority of women greedily practice unsafe sex while knowing that they will always have the option given to them by their peers, like you, to extinguish the life of the children inside them who prove inpertinent enough to exist as a product of her irresponsible lust.

    There is also, as you have brought recently to light, the argument that by making abortion illegal, we would not be “allowing [women] to be responsible.” The idea seems to be that law and enforcement serve as impediments to certain decisions and that only when women are given the freedom to choose without any legal repercussions placed upon that choice will they be free to act in a truly “responsible” fashion and make “responsible” decisions. I suppose, by implication, that means that women can’t make responsible decisions anywhere else where law is concerned.

    Of course, making abortion legal would not deliver it from the gravest consequences. There are unavoidably all sorts of consequences, often quite bad ones, involving physical and medical, economical, political, ethical, spiritual, social and cultural, legal, environmental, religious and philosophical complications. Should we assume, in light of this, that we can never be at liberty therefore to make a depraved choice? Should GOD also lay aside His law so that we are not under even the slightest cumpulsion to restrain ourselves? Or do you actually imagine it is law that keeps the basic “goodness” of people from flowering?

    Yet, you go on to say that unless all legal consequences are removed, then women who desire an abortion are being treated as “objects” or as “slaves.” If we are to take this logic seriously, it would lead to the absurd reduction of all criminal laws to a form of enslavement which disallow every member of society the legitimate opportunity to be “responsible” citizens… whatever that may mean apart from any form of law.

    I shall leave that kind of rhetoric to anarchists and revolutionaries and try very hard not to roll my eyes.

    I have discussed this matter with you for a time, read every resource you offered and even perused your own blog for further material. When you initially joined this discussion, it was to accuse every person who wished to end the slaughter of children by their own mothers as people “against the preservation of life, health, and families,” simply because we were in favor of… well, life, health and families. I could have written you off as a bad joke, but I did not. Yet, I have had genuine difficulty finding you an honest person willing to pursue this matter with integrity.

    I believe that you know as well as I, no matter how often you’ve justified to yourself otherwise, that children are children in the womb long before the arbitrarily chosen 24th week of pregnancy. You’ve not been able to demonstrate or reason your way to anything else, nor have you answered the fact that most women who have abortions give evidence that they realize they are killing a child, not simply removing a blot of tissue. That means that most women who have abortions disagree with your formal stance. Most women who choose to have an abortion are more honest than you are about what they are doing.

    You then stick your head in a hole and look only at cases where women “need” an abortion (assuming such cases truly, ethically, exist) as though they were typical or definitive in any sense. You ignore the vast majority of abortions which are conducted for stupid or completely misguided and selfish reasons, all the while maintaining that abortion should be open for any reason before the 20th or the 24th week.

    You even strain every measure of credulity with your backhanded interpretations of law and of responsibility, going so far as to offensively dilute the atrocity of real slavery so that you can make use of the pejorative nature of the word to favor your emotional appeals.

    And you do all this after contradicting yourself by insisting that we are guilty of the deaths of women that you excuse yourself from though you are guilty of the same on your own argument. You celebrate the sovereign choices of women to have abortions in cases where even they believe a child has died but you do not celebrate their sovereign decision over their own bodies in other cases in which they die. Even these women believe they have murdered their child and yet you call this something they are “entitled” to.

    You decry governments not merely for making abortion illegal but also for not doing all they can to make abortion nice and neat and easy. You make no clear distinction between those who choose to endanger themselves from unsafe abortions in societies where abortion was actually legal from those who die trying to have an abortion where it is illegal. The unsafe nature of abortion dramatically increases with age and with the length of the pregnancy, regardless of whether it is legally performed in a clinic or not.

    There are plenty of women who have unsafe abortions because they are poor and cannot afford an abortion or because it is inconvenient to do so or because they are rightly ashamed and wish to keep the whole matter a secret or because they have waited too long to have an abortion by legal means. Yet, you do not distinguish these in your statistics but simply cite the whole bunch, 67,000, and leave it at that. Wherever it suits you, the rhetoric and the statistics change in your favor.

    I simply do not see how you have been honest throughout this exchange. You have the freedom to deny this and to argue for a very different conclusion, but what neither you nor anyone else may possess, regardless of national legislation, is a fantastical liberty from consequences… for all that you have done and said will receive a reckoning in the future, according to our righteous GOD of law.

  29. I don’t see any point in responding in any detail. Your Orwellian use of language, leaps of logic, twists of meaning, make it impossible to argue with you so long as I refuse to use your Orwellian tactics.

    That you accuse me of dishonesty, when I have been open and truthful about what I believe, is really the final straw: if you cannot listen to a person speaking truth without calling her a liar, you cannot discuss anything except with people who already agree with you.

    Thank you, at least, for allowing my comments to remain visible: let my arguments stand, though you disagree with them.

  30. jesurgislac,

    Thank you for engaging in the discussion. It is frustrating because of the problem that I noted in comments 7 and 9 above. We talk past each other because of different assumptions.

    Your dialogue with Benjamin underscores the point. You guys are just missing each other at a foundational level. It would be interesting to see if the dialogue would be any different at an in-person debate format.

    At the very least it would be interesting to see what the points of agreement and disagreement would be. I wonder if the range of points about which there is disagreement would be expanded or narrowed in an in-person environment.

    All in all a very interesting example of the problem that our society has in discussing subjects like this. I bet that a very similar discussion would be had with similar partisans over homosexual marriage and 50 years ago on race relations.

    I am a firm believer in free speech and discussion. “shut up” is the very worst argument anyone can make. It seems like more and more that is the argument that gets made first and most loudly.

    I am so glad that you engaged in the dialogue. I will be praying for you.

    I love to chat and you can feel free to stop by anytime.

