Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I've heard it enough

I've finally heard it one too many times, and I have to write about it and vent my frustrations. For several years I've shied away from discussing the abortion issue, because of its divisiveness. If I do discuss it, it is usually in private conversations, or I just don't take sides and I point out a few inconsistencies here and there in one argument or another. But I am officially tired of pro-choice democrats, constantly, habitually taking for granted that an unborn baby is not human. I mean what kind of world have we come to, when large portions of the population not only doubt the humanity of a growing creature inside its mother's womb, but take it for GRANTED that the creature cannot be qualified with homo0sapiens. It boggles my mind. It is an all-out assumption with no scientific evidence whatsoever and absolutely no compelling philosophical reasoning that I've ever heard of.

Here's where the dilemma lies: we have yet to conclusively define what it is to be truly "human." It's something a scientist cannot tell us, because all they can give us is their own biological classifications (all of which, I believe, are blaringly present in an unborn child). They can tell us how many chromosomes are in human DNA, what the composition of human cells and tissues are like, and how many eyeballs we should normally have, but that doesn't really get us any closer to the question of what is human? So pro-choicers have sidestepped biology and have gone to strictly philosophical ideas. But the only philosophical idea I've ever heard them land on is "a woman's right to choose."



What happened to the humanity question? Is an unborn child human or not? What is it that makes us human? Don't all humans have unalienable rights?

So let's say that to be human is... to be capable of rational thought? Unborn babies are not capable of rational thought, therefore they are not human. Of course, it would strictly follow that newborn babies would suffer the same classification, along with several mentally handicapped individuals, comatose patients and maybe those with Alzheimers and other mental diseases.

Okay, let's try again...

To be human is... to have a soul? And everyone knows that humans don't receive their souls until the baby is ready to be born... uh...

Okay, one more...

To be human is... to be self-aware? (See comments on the "rational thought" hypothesis)

Maybe someone has some ideas somewhere, but I would badly, desperately like to hear those ideas before skipping ahead to the women's rights issue. Because I will support women's rights wholeheartedly, but human rights trumps it. If unborn babies are human (again, a question pro-choicers seem unwilling to explain, debate or consider), then according to the Bill of Rights of the United States of America, they are endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, including, but not limited to, the right to life. It makes me angry that so many americans are willing to ignore these questions, and it drives me nuts that a democrat could dare to hold their pro-choiceness over anyone.

I heard this lady on tv, scornfully saying that John McCain was against a woman's right to choose, as if everyone knows that a woman has a right to kill a creature that is living inside her body if she wants to, regardless of whether that creature is human or just some tissue that will later become human upon emerging from said body, because that question isn't really important...





andrew j. ulasich said...

word. pro-lifers get attacked for not caring about human rights abuses around the world and in our own country. often this criticism is valid. but it goes both ways. why do the political platforms have to embrace one but not the other? jesus for president.

ulee1952 said...

As I understand it, the pro-choicers used to fight for the idea that a fetus is just a lump of tissue. Now they have come right out and said that they just don't care and that the right to choose is more important than a baby's right to live. People have an amazing capablity to justify doing the things they think they want to do.

Josh Fuller said...

Jesus had no interest in having political power, and constantly preached about living in a different kingdom altogether. To a certain extent, I don't think we should vote for political candidates based on moral issues, and DEFINITELY not on abortion above all others.

Since 1973 (Roe v. Wade), the Republican party (the pro-life party) has been in office for 22 out of 34 years. Three of our last four presidents were strongly pro-life. Electing a pro-life congressman, senator, or president will not change whether or not abortion is legal. If it could, it already would have happened. Voting for a candidate who stands opposed to everything Jesus said about caring for the poor, who is irresponsible with the budget, who gives tax breaks to the richest people and corporations in the world but takes money away from schools, just because they agree with you about an unborn child's right to live, strikes me as insanity.

Regardless of what I or anyone else thinks about abortion, it makes no sense to me to use it to decide who to vote for.

kati said...

Yay, Jake!

Jake said...

josh, I totally agree that abortion is not the only issue in regard to politics. My main beef was the way pro-choicers look down on those who don't agree with them on that issue, regardless of their complete lack of compelling argument for their case. What to do in terms of policy and voting, that's much more complicated and requires very careful thought and consideration on what the most important issues are.

andrew j. ulasich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
andrew j. ulasich said...

I assume the "Jesus has no interest in having political power" was in response to my "jesus for president." Maybe I'm wrong. Under that assumption, I do agree that Jesus didn't pursue political power. In fact his kingdom comes through humility, even his own death. The statement, 'Jesus is Lord', though, is definitely a political statement to the empire of the day. And who he is poses a threat to the established ruling elite. anyway...

