Monday, December 06, 2004

A Different Perspective on Abortion

Is ending abortion altogether a practical or even desirable goal to achieve in America and why do you think so?

Whether ending abortion is 'practical' or 'pragmatic' is not the issue, and whether or not it is desirable for most people also matters not at all. The fact is that by allowing abortion, the government fails in its primary job (both in terms of the Christian faith and the ideals of liberty), to protect the lives and property of its citizens (or to prosecute such harm after the fact).

Abortions belong in back alleys. They cheapen people's view of life (euthanasia follows on the heels of abortion) and hence affect the liberty of all, in addition to being an affront against God Himself. All the propaganda today which attempts to sentimentalize women killing their own children should frighten any student of history, because calling those who are unwanted less than human (as is done by using the term fetus) is the precursor to systematic destruction of whomever is 'in the way' at any given time.

The fact that over one million women hire out the murder of their own children is not a neutral issue, despite all the talk that they are just 'doing what they want with their own bodies'. Any physician will tell you that the unborn child is not part of the woman's body. It has totally different DNA and is, half the time, a different gender. It may be true to call the unborn child a parasite of sorts, but no more so than a newborn baby, and only slightly more so than a two year old. Of course, there are people today who advocate killing of born children up to a certain age, although most Americans are hypocritical enough to be horrified when a girl gives birth and then tosses her baby in the dumpster.

So, although I think 'practical' and 'desirable' are far too weak as terms for describing the importance of stopping abortion, I would say that in both the temporal realm of political liberty and the eternal realm of morality, it is both those things.

Samantha

16 Comments:

Blogger Craig R. Harmon said...

This post is sure to be controversial. Remember the rules against profanity and personal attacks apply to comments as well as to posts. Offenders will be edited or removed at my discression.

12/06/2004 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Samantha said...

Craig, thanks for publishing my comment. I would like to invite anyone who is annoyed to comment over at my blog, so as not to cause you bruises on your fingers from pressing "delete". I am no stranger to controversy.

I think it's interesting how you are publishing diverse viewpoints, and I appreciate it.

12/06/2004 09:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BRAVO, Samantha! You nailed it!

(Sorry for posting anonymously, Blogger login flakes out from within Blog Explosion.)

Beth

12/06/2004 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger Think Pink Dana said...

you hit the nail on the head samantha
amen!

12/07/2004 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

I'd write a post concerning abortion, but it's not high on my list of important topics. I will comment on your positions instead.

You said: "The fact is that by allowing abortion, the government fails inits primary job (both in terms of the Christian faith and the ideals of liberty), to protect the lives and property of its citizens (or to prosecute such harm after the fact)."

I strongly disagree that the Government's primary role has anything at all to do with Christianity but that is, I presume, a debate for another time. At any rate, any argument for banning abortions that is based on any religion an attempt to impose a certain morality on people. That is to say that if an atheist cannot have an abortion because of a Christian morality imposed on them by the government then the government is breaking the first amendment.

The second part of the argument (that the government would fail in its ideals of liberty) is interesting. I could be wrong, but it appears that you are saying that if the government allows abortions, then it is limiting the liberty of a featus. This argument is faulty since a featus is not a fully functioning human, it is a potential human.

"Abortions belong in back alleys." Essentially you have transferred the right to liberty from the fully functioning human to the featus. That the life of the featus is more important than the life of the mother. Many women have died horrible, tragic deaths as a result of botched abortions at the hands of unskilled doctors or people who weren't even doctors. I would argue that it isn't abortions that cheapen people's view of life, it is subjecting people to horrible deaths or humiliation cheapens people's view of life. I submit that a person can simultaneously care deeply about people and not be against abortion. With regard to the "being an affrot against God Himself" I will again say that the religious cannot Constitutionally impose their morals on the non-religious.

With regard to dehumanizing the featus being a lead in to genocide. I submit to you that is exactly what is going on with the term terrorist or insurgent. Further more the same is done with the terms criminal or murderer. Dehumanizing a segment of the population (for whatever reason) to justify their deaths. I rarely ever hear either the Iraq war or capital punishment as being an affront to God Himself despite the fact that tens of thousands of fully functioning humans have been killed (lump in other wars and you literally have tens of millions of people).

The next paragraph is an example of the over-the-top emotionalism that Craig decided that he didn't want on this blog. I will therefore refrain from commenting on it since arguing emotions only leads to more emotions.