    Keith

  31. Brother… I can understand your desire to remain welcoming to unbelievers on your blog but there is no need to summarize my efforts in a way that makes everything appear to have arrived at a virtual stalemate or standstill. That is neither an accurate representation of what transpired here nor is it particularly helpful to the clear testimony of her hypocrisy. I believe you have merely encouraged her to blow off much of what has been said to her as a simple exercise in misunderstanding and if she opts for this sort of cavilling, she will be greatly hindered from realizing something very important about herself that her entire blog makes abundantly clear. She is a deeply prideful person.

    Otherwise, I assure you that I have not “missed” her points at a “foundational level.” Of course, if you are quite sure that I have, you must know and be able to point out where such a misunderstanding occurred. If you can, then I would sincerely and with a full heart be glad to receive the instruction. If not, then your statements are hyperbolic at best and, again, not helpful to her. Indeed, you have done me a disservice if your intention was to reduce the logic of my discussion with her to a caveat about an “interesting example of the problem” of bitter emotional harangues over race relations 50 years ago.

    For the sake of our understanding one another, I teach informal logic, philosophy and theology. I am a presuppositionalist and conversant with such things as implicit premises, suppressed evidence and axiomatic presuppositions which affect one’s interpretations. I appreciate that the two of us were at odds fundamentally, she and I, but the purpose of the time I spent in discourse with her was to reveal the confusion and dishonesty of her prevailing ideology.

    I never meant by “hypocrisy” and “dishonesty” that she is purposefully trying to connive people into a false view. I believe she has lied to herself more than to anyone else, for the sake of her own glory, as Scripture teaches. Yet, the only way to open the eyes of the self-deceived is to display the absurdities of their hypocrisy plainly. Even here I asked her to correct me had I misunderstood her.

    The facts and logical implications of all this would not, I’m afraid, have been altered to any significant degree in a face-to-face exchange and I certainly doubt that she would care for the suggestion of self-deception even then. I stand by what I said and remain confident that her responses were rather ill-conceived and often contradictory.

    …what are “Orwellian tactics,” by the way? Is that an insult to Orwell or is it some vague reference to 1984 or Animal Farm?

  32. Hey Benjamin,

    I certainly didn’t mean to offend either of you. I was being pithy at the cost of being clear.

    When I say you “miss” each other, I don’t mean to imply that either of you fails to understand the other one’s point. What I mean is that the assumptions are so alien to one another that you talk right past each other.

    Obviously you exhibited a comprehensive understanding of jerugislac’s points, and you methodically destroyed those points with logic.

    I certainly don’t mean to imply that this discussion was a draw. Like I said at the beginning, Jerugislac needs to work on exercising some of the “deliberative norms of persuasion”.

    In the cultural and legal climate we are in, their team hasn’t had to do so very much and the lack of practice shows.

    One wonderful result if Roe v. Wade is overturned will be the need to engage in actual democratic discussion at the state level in order to persuade each other of our positions. Those rhetorical muscles will have to get firm in a hurry in that environment.

    I think you are probably correct about a face to face exchange coming to a similar place, but still I wonder.

    BTW, I think Orwellian tactics must be those founded in logic, reason and rationality that make it real hard to come up with an effective response. :-).

  33. […] here is an excerpt from part 5 that reinforces Benjamin’s points in his comments to this post. Abortion is a Gospel issue because the extinguishing and termination of a life within the womb is […]

  34. bkingr, thanks for your response.

    There are two things that frustrate me about Ben’s responses: one was his accusation of dishonesty, which was unwarranted: and the other was his Orwellian use of language – using euphemisms to disguise reality. I was thinking of George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language.

    I don’t think that face-to-face arguments would come off much better, really, but I appreciate free speech, too.

  35. Thank you for the clarification, jesurgislac, and for the playful irony. Reading through any of your posts, particularly the last wherein the making and enforcement of law which does not agree with you becomes in your mouth a form of enslavement which does not allow us to choose to be “responsible” is a keen example of the euphemistic campaign. In what sense a person is to be judged “responsible” outside the context of law (even moral law) I cannot imagine.

    For the most part, I don’t care to let a few stray phrases argue for me, but I grant that I have openly employed terms that resist your attempt to dehumanize the children that I fully believe are being murdered. The ugly euphemisms of “choice” or “entitlement” and “freedom” and “responsibility” that pro-abortion advocates employ are enough to give a sinister turn to Orwell’s warning.

    GOD considers a people who murder their own children in sacrifice to their own lust or greed to be among the most vile. I do wish you would stop painting over the realities of our present day as this is precisely the dominant motive behind abortion, not the further sterile euphemism of “need”… and, again, you are in the minority when you declare the children that these women abort to be something less than children. Even the women who kill them are more forthcoming about the nature of what they are doing.

    I encourage you to read the findings of the November gang, a pro-choice group, and the correspondence which women who have abortions pen to their own soon-to-be-murdered babies. This isn’t a clinical discussion and I dislike it when anyone attempts to turn it into one with the correspondingly hateful tone of moral neutrality that such a discussion purveys.

    As for the accusation of self-deceit and hypocrisy, the Scriptures teach that a person should be extremely careful about false accusations, so I take your insistence that I have accused you falsely very seriously. I am satisfied to let what I have demonstrated in my comments above stand in my defense. We shall all be judged for what we have said and done… as well as for what we have excused or encouraged in others.

  36. Thank you, Brother, for the clarification. As you probably know, having some experience with internet dialogue, the tone one hears in one’s head doesn’t often come across so well in naked text. To make up for this, we have to go the extra step of being supremely plain and profusely gracious. Unfortunately, as jesurgislac’s introductory comment on your post was so rudely disengenuous, I had difficulty working up the desire to go that extra step. Nevertheless, my tone toward her was never volatile or bitter.

    And toward you… it was meant to be somewhat affectionately formal and engaging.
    At any rate, I assure you that you did not offend me so much as seemed too eager to soothe and feed what I did not believe should be. I believe you are right that a number of these discussions fall too squarely into the category of emotively laden diatribes. I was simply eager that what I considered to be serious arguments and charges should not be swept out with the rest of the weary baggage.