"Voting for a candidate who stands opposed to everything Jesus said about caring for the poor, who is irresponsible with the budget, who gives tax breaks to the richest people and corporations in the world but takes money away from schools" I agree that these are essential considerations to who we vote for - but how are they not moral issues?

Josh Fuller said...

I knew that your "Jesus for president" line was in jest, Andrew, so I hope it didn't seem like I was arguing against you. I did want to bounce off of it to make a point, but that was all.

"Jesus is Lord" may be taken to have some political consequences, but I see it as having much greater significance than just political, which is exactly why it poses a threat to the "empire of the day". Jesus does not replace the President or anyone else in our political system or personal lives, he subverts their authority because his kingdom is so unlike any of ours. Instead of ruling, he comes to serve, and instead of calling us to submit to authority, he calls us to follow his example and participate in the work God is doing. That is what was so threatening to Caesar and Herod (particularly, in their case, that he preached that God could be approached directly and that the Pharisees had no power to control access to God through extortion and oppression). His kingdom threatened political kingdoms not because it was out to replace them, but because it was, and is, a source of much greater power.

My comment about moral issues was in the context of the way morality is discussed in the debates and the news. It would be great if caring for the poor was considered a moral issue by politicians, but it is not; there are only three. Abortion, homosexuality, and marital unfaithfulness. When people are asked whether morality is important to them, in general only these things are meant by the question, and somehow the Republicans come out looking like the 'moral' party, as ridiculous as that seems.

carla said...

I consider myself pro-choice, only because that's the label available to me. I am not pro-abortion. I am not pro-death. I am pro-allowing women to make decisions for themselves, even if they make terrible decisions. The government is not-and should not--be in the business of legislating morality.

I don't know who you've listened to who says that a fetus is a lump of tissue. I agree that historically democrats have not addressed the abortion issue as a moral problem, which it is. But that's changed dramatically in recent years and I think your characterization of the position is too broad.

I am pro-choice because I don't think the government should be involved in a person's reproductive decisions. Look how well that's gone over in China. I do, however, believe that both the government and the private sector ought to be deeply involved in the issues that lead women to see abortion as the best option. Adoption education, free birth control, better education in general, child care support, tax breaks for adoptive families, etc.

I find that the pro-life position is often contradictory. Many who hold the position are willing to make exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or if the mother's life is in danger. But those fetuses are no less human. That inconsistency suggests to me that the real issue is not the desire to protect unborn children but to prevent what often seems like a reckless decision on the part of a woman. It's as though abortion is kind of okay if a woman has a reeaaaally good reason for requesting one.

This is a far, far bigger issue than whether or not a fetus is a human being. It's about how we care for the poor, healthcare, the financial options available to women with children, etc. If we want abortion to decline (which it has in recent years) then we need to spend less time judging the logic of various positions and more time working to make life better for women, children, and families.

Anonymous said...

Finally, someone with the guts to blog about this subject!!
First, I am a pro-choice Christian. But I don't follow the pro-choice philosophy.
I believe life begins at conception. The development of a fully developed human is a dominoe effect. One bumps into another until the last dominoe falls. There must be a first dominoe and a last. So it is rediculous to say that life begins at some in the process.
I do not believe that anyone has the right to end a life. Murder is murder. And all who murder should be punished. The question is, who decides if it is wrong for that particular woman, in her particular position, to have an abortion? I do believe, most woman who have an abortion for selfish reasons, will pay the price at some point in their lives.
I agree with Josh that if abortions were to become illegal, they would have by now. I would like to add, that in the off chance that it would, abortions would not end. We know teen-age boys who ordered illegal rifles on-line, had them delivered to their house by UPS!-how hard do you think it would be for any with internet access to order the morning after pill?
I am pro-choice for one reason. My mom wanted to have an abortion when she was pregnant with me. What is worse, committing one sin of abortion, or neglecting and abusing a child everyday for years? If there is any chance a child will suffer as I did at the hands of its mother I will say that sometimes abortion is in the best interest of the child.

Jake said...

Carla, I have a few points of contention with what you're saying. First of all, "The government is not and should not be in the business of legislating morality.' If this is the case then what are all these laws we have about not killing people and not stealing. Aren't these issues moral issues? I don't understand your logic here, because my point with abortion is that the major issue at stake is whether or not the child is human and therefore, according to the Bill of Rights, is endowed with the unalienable right to life. These are moral statements that exist in thefoundation of our nation, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. And this is a logical undertaking that I'm talking about. If the unborn child is endowed with human rights, then killing the child is murder, because a human being is too sacred to be classified as a "reproduction decision." If anyone is claiming that it is not murder, then they must be readily assuming that the child is not yet human, that they are not in possession of that undefinable quality that we believe human beings possess.

