Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Issue That Won't Go Away

There are two moral and political issues that we could include under the "issues that won't go away" title. The first is abortion, the second is homosexuality. This post will focus on the abortion issue.

I just finished reading an excerpt from an upcoming book by Jane Chastain, titled "Abortion, the Bible and the Church." You can go to WorldNetDaily to read the entire article, however, for this post I want to concentrate on the following portion.

Quote from article:

"Abortion is an issue fought by the religious right and championed by the religious left. Who are these people and where do most people of faith fit in? Most remain mired in the mushy middle. This is a dangerous place to be because it is moral quicksand.

When it comes to the issue of abortion, Christians can be divided into two categories: those who have carefully examined the issue, biblically and scientifically, and those who have not.

Those who have not fall into these five sub-categories:

Those who maintain the Bible is silent on this issue

Those who accept only certain portions of the Bible as true

Those who choose to believe that a pregnancy is nothing more than a glob of tissue – a collection of cells – which can be swept away at will

Those who maintain that, because it is a political issue, the church can't touch it – therefore, there is no need to spend valuable time looking into it

Those who find it simply too painful to examine because they already have participated in a decision to end a life

Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973, before ultrasound imagining and fiber optics gave us a window to the womb. It was based on a "world is flat" theory. This is why the left is so nervous about this issue and willing to go to extremes to have only political ideologues pledged to defend Roe – not the Constitution – appointed to the Supreme Court.

James Madison, the primary author of our Constitution, said:

"We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.

The Sixth Commandment is "You shall not murder." The broad definition of murder is the intentional killing of an innocent human being."

It now is an accepted scientific fact that a "fetus" is alive, human and unique. Most atheists have no problem dealing with the truth of abortion because, in their economy, life, or at least some life, really isn't worth much. It's survival of the fittest.

In 1985, a mere 12 years after Roe, Newsweek magazine devoted much of its Jan. 14 issue to a special report, "America's Abortion Dilemma." It states, "It is one thing for the born to recognize the unborn as human; however, and quite another for society to vest them with moral or legal rights as persons."

Virginia Abernethy of Vanderbilt University's School of Medicine said, "I don't think abortion is ever wrong. As long as an individual is completely dependent upon the mother, it's not a person."

Newsweek pointed out that this view is shared by other pro-choice theorists, who believe that an individual becomes a person only when he or she becomes a responsible moral agent – around three or four in Abernethy's judgment. Until then, Abernethy thinks infants – like fetuses – are nonpersons. She believes that defective children, such as those with Down's syndrome, may never become persons. "The claim they have on persons," Abernethy says, "is compassion, not a moral right to life."

The left isn't anxious to publicly defend this extreme position because it is politically untenable. That is why the issue is framed as one of "privacy" or "civil rights."

Today in America, 85 percent of us self-identify as Christians. However, it is the 9 percent of self-professed atheists who rule this issue.

Why?

Atheists aren't afraid to look at the facts, while the vast majority of the people in churches simply refuse to look."

End of quote.

*******

As was very evident in my blog post, "Dilemma at the Checkout Stand", emotions run very high on this issue.

I have lost friends and acquaintances over this issue. I have endured the scorn and condemnation of fellow Christians because of this issue. I have had discussions with non-Christians on this issue and some have been very meaningful and heartfelt, while others ended up in an explosion of anger.

Why is this so? What makes this issue so volatile, argumentative , divisive and fills people with rage?

I think that the following quote from the article says a lot:

"Newsweek pointed out that this view is shared by other pro-choice theorists, who believe that an individual becomes a person only when he or she becomes a responsible moral agent – around three or four in Abernethy's judgment. Until then, Abernethy thinks infants – like fetuses – are nonpersons. She believes that defective children, such as those with Down's syndrome, may never become persons. "The claim they have on persons," Abernethy says, "is compassion, not a moral right to life."

I would extend this "compassion" argument even further. I would say that the left, pro-abortion advocates believe that they are taking the moral high ground (so to speak) by being compassionate towards the woman who seeks an abortion in order to get out of the dilemma she has brought herself into (with the help of the impregnator, mind you) and THIS "need" of hers outweighs any other need (e.g. the unborn child's helplessness, no voice to articulate that he/she WANTS to live) purpose, or moral view that would trump what she can do 'with her own body'.