  37. Reading through any of your posts, particularly the last wherein the making and enforcement of law which does not agree with you becomes in your mouth a form of enslavement which does not allow us to choose to be “responsible” is a keen example of the euphemistic campaign.

    That is an example of what I mean by Orwellian language, FWIW. Rather than focus on the specific issue: a woman discovers she is pregnant: I say she should now get to decide, for herself, without state enforcement one way or another, whether she wishes to terminate the pregnancy or have the baby. You feel she shouldn’t be allowed to make that decision, there should (if I read you correctly) be laws enforced that ensure any pregnant woman shall in law be forced to have the baby, that she cannot be legally be allowed to make the decision for herself.

    Now, I feel we should be able to discuss that issue. Whether you agree or disagree.

    But we cannot discuss that issue if, in response to my point, you try to recast it as a generic point rather than a specific one. If you do not wish to discuss pregnancy and childbirth, and issues such as how to prevent unwanted conception (the most effective way of preventing abortion) then it seems to me you should simply refrain from discussion – rather than trying to make the months of pregnancy, and childbirth, not exist.

    bkingr, here’s what I see as an honest discussion:

    I say: At some point in any pregnancy, a woman discovers she is pregnant. (This is true for even the most hoped-for pregnancies: there is never nay guarantee.) When a woman discovers she is pregnant, she has the following options: 1. Decide to have the baby; 2. Decide to have an abortion. In either case, this woman is taking responsibility: she is making her own choices.

    Ben/pro-lifers say: But, the fetus she is pregnant with is a human life, and if she decides to terminate the pregnancy, the fetus dies. All human life is sacred: she can’t be allowed to decide, because if she was, she might make the wrong decision.

    I say: The known effect of denying women access to safe legal abortion is that a woman who decides against having a baby, can’t legally have a safe abortion, so has an unsafe abortion instead. The known effect across nations of denying access to safe, legal abortion is that maternity mortality/morbidity rates rise: the abortion rate remains the same. In effect, denying access to safe, legal abortion ensures that more pregnant women die, while doing nothing to preserve the life of any fetus.

    Ben/pro-lifers respond: But no woman is forced to have an illegal abortion – she can just have the baby, and if she can’t care for the baby herself, she can give it up to others. (Usually there is some reference to “adoption” in here.)

    I say: But, if you enforce the law against abortion sufficiently rigorously so that any woman except the wealthiest will have real difficulty getting an abortion (the wealthiest will of course merely go to another country to have an abortion), then forcing a woman to have a baby she cannot care for merely ensures there are more unwanted babies: the net result is more deaths of babies and young children. Cultures in which safe abortion was not available always had laws allowing women to abandon unwanted babies, in principle allowing them to be cared for, in practice usually to their deaths. It is utterly inhumane to force a woman to go through pregnancy and childbirth merely to have a baby her culture will then let die.

    Ben/pro-lifers respond; But a fetus is a child, is a human being, a unique ensouled human precious to God, entitled to life, the pregnant woman cannot be allowed to rescind the fetus’s right to life just because she doesn’t want to have a baby!

    I respond – and here is the crux of our difference – that since a fertilized egg can only become a baby if a woman is prepared to invest nine months, more or less, of her uterus, her time, effort, blood, bodily resources, in creating a baby from that fertilised egg – an effort which can kill her, can seriously damage her health, will very likely permanently change her body – then even if the fetus is to be regarded as a legal human being with full human rights from the moment of conception, this still does not take away a woman’s right to choose. Because no human being has the right to so much as a pint of blood from another human, not even to save a life, and so this fertilized egg cannot have that right.

    I can also say that I regard the abortion rate in the US as appalling, but that the obvious solution – one that certainly seems worth trying – is to ensure that health insurance plans routinely cover provision of contraception (which they don’t, always) and that Medicaid routinely covers provision of contraception – which state government must get explicit permission from federal government to do. (But that explicit permission was what President Obama tried to do in the recent stimulus bill, but Republicans opposed.)

    Now at this point I think Benj starts talking about loose women “greedily” having sex, but here, again, we part company: first, because I see no reason why women and men should not have sex, as often as they wish to and can find consenting partners: and, second, I find it most important that abortions should be prevented. While many pro-lifers – Ben perhaps included – will talk up the idea that women just need to refrain from having sex if they don’t want to get pregnant, in practice, it is supremely ineffective to prevent abortions by telling people not to have sex: it has long been proven (see most of the countries in Europe with lower abortion rates than the US!) that the most effective way of preventing abortions is to prevent unwanted conceptions by ensuring free, and freely available, contraception is available to anyone who intends to be heterosexually active.

    And at this point, I find I’ve already lost most pro-lifers, who want to get back to “But abortion should be illegal!” or “But abortion is killing a human life!” and who explicitly do not want to discuss the methods used by other countries with the effect of diminishing the abortion rate to far, far below the US abortion rate. None of the successful methods include making abortion illegal.

    I don’t wish to accuse you or anyone else on this thread of dishonesty. I merely wish to ask: If you all feel that abortion is wrong and ought to be prevented, why do you never seem to support any of the proven-to-be-effective methods of preventing abortion? Such as, for example, the recent initiative to allow states to use Medicaid to provide contraception to the very poorest women?

    If the problem is that you feel women ought not to have sex unless they want to have a baby, which is more important to you:
    – that women only have sex when they are prepared to accept any pregnancy that results and have the baby: or
    – that men and women use contraceptives regularly/effectively so that women who don’t want to have babies don’t conceive them – thus preventing their ever having an abortion?

    Given the reality that women do choose to terminate their pregnancies, whether or not it’s legal to have an abortion; given the reality that people like to have sex, whether or not they want to have a baby at that moment: it seems to me that a pro-lifer who asserts that abortion is wrong needs to decide if they are more interested in preventing abortions, or had rather take a superior moral stance – whether or not taking that stance actually prevents any abortions.