My other point of contention here is obvious. I really don't think that the issue is far bigger than defining the logic of whether or not the child is human. I think that is the central, defining question, because it is the question that defines whether or not abortion is murder. If it is murder, then no amount of justification can make it right, and women would have no more right to commit it than they would to to drown their post-birth babies in the bathtub.

I realize that some of these allusions seem crude and hyperbolic, but I believe that's because the pro-choice media have made them so. And that's my main beef. They've dodged the question of murder, scorned it, ridiculed it, and then acted like they have the moral high-ground.

I agree, we need to make life better for all people. And I'm not vying for political advantage. If anything, I'd say we need to be much more grassroots, and teach young women to make good, moral choices. If the United States government becomes a reeking piss-hole of immorality, I'm still going to say what I think is right, and I'm going to try to persuade people of it. The fact that young boys can get guns from UPS, doesn't make it any less wrong.

Sorry, if this sounds passionate, but no one has ever given me a reason of why they think unborn human life is dispensible, nor why they think expecting mothers should be able to make that choice for themselves. I don't have the right to decide if anyone else's life is expendible. I cannot believe that this question is not of central importance. To say that the issue is bigger than that, I'm sorry, but it seems like just another way of dodging the question.

Anonymous said...

shouldn't men (or boys!) also be taught to make good moral choices- like ALWAYS WEAR A CONDOM!!!!! If men were taught to respect women, they would learn to control themselves.

Jake said...

Yes, Kayla, men/boys should also learn to make good moral choices. For me at least, that was never in doubt.

By the way, you're talking to a man who waited until marriage to have sex at all. I believe strongly in self-control and I believe strongly in all people taking responsibility for their actions.

Carla said...

Jake, as with most issues of this scope and complexity, it's one thing to talk about abortion in generic terms, but a far different thing to talk about it specifically. So let's be specific. If your wife becomes pregnant with an ectopic pregnancy, you will have a choice to make--let the baby develop and eventually rupture Cassie's fallopian tube/uterus/ovary which will likely kill her--or abort that baby. Who will you chose--Cassie or your baby? This is the kind of choice pro-life friends of mine have had to make. It is heartbreaking and horrible.

What if you weren't able to make that choice at all because aborting the baby would be illegal? You would then watch both your wife and your child die. It's easy to want to deny others a choice you haven't been asked to make yourself. But if there were to come a day when you did have to make it, well, you'd probably rather not have the federal government decide for you.

As to your argument that the government deals with moral issues such as murder and theft, you are kind of right. The difference is that the law provides for about 80 different understandings of murder (and theft and just about every other crime on the books) based on the circumstances under which that murder took place. The law is based on the fact that there are all kinds of shades of gray in something like murder and that the best way to deal with that is to review each case as it comes--hence trials and lawyers and law books as big as your house. So if you kill someone because you are defending your life or the life of your wife or your children, the law treats you differently than it would if you killed someone because he cut you off in traffic.

But the pro-life position doesn't allow for shades of grey. So in a world where abortion is illegal, if you and Cassie had to abort a child to save her life, you'd both end up in jail. And if you want to argue that it does offer shades of gray in that there are those who would allow for abortion in the cases I mentioned earlier--rape, incest, saving the life of the mother--than I would ask the same question I raised earlier--isn't that still murder?

I'm not trying to change you mind because I can't and don't feel a need to. But I am hoping to show you that this isn't as clear an issue as you want it to be. You are able to take a black and white position because you haven't had to deal with the gray areas.

One final note--what do you suggest happen to women who abort their babies? What about the men who impregnate them? The doctor? Who is responsible? The person who makes the choice, the person who performs the abortion? The person who pays for it? What should be the consequences of murdering an unborn child? This is a serious question. Again, you can talk about abortion as murder but if you do, then you'd better be prepared to talk about what happens to the murderers.

Jake said...

Carla, I think all your points have merit, but you still haven't given me any reason to believe that abortion isn't murder. The purpose of my blog was not to call for political action, but it was to complain about the high-handedness many opponents of the pro-life position. You said earlier that to allow for abortion for the protection of the mother's life was a contradiction too the murder argument, but now you're saying it's a shade of gray and likening it to the self-defense argument in regular murder cases. I'm not saying that it doesn't make it difficult, but in terms of morality, we have to stop treating human life like it is dispensible. If the courts take murder trials ona case-by-case basis, why are you suggesting that would change with abortion? The fact that there are often very tough choices to make doesn't change the sacred nature of human life, one that I'd really like pro-choice advocates to acknowledge or refute in the case of unborn babies. Without that, then we're just talking about convenience.