My view is that a woman who gets pregnant LOSES that right to do 'with her own body' what she wills. That life inside of her is NOT part of her body, it is separate and will become (if allowed) a life of his/her own when ready to leave that body.

With all of the birth control available today, there really is no reason to have to use abortion as a 'too late' birth control method. As I stated in my last post, there can be exceptions such as dangerous ectopic pregnancies, the mother would die, rape and incest. But 98% of abortions are NOT done for any of those reasons.

In 1973, I remember hearing the supporters of Roe vs. Wade saying that legalized abortion will be, "the lesser of two evils". They also said that they wanted to make abortion safe, legal and rare. They got the legal part, but safe and rare are lies.

It is fatal to the baby, of course, but statistics are now showing how botched abortions are taking the choice and ability for women to have future children away from them as well as the ultimate tragedy of death for women who's abortions have gone wrong. Also, go to Botched abortion survivors

and read about abortion survivors.

Also, look at the mental anguish of those who have regretted having an abortion.
Regretting That Abortion


Abortion is not safe.

Rare?

Since Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion in all 50 states in 1973, over 47,964,944 (the number as of 10/6/05 at 10:15 a.m. Pacific time) babies have been killed. Go to this site to see the amount of abortions that have been added to this total since my post.

Survivors of the abortion holocaust

That is a website set up by children who were born since legalized abortion and consider themselves survivors of the abortion holocaust.

Their website page states:

"Survivors is a Christian, Pro-life activism organization designed to both educate and activate High School and College age individuals.

If you were born after 1972, we challenge you to consider yourself a Survivor of the Abortion Holocaust. It's time to take an active stand on behalf of those that have already been lost and for those scheduled to die."

17 comments:

Anna said...

Hi Christine -

Thank you for a well-written, organized essay on this subject.

One point on your exceptions: a baby does not survive an ectopic pregnancy. If left in the fallopian tube, it will cause the tube to burst. There is no way a baby can develop and be brought to term in the fallopian tube. A close friend of mine had two such pregnancies and almost died. Only emergency surgery saved her life. I do not consider this abortion because there is no way that baby could survive.

Blessings,
Anna

Clandestine said...

Shockingly, I have a few problems with your post.

First, the generalization! I know you didn't write what you quoted that woman saying (we'll get to her in a minute), but this "the left," "the pro-choice movment," "pro-choice people" etc. etc. does nothing but polarize people and over-simplify an incredibly complicated issue.

Second, this woman is a nutcase. She is a racist, first of all, who believes that people of different races should be separated. Besides the fact that no sane person would believe that randomly killing a living (meaning-out of the womb) child was acceptable. Come on.

Now, there are two issues here, just as with homosexuality. One is of religion, and one of is law. In the case of the first, religion, you are free to believe and do whatever you want, within reason. That's the beauty of the USA. There's a difference, though, between your religion and everyone else's, and it's not really acceptable for one person's religion to determine someone else's rights. You don't see this, though, and I don't understand how.

What the religious right should do is educate people and provide support for choices other than abortion, while allowing that choice to remain. Here's why:

1. If a person doesn't want to have a baby, they won't. If abortion is illegal, they will kill themselves, injure themselves, etc. in order to keep from doing so. Legal abortions, while clearly not 100% safe (just as no operation is 100% safe), are MUCH MUCH MUCH safer.

2. Limiting abortion to rape and incest victims would force those victims to go to court to prove that they were raped or victims of incest. Someone women (girls!) can't handle that, and sometimes those trials would take too long and make abortion impossible.

3. Nobody should be forced to have a baby if they don't want to, for whatever reason. It's not for you to decide.

4. It would get tricky trying to decide in what cases people could have abortions. What if the mother had untreatable cancer and could deliver a baby, but that baby would be born addicted to morphine and other drugs that would keep the mother from being in too much pain? Who would decide what she could do then?