    Gosh, this is rabbiting on. Well, good night…

  38. I am very glad that you posted this, jesurgislac. I usually find that lengthier attempts at communication save a lot of time in the long run, and now I believe I understand a good deal more about your perceived solutions to the problem at hand and what you imagine my position is on this controversy. Aiming for clarity, I shall organize my response topically…

    Proposed solutions: Advocating genuine contraceptives

    I agree wholeheartedly that we ought to urge others to employ contraceptives such as the “birth control pill,” condoms, diaphragms, copper IUD’s, etc. The evidence that the copper IUD will act as an abortifacient if conception occurs is simply absent (see Sivin, see Segal and see Ortiz).

    However, having said this, I remind any who read this that there are “contraceptive” alternatives that can be employed as ECP’s (emergency contraceptive devices) immediately after unprotected sex, such as the recent drug mifepristone, the “morning after pill,” the RU486 pill, Mifeprex, etc. Because the medical community does not usually publish under the assumption that a child exists at the time of conception, they choose to call anything which works to end a pregnancy before implantation in the uterine wall a “contraceptive” method. This means that a child that has been conceived will not be allowed by such methods to develop any further. These are abortifacients, yet they are not included in most statistics about abortions so they do not play a role in affecting the sweeping percentages given regarding the rise or fall or the rate of implementation of abortive methods around the world. Europe, for instance, is regarded as having fewer “abortions” than the U.S. partly because of the rise in use of such “contraceptive” means and women in less developed countries allegedly abort their children as often as those in developed countries, in part because ECP’s are not considered in the final count. In fact, these abortifacients are often offered as supposed “alternatives” to abortion. These methods, of course, neither I nor many other pro-life advocates can accept as ethical.

    Proposed Solutions: Cross purposes and the real aim

    Perhaps the most important issue about the use of even truly “contraceptive” devices and methods is that their availability will do nothing to solve the problem of abortion if they are paired with alternative methods and instruction that undermine the solution itself. For example, the activity of pro-choice advocates like jesurgislac on this issue turns out to be roughly as follows:

    1. Retain the open availability of abortion, at least up to a certain stage of pregnancy, making abortion a safe, easy and guiltless procedure.
    2. Educate men and women on the use of contraceptives (including the abortifacient ECP’s).
    3. Teach, even if only implicitly, that a liberated sex life is perfectly natural and good and couple this attitude with relatively subjective (self-absorbed) ethical mores.
    4. Finally, work to end economic and environmental pressures (such as overpopulation, disease and poverty, which are all connected), which will hopefully make #1 easier to obtain and #2 even more desirable, while repudiating adoption as an impoverishing alternative.

    The effects of this are, of course, that #1 makes unprotected sex and its likely consequences virtually painless. There are fewer reasons to concern oneself over it, so long as you know your partner is not a carrier of STD’s. The next aim, #2, can make abortion even more congenial (through the use of relatively stress-free abortifacients) and genuine, pre-coital contraceptives appear rather dull by comparison when you don’t have to concern yourself over abortion. They do, after all, usually dampen “the mood.” The effects of #3 are obvious as the path to our central problem is thrown wide open. Yes, I stand by my statement that this encourages the natural “greed” and selfish lust of men and women. Finally, #4 works, as I said, to make abortion easier and safer to obtain and ECP’s even more desirable. Now you can have sex the way you like without the worries.

    Among those who fail to use true contraceptives, the reasons most cited are: A) The couple didn’t believe pregnancy was a possibility at the time, B) Contraceptives were inconvenient or uncomfortable or not immediately available, C) Fear that contraceptives would in some way hinder future fertility and D) The availability of ECP’s made contraceptives before sex less desirable. Of course, there are also those who simply use contraceptives incorrectly. They didn’t, however, feel the need to be very cautious because of the availability of ECP’s and abortion, anyway.

    Who loses at the end of all of this? It certainly isn’t the majority of liberated women that caused the problem… If one looks more deeply into the matter, concerns over population and sexual freedom and other forms of moral license have been the greater agenda for pro-choice advocates the whole time. In this context, abortion is more of a sidelight, an unfortunate “need” in a world where sexual liberty is something everyone is obviously “entitled” to and the “problem of overpopulation” is deemed malignant. On the other hand, sexual liberty is not as yet considered prudent for certain radically perverse groups who have not yet achieved social acceptability virtually anywhere, but their day will come (and in some quarters it already has).

    It is, quite frankly, dishonest to pretend that the methods pro-choice advocates employ are at all aimed at eradicating the “need” for abortion precisely because abortion is viewed as a “need.” Their methods actually work to preserve and further abortion.

    Proposed solutions: The other side

    The contrasting position (though not necessarily precisely the one I hold) might seek the following:

    1. Remove the availability and the “glamour” of abortion.
    2. Educate men and women on the use of contraceptives (excluding abortifacient ECP’s).
    3. Teach a stable, rational, authoritative ethical standard which seeks the true good of one’s neighbor and the glory of GOD and denies the notion of radical, selfish entitlement. This includes rejecting the “glamour” of a liberated, grossly irresponsible sexuality.
    4. Finally, work to stifle economic and environmental pressures (such as war, disease and poverty), which will hopefully make unsafe abortions less tempting to those who persist in having unprotected sex and make adoption and true contraceptive use more desirable.

    The effective advantage of these proposals in ending abortion (unsafe or otherwise) is clear. This is the only unfeignedly serious strategy for radically limiting or ending abortion altogether. Adoption, in particular, is seen in this model as a perfectly viable alternative to abortion. I disagree entirely that it leads to a lot of unwanted children who cannot be cared for. That is really too sweeping a description to be helpful in rigorously addressing the issue. There are ways to solve this problem where it exists in even the less developed countries and this must be a greater concern because abortion is simply not a legitimate alternative, ethically speaking.