carla said...

how's this: Abortion involves causing the death of a living person. Shooting someone who is trying to kill my child also causes the death of a living person. However, my point is that in a legal sense, the second is not considered murder, it's justifiable homicide. So when I say there isn't any gray in the pro-life position, I mean this: would there ever be a case in which an abortion would be considered justifiable homicide? What about manslaughter? This is my point--that those who want to call abortion murder need to decide: if abortion is murder, then it's always murder. If there are times when it's not, then what is it? I'd rather see the pro-life movement come out and say there is never a justifiable reason for abortion than to call it murder and then give some random examples of when it isn't--incest, rape, life of mother in danger.

I believe with all my heart that a fetus at any stage is a living human being. However, I don't think you can just say that to abort that child is murder plain and simple. There is nothing simple about it. Do women have abortions for selfish reasons? Of course. People also have babies for selfish reasons. What does motive have to do with anything?

You say your point isn't to call for political action but rather to complain about the high-handedness of the pro-choice movement. Fair enough--it is your blog after all. But that complaint is pretty empty if you aren't willing to think about the action it's resolution necessitates. You can't say abortion is murder without considering the ramifications of that statement. If it's murder, then someone is the murderer. Who is it? What should their punishment be?

Anonymous said...

Carla, You make a very good point. I have always referred to abortion as murder, because a human being was dying. I will refer to it has justifiable homicide for all other reasons, except of course when its out of selfishness.

But, Jake, there are many other justifiable reasons for having an abortion that are pro-lifers do not accommodate for. Like the woman whose being beaten by her husband or boyfriend. Or the woman whose husband is forcing her to have more children than she feels capable of raising. Or the addict who knows she can't stop using during her pregnancy. These woman are seeking an abortion to save their children from being born with severe birth defects. I will say it again, sometimes abortion is in the best interest of the child.

I think its clear that Carla and I have experiences with this that have had a huge impact on how we feel about this. You're young. You simply haven't had first hand experience with the devastating affects of a pregnancy that has had to be aborted, And I hope you never do!!! But, I think we deserve some credit or respect for the time and thought we have put into our opinions on this.

I offer my heartfelt congratulations for waiting for marriage to have sex.

Can we end this discussion before church on Sunday? Please.

Josh Fuller said...

I've really enjoyed following this conversation and you all have represented your positions very well. Kayla, I have to ask why you would suggest Jake is not showing respect and giving credit to Carla and you as he discusses this issue. Debating or even arguing with you is not showing a lack of respect; one could say it is entirely the opposite. I would even say it is unfair to suggest that the conversation should end by a certain time; it is a very interesting and important one, and like I said, I've benefited from reading all sides of it. As long as anyone has more to say on the topic, I'm interested in reading it. If it's a difficult conversation for you to have, that's entirely understandable and no one would think less of you for withdrawing from it.

Benjamin said...

I was riding the bus one day and I overheard this young college girl talking about a friend of her's who got pregnant. She said her friend didn't feel right getting an abortion...and instead chose to drink through the pregnancy. I just about threw up on the bus.

I think this point was touched on earlier, but I think that if we take action towards creating a world where abortions are no longer seen as necessary then we can ALL (pro-lifers and pro-choicers) find the ever-elusive common ground to end the debate.

Jake said...

I like the classifcation of homicide also, over murder, and the reason I hadn't used it is that I hadn't thought of it. Carla, I think all those issues that you bring up are the natural consequence of what I'm saying. I just wonder why legislators and the media aren't having this conversation instead of the one they're having (namely, ignoring the human question). I would argue, also that we should take careful consideration about what is "justifiable" in the case of an abortion. I would say, among regular homicides, there are very few times when it is justifiable, and in the case of abortions, there are probably even less. An unborn child who is threatening the mother's life is not doing so with violence or intent, so even then it is a difficult issue, and I don't claim to be qualified to answer each of those questions, which would need to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

My whole point is that as humans, unborn babies have the same human rights as anyone else. That, I believe, is simple. If a three-year-old is having a tough life, is in a terrible situation, has little hope of getting out of it and would be better off dead, do we have the right to make that decision? Sometimes we're forced to make those decisions, and I hope we keep the humanity of the unborn child and the inherent human rights involved while making them.

I agree with Ben. Most important in this is to do our best to make this the kind of world where no one would think of destroying human life. In all of that, I think we also need to uphold the sanctity and the enormous tresure of human life.

carla said...

Amen to that. Thanks for letting me be part of this conversation. It's been a good one and I appreciate your passion on the issue. The more people talk about the real issues involved the closer we get to having a society where abortion is rare.