Realistically, if the government bans abortions, this won't stop people from having abortions. Those who are fortunate to have enough money will go to other countries. Those who are poor will risk their lives and risk being sexually abused by going to "back alleys". Outlawing abortions will only end up costing disadvantaged women their lives. That is hardly increasing their liberty or the liberty of the nation as a whole.

12/08/2004 12:55:00 AM  
Blogger Craig R. Harmon said...

"This argument is faulty since a featus is not a fully functioning human..."

A parapalegic is not a fully functioning human. This does not limit his or her rights under the constitution.

"...it is a potential human."

That depends upon whom you ask. Any geneticist, supplied with genetic matterial from a blastula, could tell, without knowledge of the material's source, with 100% certainty that the supplier of said material is, or is not human. In his realm of science, there is nothing potential about it.

Any biologist, if he or she could examine that same blastula without harming it, would observe that cells are deriving nutrients from it's environment and eliminating waste products. He or she would observe that the cells are growing, dividing, eventually, differentiating. Said biologist would say, with 100% certainty, that said blastula is alive.

With 100% certainty, and without reference to faith of any sort, it is demonstrable that it is a living human being. No, at this stage of development, it has no brain to emit measurable waves but it soon will. It has no heartbeat to which to listen. It has no lungs with which to draw oxygen but it is utilizing oxygen.

If we rely upon the "fully functioning" argument, that leaves a whole lot of this-side-of-the-birth-canal individuals lacking basic human rights. Are you sure you want to go there?

"That the life of the featus is more important than the life of the mother."

Not more important, but wherein less important? It is one of the principle functions of living things, generally, to procreate, to further the species. A fetus is the natural result of that imperative.

12/08/2004 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger Samantha said...

Mike, I agree wholeheartedly with your statement about the word "insurgent" and "terrorist" (although this shifting of blame in no way means that there are no terorists, it just shows the State's ability to use propaganda effectively...of course, that's another whole topic). I am opposed to the war in Iraq and militarism in general, which is unfortunately supported by many Christians.

The Death penalty, however, is not an affront to God, although it can be argued that our justice system is lacking in Biblical safeguards in applying it.

As far as any of my paragraphs being over-the-top-emotionalism, I have to disagree, of course, although I fail to see how stating scientific facts about the nature of life can be over-emotional. Are you referring to my statement that women are murdering their own children? That is not hyper-emotionalism at all, but rather a plain fact. Neutral language is not necessarily a virtue. Your statement about allowing abortions so women will not die having them is similar to my own, while also being illogical. Yes, it is *sad* if women die in back alley abortions. But they can choose *not* to have abortions. Their deaths are caused by their "choice" to patronize a butcher.

I am not saying at all that there is no such thing as child abuse or neglect of children. This is a fallen and sinful world. But thinking that allowing abortion somehow alleviates these things is just plain silly. The old proverb that two wrongs don't make a right certainly applies here.

I am enjoying your comments, Mike and appreciate the opportunity to talk about these things.

12/08/2004 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger Gale said...

what would you tell a mother who is told if she continues her pregnancy, she will die, and so will the child. This happens with severe preeclampsia. Abortion, sometimes well into the second trimester, is the only option, to save at least one of the lives. And what would you tell a mother who is told the baby she is carrying has such severe anomilies, it will not live beyond being birthed. Should she be forced to continue to carry this baby, knowing it will die, that the very act of delivery will kill it because it has no brain and skull. I've sat with a friend who was given this news, and decided to allow the doctors to abort the pregnancy, because the thought of killing her baby with her own body was more than she could bear. Making abortion illegal is not taking into consideration the medical issues of pregnancy which warrant terminating the pregnancy.

If you think abortions are immoral, by all means, don't have one. But there are many circumstances under which a woman should have the option of abortion available, pregnancy by rape or incest, failed birth control, as well as others.

12/08/2004 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

To Craig:

"A parapalegic is not a fully functioning human. This does not limit his or her rights under the constitution."

You have a point, more on this in a second...

About being a potential human: That a grouping of cells can clearly be determined to be from a human (in fact from a specific human) makes it no more human than an acorn is a tree. That a biologist could examine those cells and see that they are in effect living makes them no more prescious than the cells in my wisdom teeth that were pulled when I was in college. That those cells will (if all goes the right way) eventually form a human does not mean that they are anything but cells.