    Moral Complications: Unsafe abortions and the death of women – Practical concerns

    I will repeat and move past the seeming hypocrisy on your part of arguing that the death of women who are denied abortions and resort to unsafe procedures are the fault of those who deny them access to better care. According to this logic, you are guilty of the lives of those women to whom you would deny late-term abortions and who resort to having the unsafe procedures you would not allow… I do not agree with the reasoning behind your accusation but, as you do, then you’ve pinned yourself.

    Moving to the meat of the issue, I will address the practical side of the proposed solution by advocates of abortion, then the moral issue… The general solution of pro-choice advocates outlined above would neither decrease nor undoubtedly end the continued deaths of these women. It was never intended primarily to do so. One of the problems with this entire debate is that this fact that women continually endanger themselves with the practice of unsafe abortions is brought up as though it were a normal part of the life experience of women. It is only normalized in a context where abortion is viewed as an understandable and desirable alternative.

    Often even in those cultures where abortion is a social taboo and illegal, there is a more globalized perspective among the people in which it is well known that the practice of abortion is socially accepted elsewhere, especially among the enviably wealthier, developed nations. I believe that most people in the world simply don’t judge themselves by their own isolated culture anymore because their culture isn’t isolated. Social acceptability has become much more broadly defined and the continued education in moral liberation and the resultant cultural influences only exacerbate the desire of women around the world to be granted this license themselves.

    Coupling this with the fact that there are and always will be societies in which abortion is deemed morally repugnant and made illegal, these two effects will clash and finally explode in the death of women who choose to feel “entitled” to reject those around them, reject law and become criminals. Who is to blame? Are the people against abortion and the laws they enact to blame or are those who persistently pound the message that abortion is a woman’s natural privilege to blame? That depends, of course, upon who is right.

    Nevertheless, there are still cultures (both today and historically) where abortion is predominantly loathed by women, particularly where the birth of more children is not seen as a curse. Among such people, neither pre-marital sex nor abortions (unsafe or otherwise) are commonly known. If that is true, then this would obviously be a model of a successful environment for eliminating abortions (safe and unsafe) and, of course, that model fits precisely the one which many pro-life advocates are urging. Teaching abstinence within a robustly supportive philosophy is only ineffective where the counter-influence of an irrationally subjective and relativistic ethic prevails upon a person to justify what their inherently selfish nature desires. Abortion advocacy is the result of just such an ethical philosophy.

    How many more women and children have to die before the obvious will sink in? It will not sink in because the quest of pro-choice advocates has never primarily been about eliminating the deaths of these women and children. It has been, rather, about eliminating the deaths of the women (the children are not an issue) along the way to substantially defeating such problems as overpopulation and the entrenched stigmas associated with a cherished moral indulgence. Combating overpopulation is regarded by this theory as the best way to combat disease and poverty at the same time.

    The women are not of first concern in this campaign, but the hope is that they will all finally be allowed to have safe abortions after the lengthy battle is won to suppress everywhere the moral stench of a liberated sexuality and a sterilized womb. Of course, unwanted pregnancies and abortions (even unsafe abortions) will not end because, whether women make use of the less messy means of contraception or not to end the physiological obstacles to moral liberation, the end result is considered a triumph either way.

    Thus, self-absorption and ethical privatization + complete sexual freedom + a certain brand of environmentalism + open availability of abortive procedures = an entirely pragmatic attitude toward contraceptives (i.e., they shall be used when it is convenient or not at all) and a rejection of adoption as an alternative to abortion. And this is precisely what we see in the U.S. as the rate of unwanted pregnancies rises among the youth in public schools who have been particularly targeted with this message.

    Moral Complications: Unsafe abortions and the death of women – Ethical concerns

    Under this category are two questions: 1) there is the question of the capacity for anyone to “choose responsibly” in the face of a law that requires their obedience under threat of punishment; 2) there is the question of the moral nature of this choice, particularly in the light of an important fact that is often ignored (which I will address later). The first question is important because it challenges the just nature of a community similar to the one I outlined above in which abortion is generally loathed and neither pre-marital sex nor unsafe abortions are commonly known. In such cases, abortion is often outlawed.

    Now, in terms of my own position on a number of matters, you have in places mistakenly grouped me with perspectives you are familiar with and created a strawman of my position. Though I certainly believe in dialogue and critical argumentation, I do not advocate political involvement which would lead to specific legislation. I try to convince others, but I do not advocate forcing anyone, politically or legally, to act righteously on the grounds that I do not believe this is either possible or consistent with the revelation of Scripture…

    However, it can hardly be said to be unequivocally wrong that a government would make laws to limit the privileges of its citizens. There are no such things as unlimited freedoms. Every freedom we have is limited. Even an anarchy involves, by necessity, unwritten limitations. Such limitations do not remove the capacity to choose responsibly. They merely remove the capacity to choose without consequences.

    And if abortion is murder, it is hardly strange or unprecedented that a government should make such an act illegal. Nor do I expect you typically find the most common laws against murder in other forms a sort of “tyranny” which eradicates the potential murderer’s capacity to choose responsibly. If anything, the law encourages the murderer to choose responsibly.

    The threat of punishment certainly may make certain choices less desirable, yet even if the law were not just, it still would not be true that anyone is literally “forced” to choose what they do not wish to choose. Many people have balked at unjust laws and resisted them, choosing not to comply with them. They have accepted the prescribed punishment. The problem, and this is a vital aspect that you fail to make explicit, is that safe abortions are not a private activity. They require the involvement of at least another person and few qualified health professionals would be willing to risk so much to provide illegal services, even if their patients are willing to run the risk.

    Your argument, then, is not merely that government should remove restrictions upon women but that they should also make sure these women are provided safe, affordable services to help them have abortions. Government should not merely get out of a woman’s way, it should make her choice of an abortion easy… and that hardly encourages her to make the “responsible” decision. As former Governor of New York, Giuliani, asserted: “We cannot deny any women the right to make her own decision about abortion because she lacks resources.”