5. Separation of Church and State - in the Constitution!

Oh, and, in response to Jojo's question that I just realized I didn't answer. I included Laura Bush in the list of people who, by Christine's definition, would not get to go to Heaven because she is pro-choice.

mamalicious said...

I, too, am stuck on the part about rape and incest. Christine, what do you believe - you alluded to them as exceptions but didn't elaborate. I'd like to hear more about your opinion on what should happen in those cases.

I'm not supporting the killing of anyone but I do believe that the constitution gives us the right to make choices for ourselves. Religion should not play a part in the law.

I work in a building where there are many, many teenage mothers. Their lives are extremely difficult and they are the exception because they have remained in school. Someone (I don't know who) is not doing a good job at providing support and other options to these girls. As a result, their lives are really hard. I would never say they should have had an abortion but I will say that their lives are hard. Abstinence programs obviously don't work and Christian groups go nuts at the concept of condom distribution. How do we reconcile these things? I think they are also part of the equation.

Christinewjc said...

Hi Anna,

Thanks for the clarification regarding the ectopic pregnancy situation. I did mention that neither the mother or baby would survive in that case back in my "dilemma" post. However, I should have been more clear about that here as well.

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend! How awful that she had to endure two difficult pregnancies and surgeries. Thank God she survived. Has she been able to have children since then?

I apologize for labeling that procedure incorrectly as an "abortion".

I remember when I miscarried between my two children the medical record stated,
"spontaneous abortion". It made me very sad that they had to use that word to describe it.

This isn't a very pleasant subject for anyone to discuss. But since there was such a huge response to my other post I thought that having a forum to talk about these issues might be important.

I have considered creating a "political issues" blog and keeping it separate from my "talkwisdom" blog. I originally created my first blog for the purpose of Christian evangelism and discussions of, from, and about the Bible; especially focusing in on God's message to mankind of repentance and salvation through Jesus Christ.

Our Jerusalem friend Susan told me that she prefers reading the more uplifting topics here. I'd love your opinion. What do you think? Should I separate the two?

Love in Christ,
Christine

Christinewjc said...

Hi Clandestine,

I was wondering if it might help to read the entire article. Perhaps posting just a portion of it made the subject at hand less clear.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/
news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46690

Jane Chastain was actually focusing in on Christians in the article and their views about abortion when she described the "religious right and religious left".

It appears that you were referring to the Abernethy woman as the "nutcase" in your post. At least we can both agree on that! What I really wanted to focus on was the last statement:

"The claim they have on persons," Abernethy says, "is compassion, not a moral right to life."

Let me ask you this. Do you see your view on abortion as compassionate? Now, please please don't take this the wrong way or get mad at me and leave or blast me for asking this...OK? I have always wanted to ask this next question of a pro-choice person but have been afraid of the reaction. Here goes. Do you think that your view on abortion is compassionate towards the unborn baby too? I have several follow up questions to that if you choose to answer and are still here and willing to discuss it.

Now, morality aside, on the political side of this issue I would say that I think that the Roe vs. Wade decision was flawed because it took away states rights to individually decide their own abortion laws. If you go back and read my "dilemma" post, I mentioned that some states would decide for abortion rights (mine would be one of them) and thus there still would be legal abortions available. I just think that POLITICALLY speaking, making abortion legal for any reason, anywhere, at any age, should be left up to the PEOPLE IN INDIVIDUAL STATES to decide, not the courts. However, IMO, pro-abortion proponents fear that if it is left up to the states many states would CHOOSE not to allow abortions for any reason and would place restrictions on it within their states.

On the religious side of the debate, abortion on demand as we now have it does not promote a culture of life; it promotes a culture of death. The originally idea and argument that Roe vs. Wade proponents held (before the Supreme Court decision was made)was to make abortion safe, legal and rare. If they truly wanted to make abortions rare, they would agree that we should do everything we can to promote a culture of life in the U.S. But their ideology SINCE abortion became legal has been sharply driven to the left where abortion should be a right and forget about attempting to promote a culture of life. In most of the pro-abortion advocates eyes, pro-lifers are the enemy. Your suggestion that the religious right should be doing certain things to educate people and provide support for choices other than abortion is what we have been doing for the past 30 years. But the attitude towards those who wish to promote a culture of life is STILL volatile. Pro-life people and their views are viciously attacked by the left and you can't deny that fact.