"With 100% certainty, and without reference to faith of any sort, it is demonstrable that it is a living human being."

No, it is a potential human being just as an acorn is a potential tree.

"If we rely upon the "fully functioning" argument, that leaves a whole lot of this- side- of- the- birth- canal individuals lacking basic human rights. Are you sure you want to go there?"

I concede that one need not be fully functional to be allowed to live. My left knee hurts me when I run a lot, that doesn't mean I should be put down hopefully. However, one could make the case that someone who is in a persistent vegetative state should not be maintained on life support. So where is the line between knee pain and complete irreversible brain damage? Where is the line between a cluster of cells and a human baby that is able to survive outside of the mother's body? When do the cells gain the importance of a baby that has already been born?

"Not more important, but wherein less important? It is one of the principle functions of living things, generally, to procreate, to further the species. A fetus is the natural result of that imperative."

Why should humans be forced to succumb to the will of nature? If for instance a person wants to have sex without having a child that goes against nature's imperative. Does that mean that all sex that doesn't result in pregnancy isn't natural and should therefore be banned? Of course not. I also submit that wars do not further the species, that our human minds have developed to such a point that we do things for other reasons than purely instinctual or natural reasons. The argument that in this particular case we need to succumb to the natural order of things and that women should give birth for every or even most every pregnancy doesn't hold water.

To Samantha,

"The Death penalty, however, is not an affront to God, although it can be argued that our justice system is lacking in Biblical safeguards in applying it."

It's tough for me to get into a religious argument because I'm an atheist. Saying anything is an affront to God is quite simply meaningless to me. I see the death penalty as wrong because it reduces our society to a brutal revenge-based society. But I digress...

"As far as any of my paragraphs being over-the-top-emotionalism, I have to disagree, of course"

Surely you agree that your choice of words "over one million women hire out the murder of their own children" is the exact type of emotional argument that Craig wanted to prevent on this particular blog. I simply avoided it, and will continue to do so, because Craig asked that those tones be avoided.

"Yes, it is *sad* if women die in back alley abortions. But they can choose *not* to have abortions."

To die a horrible death or choose not to have an abortion is hardly a worthwhile choice. It is akin in fact to choosing to go to be bad and go to hell or choosing to be good and go to heaven (if one is inclined to believe in either heaven or hell that is). That isn't much of a choice. Both examples are a way to enforce a particular set of morals on a person.

In the case of abortion the mother has absolute control over the life of the featus (barring any problems with the pregnancy of course). The mother can, if she chooses, put the health of a baby in jeopardy by drinking, doing drugs, or smoking while she's pregnant. That the baby may not survive (or at least would probably have a horrible life) is not a crime the mother can be convicted of. Terminating the pregnancy is no different, you may find it as vile or more vile as drinking etc while pregnant but that doesn't mean you should have the ability to dictate what the mother does.

12/08/2004 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Samantha said...

I must say, and slightly off topic, that the Christian position on heaven and hell is not that if you are "good" you go to heaven, and if you are "bad" you go to hell. The Christian position is that all are sinners and without Christ's sacrifice for sin, you will go to hell. Let's define our terms.

And, no, once again, I don't think my statement is an "emotional arguement". And although Craig told me my writing was less neutral than he prefered, he told me it was well within the guidelines, which you miust know since he printed my thoughts.

And as far as being an atheist, nothing leaves more room for oppression than the idea that there is no objective standard of right and wrong. Also, I know you call yourself a leftist, who are traditionally known for legislating morality in economics (and other areas, although most leftists claim that they don't legislate morality) in the cause of "social justice" etc. Where does the idea of "social justice" come from, or the worth of all these women dying from abortion? If they are all cosmic accidents, abortion is not wrong, and neither are the deaths of those who sought them in back alleys. All of it, then, is meaningless.

12/08/2004 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Mike, as an atheist, believes that we should not impose morality on others and fails to realize that any law made by any gov't, is a moral statement. It is declaring some things to be wrong and other things to be right. This is inescapable. The idea that there is no such thing as an established religion wherever a society functions is a popular fiction that many people believe. All societies, even officially atheistic ones, have declared some things to be moral and permissible, or immoral and not permissible. To do this they must reference an ethical standard that exists outside of themselves.