    As for the greater moral question… once again you have advanced a strawman at this point. I do not argue against abortion because of the “sacredness of human life” nor because a child is “a unique ensouled human precious to God” nor because a child is somehow “entitled to life.” If I did, then it would be — all else being equal — difficult to avoid the obvious assumptions you make about the equal sacredness of the women involved in all this madness.

    On the contrary, I argue firmly against abortion because, by His Authority, GOD has declared this a practice of wretchedness which is hostile to Him. I do not believe that human life is supremely “sacred” in an intrinsic sense but, rather, that the real value of human life is entirely derivative from GOD Himself. Assuming this, that “sacredness” you mentioned cannot be urged against GOD so that He is required to preserve it above virtually any other consideration.

    Yet, even if you or others were right about the inherent “sacredness of life,” whatever it might mean, you continue to miss a very important flaw in your reasoning about these women… Let’s assume for a moment that a parallel truly exists between abortion and purposefully ending the life of another human being, which is something most women who have abortions believe anyway. You can understand easily why it would not be a veritable option, for instance, not only to legalize murder but to make it safe and easy on the grounds that murderers would otherwise likely endanger their own lives in the process of attempting to kill another person. If, again, the statistics showed that the number of murders remained roughly the same from nation to nation where the act was legal in one and illegal in another, I doubt this would soothe your mind as to the legitimacy of reasoning in the following manner: “Well, making murder illegal doesn’t stop these people and the victims are going to die anyway. We might as well try to make it safe for murderers to do what they feel they ‘need’ to do.”

    One reason murderers, if nothing else, must be stopped and punished is precisely because – quite apart from the assumed “sacredness” of life of both murderer and victim – the murderer is not likely to strike merely once. Certainly there are murderers who do, but that does not change the fact that the larger portion of those who resort to murder do so more than once, just as the larger portion of those women who have had abortions go on to have another and perhaps another, especially where it is made safe and easy and guiltless (and perhaps even glamorized). Therefore, even if the “sacredness” of life hypothesis were sound and were made the brunt of the entire issue, there would be no equality, no struggle of conscience, over the choice of the “sacredness” of a single mother vs. a single child… because the parameters of the problem are more realistically defined as the “sacredness” of a single mother vs. the “sacredness” of multiple children.

    In the end, the fundamental argument between us remains whether abortions represent the death of actual human beings. If they do, then they are despicable. If a woman takes her own life, that is meaningless and evil. If she ends the lives of others, that is even worse. The false dichotomies you cast do not hinder me from accepting both alternatives. I will advocate both “that women only have sex when they are prepared to accept any pregnancy that results and have the baby” and “that men and women use contraceptives regularly/effectively so that women who don’t want to have babies don’t conceive them.”

    I will advocate both “preventing abortions” and “take a superior moral stance” precisely because I know it is the only way to actually diminish abortion as a reality. Only rationally viable arguments will serve to overturn bad thinking. Because your view of this entire issue is much too shortsighted and, I still believe, self-interested, it culminates in a crippling set of prerogatives that work at cross purposes while remaining inexcusably unethical (and therefore ultimately irrational). GOD will judge this generation, just as I imagine future generations will, as guilty of the most transparent rationalizations for the sake of subtly sadistic goals… and it is hardly “Orwellian” to demonstrate that this is so.

    Thank you so much to all those who have taken the trouble to read this post. I know that it is long, but it is my hope that clarity of communication will be more profoundly achieved where it was perhaps missing before.

  39. I remind any who read this that there are “contraceptive” alternatives that can be employed as ECP’s (emergency contraceptive devices)

    …act to prevent conception. First, by preventing ovulation; second, by thickening mucus in the cervix to prevent sperm passing through. There is literally no evidence, none, that emergency contraception prevents implantation of a fertilized egg. In fact, given that the later emergency contraception is taken, the less likely it is to be effective, the solid evidence is that emergency contraception doesn’t prevent implantation.

    While I accept that many people who argue that emergency contraception is an “abortifacient” have simply accepted the lies they have been told without bothering to confirm for themselves what the actual effect of emergency contraception is, the scientific fact is: failure to provide a woman with emergency contraception as soon as she needs it, is a very direct means of causing abortion. I refer to pharmacies and doctors that deny emergency contraception as “Pro-abortion” for this reason.

    As Benjamin obligingly follows up with a lengthier version of the usual pro-life argument that women ought to die for his moral views, which I already refuted, I won’t trouble you further with my response to it.

  40. “refuted” might be a bit strong. how about “contested” instead? ;-0

  41. Of course, if emergency contraceptives do not do anything to hinder the implantation of the fertilized egg, then I would gladly support their use. I am not against such things, a priori, yet I would need to be fairly certain that they do not threaten this kind of activity before I could personally advocate them to others. In dialogues such as these, it is often a good idea, where helpful, to make use of sources in agreement with or respected by the opposing point of view. This I had originally done when advancing the point of view that emergency contraceptive procedures interfere with implantation. For instance, one can easily find pro-choice sites relaying the following:

    “Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy in several ways. It may prevent ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of the egg in the uterus.” – (“Medical Groups Set the Record Straight on Emergency Contraception,” a news release by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)

    “Emergency contraception pills (ECPs) provide a short, high dose of combined estrogen and progestin, or progestin only, and have been shown to be approximately 75% effective in preventing pregnancy within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse by inhibiting or delaying ovulation or inducing minor changes in the endometrium to inhibit implantation.” – (“Report of the Council on Medical Service” entitled, “Access to Emergency Contraception,” published by the American Medical Association. According to the website, CMS reports “reflect the final actions of the AMA House of Delegates and are official AMA policy.”)