To sum up. I know that politically, abortion will probably never be made completely illegal again as in the past, but I do think that the attitudes of people are changing towards the idea that a culture of life should be encouraged rather than demeaned by its opponents.

Anna said...

Hi Christine -

My friend subsequently adopted two children. Miraculously she was able to have one biological child. I say "miraculously" because she had only a partial tube left. The doctor fully expected it to be another ectopic pregnancy because of the scarring. He also warned her if it burst this time, she would almost certainly die. Well, it wasn't an ectopic pregnancy and she carried to term.

Her miracle baby is now grown, married and a Dad himself!

As far as separating issues, I would have to give that some thought.

Blessings,
Anna

Christinewjc said...

Hi mamalicious,

Nice to see you back here. I included some reasons why I thought there should be exceptions in the case of rape and incest in my blog post called, "A Dilemma at the Checkout Stand."

As a Christian believer, even these reasons wouldn't make abortion acceptable for me, but there are legitimate life and death medical reasons why women might need to abort in these cases.

As I stated in my post to Clandestine, I don't think that the U.S. will ever go back to the days where abortion was completely illegal. Once the 'genie was out of the bottle', so to speak, I don't think that the current political climate will ever get that 'genie' back in. However, I do think that the Roe vs. Wade decision was flawed on several points; the biggest (political reason) being not allowing individual states to decide this issue for themselves by a democratic republic majority vote.

Morally and spiritually, I see abortion as a HORRIFIC American holocaust that should NEVER have become sweepingly and unabashedly legalized. I truly believe that it deeply grieves the heart of God.

The following are just a few of the many, many scripture verses that lead me to my conclusion on this issue:

Job 31:15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

Ecc 11:5 As thou knowest not what [is] the way of the spirit, [nor] how the bones [do grow] in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

Hsa 12:3 He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God:

Luk 2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Isa 44:24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I [am] the LORD that maketh all [things]; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

Jer 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Thomas said...

I'm going to shock and appall you, Christine, by saying that abortion is a tricky moral issue that forces us to think longer and more clearly than the prospect of, say, two guys making out. My basic moral principle is that people should what they like with their own lives, so long as they do not harm other people in the process. That's why I have no problem with lust or gluttony or pride or many of the other "sins" which get religionists so hot and bothered. The world is a sad place, and if people want to make it happier, more power to them.

On the other hand, torture is clearly wrong, because of the violation of another person's rights, as well as the inducement of horrendous physical pain. Even our Senate has recently pased a bill against torture. There may be a God after all.

Abortion belongs to the shadowlands. If you think that a fetus (no need for scare quotes) is a valueless clump of cells, then there is no need for concern. But if you think that a fetus is a person, a locus of pain and pleasure and a focus for moral concern, than abortion looks much more like murder. But even if you see a fetus in these terms, you still have to grapple with the fact that the mother is indubitably a person in her own right, with her own agenda and her own welfare to look out for. What do you when these rights collide?

From what I can understand, a fetus at a very early stage of its development really is little more than a "clump of cells", a little tiny bundle the size of a punctuation mark, with no brain, no nervous system, and undoubtedly no conciousness. After a few weeks, however, it's a different story. The clump of cells has grown into a bigger clump of cells - but now the fetus (we might say "he" or "she") has grown a little brain, is beginning to wiggle about, and presumably is beginning to form a mental life of some kind. At that point, I would begin to worry about the fate of this being. The problem is that there is no obvious cut off point. The whole process is completely gradual, but the way our legal system works is based on discrete cases. The world does not always care to oblige our definitions! The aricle you quote claimed, "It now is an accepted scientific fact that a 'fetus' is alive, human and unique." The problem is that "science" does give us definitions -- dictionaries do. Quick -- is Pluto a comet or a planet? Science will never tell us! Science can measure how big Pluto is, how eccentric its orbit is, and its chemical compostion, but it can never settle whether Pluto is "really" a very big comet or a very little planet. The definition is arbitrary. The truth is somewhere in between!