I am puzzled as to where Mike thinks he derives his ethical judgements from if there is no God. Mike should just admit that it is his mere *preference* that we not have wars or use what he has determined to be a de-humanizing term instead of talking about these things as if they were objectionable on the grounds of violating some standard to which he refers. If there is no standard, then Samantha's position is equally as valid as his. It is merely a question of the predominant preference that governs society in that case. He should therefore cease to designate things as being wrong or right or else admit that he is not neutral and is trying to impose his view of morality on Samantha and others as much as they are trying to do so with him.

12/08/2004 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Craig R. Harmon said...

At this point, I am officially donning my moderator's hat.

We are moving off topic in some of the comments.

"I am puzzled as to where Mike thinks he derives his ethical judgements from if there is no God."

Where Mike thinks he derives his ethical judgement is Mike's business, and no one elses. It is not open for speculation here.

"The idea that there is no such thing as an established religion wherever a society functions is a popular fiction"

It may be a popular fiction, but it is a fiction for another discussion.

"He should therefore cease to designate things as being wrong or right or else admit that he is not neutral and is trying to impose his view of morality on Samantha and others as much as they are trying to do so with him."

We are discussing a question that is fraught with ethical problems; everyone on this board has declared some things right and other things wrong. The point is to defend one's position with reasoned argument.

We are venturing too close to personal attack here.

It stops here.

I mean it.

12/08/2004 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Craig R. Harmon said...

To Mike:
"That a grouping of cells can clearly be determined to be from a human (in fact from a specific human) makes it no more human than an acorn is a tree."

Your fetus-human v. acorn-tree assumes that only the fully formed qualifies as a tree. To the contrary, it is a tree before a tree looks like a fully developed tree. Likewise a blastula--prior even to a fetus, and before differentiation of cells--is simply a person before he, or she looks like a person. It is simply the first stage in developement.

The blastula is more than cells from a human; they are an individual, distinct from both of his/her--it has gender even before developing the acoutrements of gender--parents. They are growing and developing in ways that your wisdom teeth never were or ever would.

"So where is the line between knee pain and complete irreversible brain damage?"

Clearly drawn, I hope, for both our sakes. However the sad case of brain death bears no relation to a blastula. The brain dead are brain dead and will never, no matter how long kept on life support, be anything other than brain dead. The blastula is a living, growing, developing, genetically distinct individual who, within weeks will be emitting brain-waves, whose heart will be beating blood--possibly of a different type from that of his mother's--in it's chest. The question of when to pull the plug on one in a permanantly vegetative state is definitely a possible for a future discussion here, though.

"Why should humans be forced to succumb to the will of nature?"

It shouldn't, necessarely. We humans, whether by design of God or forces of nature, are capable of moral reflection that places us, to a certain extent, above other creatures. Wolves mate for procreation only; humans exhibit all the wackiness that is love. We make plans, often contrary to nature's imparatives. I am not an anti-abortion absolutist.

However this misses my point. My statements regarding nature were in support of a specific assertion, question really, "...wherein [should a fetus be considered of] less [value than the mother]?"

It seems to be a question yet in search of an answer.

12/08/2004 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Samantha said...

I just wanted to say that even those of us who think abortion should be illegal should not hold ourselves up as judge, jury and executioner against women who have had abortions. I am not even sure how criminal law against abortion should be structured; for example, should women who procure abortions be charged with a crime, or only the abortionist?

Many of us who are against abortion today have not always been so, and many have had abortions themselves. So while I do think that ultimately what is occuring in abortion is the killing of unborn children, many years of pro-abortion rhetoric, as well as numerous other factors, contribute to the thought process that goes into choosing abortion.

This is no way negates the responsibility of either those who choose abortion or those who perform it. But those of us, especially, who are opposed to abortion on Christian grounds, must realize that abortion is not the unforgivable sin, and that much practical help and love can be given to women contemplating abortion, or those who have already undergone one.

12/08/2004 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

(I'm posting to kill time until my flight. I'm extremely tired so I can't promise everything or anything will make all that much sense.)

"And as far as being an atheist, nothing leaves more room for oppression than the idea that there is no objective standard of right and wrong."