    Moving along, the Guttmacher Institute, which is clearly pro-choice, explained: “All hormonal contraceptive methods, depending on when during the menstrual cycle a woman initiates the method, act by delaying or inhibiting ovulation, inhibiting fertilization or inhibiting implantation of a fertilized egg, which in medical terms is considered to mark the beginning of pregnancy.”

    Last year the Institute still held to this opinion, though expressed it more cautiously when battling over recent anti-abortion legislation, “The July draft defined the term ‘abortion’ to include any action that prevents the implantation of a fertilized egg, effectively including the birth control pill, other hormonal contraceptives and the intrauterine device. (Although preventing implantation is not their primary mode of action, these methods may sometimes act post-fertilization.)”

    The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League published the following remark: “EC does not cause abortion; rather it prevents pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation, fertilization, or implantation before a pregnancy occurs.”

    The National Organization for Women spearheaded a political campaign under almost identical terms: “Please contact your Representative and insist that they support H.R. 2527, the bipartisan Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies Act. This legislation would require hospitals treating victims of rape and sexual assault to offer emergency contraception—large doses of birth control pills that inhibit ovulation, fertilization or implantation before pregnancy occurs”

    Planned Parenthood expresses a similar opinion in a straightforward document addressing questions about the nature of emergency contraception: “EC works to avoid pregnancy by delaying or inhibiting ovulation (the release of an egg). Fertilization and implantation can also be prevented, protecting the woman from an unintended pregnancy.” Curiously, elsewhere on their website, when the topic of political wrangling over the ethical nature of emergency contraception appears, they become much more skeptical of the benefits of EC to prevent implantation, claiming that its potential to inhibit this process is “theoretical” and “not scientifically proven.” What would constitute such proof is not explained, especially when they argue that “No medical tests exist that can detect the presence of a fertilized egg. Pregnancy tests only detect established pregnancies, which begin when implantation of the pre-embryo is complete.” If that were actually true, then it would mean that jesurgislac’s argument that EC’s are perfectly safe because there is “literally no evidence, none” to the contrary is founded after all, not upon empirical research but upon the fallacy of “appeal to ignorance.”

    The Pro-Choice Action Network, however, seems rather confident when it explains that, “The Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP) can be used up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. . . . The pills work bypreventing fertilization or implantation of a fertilized egg in the wall of the uterus.”

    The National Partnership for Women & Families published their findings as follows: “Emergency contraceptive pills prevent pregnancy the same way that daily birth control pills do: by delaying or preventing ovulation, inhibiting fertilization, or preventing implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus.”

    The FDA, after doing research on one of the more popular forms of emergency contraception, asserted publicly that, “If fertilization does occur, Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation).”

    The American Pharmacist’s Association seemed a bit more confident than jesurgislac when it published a news report: “EC works best to prevent pregnancy if it is taken within 72 hours of when a patient has unprotected sex or experiences a failure of another birth control method. Working by either delaying ovulation or blocking the implantation of a fertilized egg in the lining of the uterus, the high dose of levonorgestrel delivered by Plan B reduces the incidence of unintended pregnancy from 8% to 1%.”

    Finally, in “A Clinician’s Guide to Providing Emergency Contraceptive Pills,” the Pacific Institute for Women’s Health educated its readers roundly on the matter in a way that is curiously absent of jesurgislac’s dismissive statements:

    “Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) prevent pregnancy by delaying ovulation, inhibiting fertilization and/or preventing implantation.”

    References like these could be multiplied ad nauseum, so I will simply say this… If I or other pro-life advocates are guilty of believing and peddling “lies” on the matter of emergency contraception, we ask for the forgiveness of those better educated than ourselves for our lack in exercising the good sense GOD gave us when we resort to conferring with professional medical, pharmaceutical and pro-choice sources who publish these “lies” and push them politically even though they ought to know better.

    But before we feast on dust and humble pie too soon, perhaps we ought to ask that why it is that pro-choice adherents are so keen to deny all this when talking politics. Perhaps there’s a reason why skeptical voices grow loudest when legislation is being written and debated?

    As for your rhetoric about “direct means of causing abortion” (which is a misuse of “direct,” at best) and “women ought to die for his morality” (only mine? what happened to dying for yours?) and your remark about how you’ve “already refuted” me elsewhere, I am willing to guess it is all as empty and confused as the earlier confident pronouncement about a “literal” lack of evidence. Unfortunately, you do not trouble yourself to demonstrate any of this to us.

    I believe I am beginning to sense a pattern with you…

  42. bkingr Says: “refuted” might be a bit strong. how about “contested” instead? ;-0

    Lol! Okay: for “refuted”, read “contested”. 😀

    Though honestly, the belief that women should die for Benjamin’s morality to be satisfied, is no laughing matter.

  43. Jesurgislac,

    I wonder what goes through a person’s mind when they write a sentence like this one: “Though honestly, the belief that women should die for Benjamin’s morality to be satisfied, is no laughing matter.”

    Do you think it is persuasive? Do you think it moves the ball downfield even one inch?

    What it is is tendentious. It reminds me of a particular kind of lawyer with which I have had to deal on occasion. The kind of lawyer who is a hyperpartisan for their client and never concedes obvious facts even when such a concession would actually help his client’s case’s credibility with the jury.

    two easy to refute assumptions made into a sentence is not an argument. It is a slogan.

    Second one first. I know and you know that it isn’t only “Benjamin’s morality” that we are talking about here. Empirically, we know that it is the morality of a sizable segment of the population of the United States. It is the fear of this sizable segment and their representatives in State legislatures that make the preservation of Roe v. Wade such a foundational article of modern feminism.

    First one second. You and I both know that according to the statistics you cited women aren’t dying because of a particular view of morality, they are dying because they chose to break the law at the risk of their personal health to do away with a growing baby in their womb for their own selfish reasons.

    here are some of their stories. http://www.imnotsorry.net/newstories20.htm

    here is two paragraphs of Tiffany’s story. it is the the first one I clicked on.