That's why abortion troubles people more than other issues of the day. It requires us to debate definitions, assumptions, whole systems of moral reasoning. I don't think it's a simple left/right issue. It's a toughie!

By the way, do you eat animals? I'm much more certain about the conscious existence and moral worth of a cow than I am by the state of a pre-neural embryo. Yet I could never eat a hamburger and I would never have an abortion. Happily, I don't have to make a decision in latter case. I don't blame women who have made a different one than I would.

(BTW - Hello to Clandy and Mamalicious!)

Clandestine said...

Hi Thomas!

I'm with Thomas on this one. This is not so much a right/left Christian/not issue. We can talk and talk and talk, but we're never going to change each other's minds. Just like so many other issues. The hardest part is finding a compromise. I don't think abortion will ever be totally illegal again. However, I am afraid that who can get an abortion and where will be limited, and I think that's dangerous, for the reasons I listed.

A common misconception, Christine, is caused by calling pro-choice people pro-abortion. You can argue with me if you want, but I promise you that I have been more active in the abortion rights community than you have, and I know for a fact that the vast majority of people who are pro-choice acknowledge that having an abortion is incredibly difficult and that it is not ideal. However, sometimes it is necessary.

So, do I think that having a pro-choice culture is compassionate? Most definitely. No pro-choice organizations are telling people to go get abortions. That's absurd. And this Abernathy character is absurd. What the pro-choice community is saying is that women have a right to choose when to have a baby. That's all. And, we don't think that those rights should be decided on a case-by-case basis because that system would be flawed. The pro-choice community, in my opinion, is far more compassionate than the anti-abortion community. Don't freak out - hear me out.

A woman chooses, for whatever reason, to have an abortion, and she arrives at the clinic. What she will probably see are people shouting at her, telling her she's a sinner, a killer, a monster. She will also see people in 'clinic escort' vests who will shelter her (literally) from the people shouting at her, and help her get into the clinic. We all know which is which. And this isn't propoganda. This is true. The people outside the clinic who are holding those horrid pictures and yelling and freaking out (sometimes bombing and shooting) are not asking the women if they were raped, if they were pregnant with their father's baby, if they are going to get kicked out of their parents house if they find out she's pregnant. They are assuming this is an easy choice and that she is taking it lightly - that she is using "too late birth control." Which is, again, absurd.

Following the abortion, one community will support her and help her recover. One community will tell her, again, she is a murderer. So, where's the compassion coming from?

Is it compassionate to the unborn baby? Well, that's tricky, of course. I don't think a baby is a baby until they could survive outside of the womb. Regardless, though, I don't think a person who can't take care of a baby, for whatever reason, should be forced to have one she may never be able to love or take care of. Some people would not be able to handle carrying a baby to term and then giving it up for adoption.

You can ask me whatever you want and I'll answer. I would be happy to help you understand what the real pro-choice community, and not wackos, think.

However, I think we should avoid ridiculous hyperbole like "a culture of life" and "a culture of death." Unless, of course, we want to talk about a culture that believes every conflict, however real, between countries should be solved by war; a culture that thinks it's acceptable to let poor people die because they can't be evacuated; a culture that promotes the death penalty, etc.

Apologia_Christi said...

Much could be said concerning the abortion discussion, but I will leave that for a later date. Amongst all the claims, assertions, and arguments made by Thomas and Clandestine I've yet to see scientific evidence to refute the overwhelming scientific evidence showing the full humanity of the unborn from the point of conception. One only needs to point to the scientific Law of Biogenesis and any standard embryology textbook to understand and realize that you and I were once product of sperm and egg fertilization. Did you not have value then as you do now? Differences in humans based on their size, level of development, environment, or degree of dependency are all irrelevant to dismissing the full humanity of the unborn. If they are not human, what are they? We never hear this from pro-abortion advocates. At issue is the status of the unborn: Are they human beings? If so, we should legally protect them the way we would any other group that is unjustly harmed.