No morals are absolute. Things that we would consider attrocities today (Columbus's genocide, the inquisition, etc) are all examples of acts that at one time were considered moral. These are both examples of Christians doing things that most would consider vile today only to illustrate that even Christian morals have shifted over time not to imply that Christians are the only people in the world who have committed attrocities. Not even close, I will freely admit that every religion and even atheists have been responsible for attrocities. I just want to be clear that this is not a condemnation of religion, rather it is merely an argument that there are actually no moral absolutes.

Man defines his own morals. We are an animal who considers society to be very important. We will subject ourselves to rules and morals that will ensure the security and safety of everyone. That is necessarily the job of any form of government. Governments aren't enacted to keep us free, they are enacted to limit our freedoms in such a way as to make the society better. We do not have the right to steal from another person for instance. Even in an anarchy, we would find that heirarchial groups would form in an effort to ensure the security and safety of everyone in the group. These groups would have their own sets of morals; however, we would find that the groups would have many morals in common (no murdering, no robbing, etc). Morals that are shared are not shared because of a divine origin, they are shared because of our nature as socital creatures.

"leftist, who are traditionally known for legislating morality in economics"

You are correct in saying that I see nothing wrong with insisting that corporations live up to certain ethical standards. If the government doesn't do that, who will? Another topic for another day perhaps.

"If they are all cosmic accidents"

That would be a negative spin on what I believe. I do not feel our origins to determine our value. One need not believe in a creator to value human life. I for one value human life because I am empathetic to it. I too am a human and I value my own life. I know that in general every other human feels the same way about life, hurts the same ways that I hurt, and has the same emotional feelings as I do. Society is better when more people feel like I do when I'm happy. I know this not because of any creator but because I'm a human.

This is where it ties in with abortion. The featus does not yet share those human emotional traits. If everything goes right, it ultimately will but it until a certain point, it doesn't. So where should we draw the line? At what point does the group of cells become a baby? This is the crux of the issue.

This is where Craig and I are going to have to agree to disagree. I do not think that life begins at conception. I think potential life begins at conception and that a woman ultimately has the right to decide if this potential life becomes an actuality.

"Mike, as an atheist, believes that we should not impose morality on others and fails to realize that any law made by any gov't, is a moral statement."

I know Craig stepped in, but I just wanted to say that the term atheism is not equivalent to immoral or amoral. I fully recognize the need for morality and laws for a society to function at all.

"All societies, even officially atheistic ones, have declared some things to be moral and permissible, or immoral and not permissible. To do this they must reference an ethical standard that exists outside of themselves."

That all societies have done something does not mean that all societies must do something. See my above argument as to why I do not think ethical standards require any religion.

" Mike should just admit that it is his mere *preference* that we not have wars or use what he has determined to be a de-humanizing term instead of talking about these things as if they were objectionable on the grounds of violating some standard to which he refers."

Absolutely, it is my preference that our society ensures the safety and security of the people in that society. This is of course for selfish reasons partly and partly because I am empathetic to others in the society. That is to say that I want to keep from getting robbed and I know that nobody likes to get robbed. There is no more justification needed than that.

"If there is no standard, then Samantha's position is equally as valid as his."

I never said it was invalid. What we disagree on is abortion's affect on the society. Samantha sees abortion as the societal equivalent of murdering someone and I do not. Craig has made the argument that the featus is in fact a living human, I disagree. Each of their positions is just as valid as mine; however, the issue is simply not black and white. There is no hard and fast rule like there is with robbery. The act of robbery is clearly defined and it's impact on society is intuitive. With abortion, the case is not so clear.

"He should therefore cease to designate things as being wrong or right or else admit that he is not neutral and is trying to impose his view of morality on Samantha and others as much as they are trying to do so with him."

I never have nor would I ever claim neutrality on the issue of morality. There are plenty of reasons for me to be moral and to want to live in a moral society. That a belief in God is not one of those reasons does not make my morality any less real or morality in general any less desireable to me.

12/09/2004 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Dingo said...

Samantha said: "The fact is that by allowing abortion, the government fails inits primary job (both in terms of the Christian faith and the ideals of liberty), to protect the lives and property of its citizens (or to prosecute such harm after the fact)."

by using this argument, the government could then say, "if the mother is in danger of losing her life or seriously risking her health, the state has the right to *force* her to have an abortion." This too is the protection of human life, just from the other side. This is something government should stay out of and leave it to the woman, her family, doctor and religious advisor to decide.

12/16/2004 12:20:00 PM  

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