    “I found out I was pregnant for the first time in my life when I was 25. I was in graduate school and broke all the time. I had started dating a friend (who probably should have just remained a friend) and we had drunk, unprotected sex once or twice. I took the morning after pill both times, but it didn’t work. (We must have been quite fertile together- in the past, taking Plan B had always worked for me.) I knew that a baby was nowhere in the plan I had for my life: a career, a husband, a home, and financial security all needed to be there before I would be ready. I had none of those things. Nowhere close. I had a 2-1 duplex and a roommate, a lot of student debt, halfway to a master’s degree, and a “boyfriend” who I knew would never want anything long term. Not an ideal situation for even raising a puppy, much less a child.

    I refused to ruin my life, and everything I had worked so hard for and come so close to achieving, for a cluster of multiplying cells which I had no emotional connection to. My very real life was more important to me than a potential life. I knew that I could never have a child, even to give it up for adoption after nine months, and maintain the integrity of my life, and the lives of my future children. If I were to drop out of graduate school to have the child, it is unlikely that I would ever go back. The boyfriend would have never wanted to marry me, and I would have been a single mother, without any career prospects, struggling to make ends meet and probably messing up a lot along the way. Raising any stable, happy, and healthy future children depended on a stable income and stable family structure, and having a child at 25 would have ruined their potential lives, as well as my own.”

    If somehow there was a law against abortion and Tiffany decided she wanted one anyway, then if she died in the process, it would be because she didn’t want to “ruin her life” with a baby and this selfish self-centered desire trumped her desire to abide by the law and stay safe.

  44. Jesurgislac,

    Further to the question of “morality.”

    What is the basis for morality in your world view? I notice that you titled the post you linked above “why pro-choice is the only moral option”. you obviously make reference to morals. where does your morality come from? What are its contours?

    Is there a handy dandy reference guide for an objective outsider to look at and then accurately predict whether you would find a particular action “moral” or “immoral?” If so, could you point me to it?

    Thanks,

    Keith

  45. Do you think it is persuasive? Do you think it moves the ball downfield even one inch?

    No. But then, you know: if the deaths of women who were denied access to safe legal abortion, and therefore died as a result of an unsafe, illegal abortion, will not move a pro-lifer who is convinced that abortion must remain illegal and unsafe for any woman who wishes to terminate – I do not know that any words will persuade them.

    “Must then a Christ die in every generation to save those that have no imagination?” Sixty thousand Christs die each year, from perforated uteruses, poisoning, other complications that result from these victims of pro-life policy that denies them proper medical treatment: yet for those who have no imagination, their deaths can be dismissed without concern or compassion.

    Empirically, we know that it is the morality of a sizable segment of the population of the United States.

    True, but I am not arguing with that large minority of people who believe in forced pregnancy/denial of legal abortion (or at least, who believe they do until they need an abortion, or a woman whom they care for needs an abortion). I am arguing, or I was, specifically with Benjamin.

    You and I both know that according to the statistics you cited women aren’t dying because of a particular view of morality, they are dying because they chose to break the law at the risk of their personal health to do away with a growing baby in their womb for their own selfish reasons.

    You know they are dying because a particular view of morality makes it illegal where the live, for them to have an abortion performed safely by a qualified medical practioner. There is no reason in the 21st century why any woman who chooses to terminate an unwanted pregnancy should have to die for it. Abortion can be safely and simply performed – if it is legal to do so. Only people who are indifferent to the lives of women make abortion illegal: wherever abortion is illegal, maternity mortality/morbidity rates are higher.

  46. bk: What is the basis for morality in your world view?

    Kindness. Decency. Treating each other well, with respect for each other’s individuality and humanity.

    And of course: I respect human life. Far too much to support making abortion illegal, with its obvious and consequence costs in human life.

    Obviously, forcing a woman through pregnancy and childbirth against her will is not kind, nor decent, nor respectful of her individuality and humanity. And denying her access to safe legal abortion is an attempted act of force: which fails to save fetuses (the abortion rate is roughly the same whether legal or illegal) and yet kills pregnant women – and the fetus along with the pregnant woman, too.

    The only way to actively prevent abortions, in countries where abortion is made criminal, is to treat any woman who could conceive as a potential crime scene – mandatory 4-weekly vaginal inspections to ensure that she has not conceived in the preceeding month, then imprisonment under close inspection to ensure she doesn’t stand a chance of procuring an abortion: or investigate every miscarriage as a potential manslaughter case. (Have you ever been with a woman who had a miscarriage? Can you imagine what it would be like for a woman who had just miscarried a wanted pregnancy to be interrogated like a criminal? That was what happened to pregnant women who miscarried in the US before 1973: horrible and tragic. And women died: deaths from illegal abortion were common enough that few medical practioners who remember those days ever want them back.)

    Simpler, better, more moral to prevent abortions by supporting everyone heterosexually active to use contraception – prevent abortions at source by preventing unwanted conception: and support fetuses by supporting pregnant women, for example with free universal healthcare and mandatory paid maternity leave with the right to return. The pro-life movement in the US does none of these things, which to my mind shows that however sincere individual pro-lifers are, the national organizations they support are actively uninterested in preventing abortion.

    Where, for example, were pro-life organizations speaking out in favor of President Obama’s attempt to include permission for states to use Medicaid to pay for contraception in the recent stimulus bill? I saw none: yet that alone would prevent many abortions by ensuring that women who don’t want children don’t conceive unless they want to.

  47. […] is the part that has to be seen by people like Jesurgislac who commented at length in response to this post.defending a woman’s right of complete control over her uterus as if there wasn’t a baby […]

  48. […] he makes the point that I was making to Jesurgislac in comments to this post. This point is that if the unborn fetus is human, you can’t kill it: The question is not […]

  49. […] in the womb is beyond imagination. what comes next? we simply don’t know. Reckon what Jesurgislac the feminist thinks abou this use of abortion to exterminate a generation of defenseless girls in a […]

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