With regards to situations like rape and incest, we pro-lifers have done a terrible job in communicating our utter sympathy for the victims (women) who have endured such a catestrophic event. There is much room for improvement to showing compassion and love for those who suffer immensly because of rapes and being sexually abused by loved ones. That aside, I think rape is seriously evil. I also think the rapist should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Unfortunately, the rapist is never punished and the pregnant women has to face anger and bitterness towards the legal system (which I still struggle with myself).

We should punish the rapist severely for his crime. But even when we do punish him, if the woman gets pregnant, I think we’ve let the rapist off easy. If the woman gets pregnant, the rapist not only perpetrated an act of violent assault; he also forced her to become a mother, such that if she wants to do what’s right, like everyone does, she has to carry to term. It’s wrong to put her in the position where she either has to carry a baby she didn’t consent to create (followed by giving birth and going through the pain of adoption) or she has to terminate the life of unborn child in very horrific medical proceedures. it’s the rapist who did all of this. We’re too easy on him. He should be punished for all of these things. All of the unthinkable horrors of rape – including any forced pregnancy that results – are the rapist’s fault, not the child’s. Why should the child pay for the crimes of his father?

Clandestine said...

Hi Christi (can I call you that?).

I totally agree with you about the rapist, of course.

Abortion is a very difficult issue for everyone, centering on the very difficult PHILISOPHICAL question of whether an embryo/developing fetus is a human being. It's not scientific, as it is a matter of personal and, in some cases, religious belief. In my opinion, the rights of the woman take high precedence until or unless the fetus could survive outside of the womb, and even then, before the baby has been born, I think the rights of the woman need to be honored.

We're never going to agree on this, as I'm sure you'll never change your mind, and I know for sure I'll never change mine. But it always helps to understand each other's perspective even if we don't agree. Don't you think?

Christinewjc said...

Hello Apologia Christi,

Welcome to my blog! I really appreciated your great post in defense of the unborn here.

I briefly visited your blog and see a wealth of information to read! I'm looking forward to reading a lot more of your excellent posts in the future!

In Christ,
Christine

Christinewjc said...

Hey Apologia Christi,

If you come back here to visit, I just wanted to let you know that I attempted to post a comment at your blog (under the Intelligent Design post) but it didn't work.

Perhaps you have chosen to disable the comment section, but if not, I just wanted to let you know that I was unable to post a comment.

Christine

Clandestine said...

Christi,

Sorry I didn't answer your questions as Christine would have hoped. Here are direct answers:

I don't think an fetus/embryo is a baby until/unless the point where it could live as a baby outside of the womb. Therefore, as an embryo/fetus it only had potential value, I guess, if my mother decided to carry the embryo/fetus to term. As I was TOTALLY planned, that wasn't an issue. However, I don't think I had value then as I don't think I existed then. So I only had value as an idea my parents had. That is sort of vague, I guess, but it the best way I can explain my opinion.

Maybe Christine wants to answer my questions on this post and on the one that was posted before this now? Or maybe she doesn't want me here at all. I'm not sure. I'll wait to find out.

Jojo said...

Hi everyone,
There is something being discussed here that I don't understand. Some have stated that they don't consider an embryo a baby until it can survive outside the mother. This makes no sense to me since the baby cannot survive outside the womb without the mother (or someone to love & care for it) either. It grows inside the mother, totally dependant on the mother for it's needs, for 9 months and then it lives ouside the mother, totally dependant on someone for it's nees for over 9 months. Think about it - how is that different? Should we be allowed to kill babies outside the womb if we decide they don't fit into the plan for our lives? I know some will say this is ridiculous and extreme but I wonder if there really is any difference.

Christinewjc said...

Very good point, Jojo. And I think it is just one of the many arguments that makes their pro-abortion position indefensible...

Benton said...

Hi diddly ho neighbor. One datum one never sees cited on the contentious subject of abortion is the fact that the Didache specifically forbids it. And the Didache was certainly from the Apostles. Faithful to their authority we must be. Have a lovely lovely life in Christ, and give all your earthly life and possessions away for him.