DFW Theology & Apologetics Meetup Message Board › Christians voting for Obama?

Christians voting for Obama?

Todd H.
Hedgcoth
Group Organizer
Bedford, TX
Post #: 13
Jim,

I have worked in the Pro-Life movement off and on for decades and I can GUARANTEE you that there is no hatred or judgment or animus toward women who willingly engage in activities that result in pregnancy. My previous answer (regarding the "red herring") is also based on my experience with the Pro-Life movement. None of them believes that unborn children who are the result of rape or incest are not worth protecting. The Pro-Life movement distributes many testimonials of people who were conceived as a result of rape in an effort to influence pregnant rape victims to bring their baby to term. As Leah said, rape and incest constitutes 0.5% of all abortions. As I stated before, keeping the right to kill one's unwanted child legal "just in case" of rape or incest is intellectually dishonest and a red herring.


Leah,

Yes, of course this is not in keeping with the firm principle that all life must be protected but the clause is used to undermine the red herring used by the Pro Abortion Rights advocates.


All,
Killing unwanted or inconvenient human beings simply because it solves a problem is an illegitimate "solution." We could solve lots of problems by killing human beings (the old, the sick, the homeless, the poor, the hungry, the unemployed). But of course no one would advocate such gruesome actions (except if the human being is really small and cannot be seen).

Even the staunchest advocate of Abortion Rights will say that a woman does NOT have the right to kill her unwanted unborn child after a certain period of time (8 months? 6 months? 3 months?). Therefore, EVERYONE is Pro-Life; it just depends on what arbitrary point in the gestation period each person picks.
Jim B.
user 4260314
Arlington, TX
Post #: 6
Todd:

I believe that abortion is wrong, that it's the taking of a life. But I, like so many other people, am honestly confused and torn by this issue. It seems that there are moral ambiguities implicit in it. I don't mean to imply a position of moral relativism. Just because something is wrong doesn't mean that there cannot be moral ambiguities associated with it. Of course one could argue that the ambiguities don't really matter; all that really matters is saving as many lives as possible, and let bio-ethicists, theologians, etc., sort out the ethical fine points. I wonder if there isn't some sort of common ground, not necessarily of agreement, where at least rational discourse could begin to take place between all the 'sides.' You mentioned one possible area of agreement in your last post where you observed that nearly everyone is pro-life, the only disagreement being the point in the gestation period each person picks. Do you think that there's any moral distinction in the stage of the gestation period? It seems that for many pro-life advocates, it's much more a matter of preventing abortions than of imposing sanctions after the fact. These are not rhetorical questions. I am really seeking clarification.
Todd H.
Hedgcoth
Group Organizer
Bedford, TX
Post #: 14
Hey Jim,

I do think that there should be more rational discourse between the two (or more) sides of the discussion. Many pro-life advocates believe that the issue should be left to the state legislatures. In fact, one of the reasons why abortion is such an incendiary issue is that there was no discussion or reasonable compromise hammered out by a legislature. Rather, a "creative" Supreme Court decided what they wanted to see in the Constitution and ruled accordingly. Even many abortion rights supporters agree that Roe vs. Wade was a horrible decision. As Judge Bork put it (paraphrasing): "If you want to put a right to privacy in the constitution, then you should add it. But it's not there now." Rather than going through the time and effort of actually passing a constitutional amendment, the Left took a shortcut with "judicial legislation" (one of their tried and true MOs).

My conclusion about abortion is based on two basic principles:

1. The unborn fetus/embryo/blastocyst is a living human being. (If it's not human, what is it?)

2. Killing human beings without justification is wrong. (I don't think you have to be a Christian to believe that killing without justification is wrong. It's a human rights issue.) (The clause "without justification" allows for the self-defense principle mentions in a prior post.)

The problem that I have with the "discussion" (if you can call it that) is that the pro-abortion-rights side has no coherent standard for what is human life (Principle 1). It seems that they will say anything (regardless of how outrageous) to justify their intended end (securing abortion rights). There is also not much discussion between the two sides regarding what justifies ending an unborn child's life.

Personally, I don't think that there is a moral distinction in the gestation period. It's easier to carry out evil towards people who aren't similar to us. Many white people found it quite easy to perpetrate evil against black people in decades past because they saw themselves as dissimilar. In the same way, I think it's easier to lack compassion and consideration for the unborn because (especially in the early stages) they don't look like we do. We aren't as likely to defend the lives and freedoms of those with whom we cannot identify.

You're definitely right in your observation about pro-lifers focusing on prevention rather than punishment. I think one reason is pragmatism. Many people now (erroneously) consider the right to abortion (or "right to privacy" on which the right to abortion is based) is right up there with Freedom of Speech or Freedom of Religion (which are EXPLICIT constitutional rights). If the practice of abortion is a basic right in the minds of Americans (30 years after Roe vs. Wade), then punishing people for practicing their "constitutional" right will only produce martyrs for the cause and outrage among many Americans. If someone is misinformed by those in the abortion business (and their supporters), then many women could be having abortions out of ignorance (which mitigates the punishment somewhat under legal principles). For example, many pro-life women used to use IUDs as birth control because they didn't know IUDs were actually abortifacients (ending the life after conception). When these women found out the truth, they stopped using IUDs and turned to other forms of birth control. My point is that it is probably easy for women to make decisions regarding abortion based on pro-abortion propaganda which obfuscates the facts behind what they're killing as well as the psychological effects of abortion. (I use the word "pro-abortion" intentionally since most of the sources of this kind of propaganda are profiting from the abortion business and are basically selling the benefits of their "services.")
A former member
Post #: 40
For example, many pro-life women used to use IUDs as birth control because they didn't know IUDs were actually abortifacients (ending the life after conception).

Oh, really?

http://fhi.org/en/rh/...­

http://www.popline.or...­

http://www.aafp.org/a...­

http://findarticles.c...­

http://www.medscape.c...­

http://pt.wkhealth.co...­

I was able to find only ONE scientific article that stated inhibition of implantation was a possible method, and that study has been largely refuted due to its sloppy study protocols. And even it conceded that it was a possible mechanism.

Consequently, the only cites I could find, besides that one flawed study, that asserted IUDs were abortifacients were RIGHT-TO-LIFE sites, and NONE of them offered a cite to support there assertions. Many of them, in fact, claimed hormonal birth control was an abortifacient, when it's a well-established, well-documented FACT that hormal contraception PREVENTS OVULATION. There can be NO CONCEPTUS without an EGG! It's these contrived arguments that make any radical group look like nothing but a bunch of loonies.

Look, the cotroversy over abortion comes down to two issues - when does life start, and does every life have implicit value. Those issues will NEVER be settled so people need to just do what THEY feel is the right thing to do, and leave the legislators, courts, and constitution out of it.

And to support my belief that its largely just a cause taken up to try to enforce one's sexual morals onto society - innocent people die all the time, but only the "preborn" have picketers looking out for them. No one's marching on Washington because a 14-year-old kid was shot to death for his sneakers.
Todd H.
Hedgcoth
Group Organizer
Bedford, TX
Post #: 16
Leah,

If an IUD is not an abortifacient, that's great news. But that one point doesn't really address my main point. If I'm wrong, thanks for the correction. I never knew it was such a controversial question.

I disagree with you about having the legislators, courts and constitution butting out of the issue. As libertarians, we believe that the law, courts and constitution are there to PROTECT freedoms and rights. I don't see it as a subjective matter. ("I don't think my baby has any value; therefore, my baby has no value.") I really don't think "value" has anything to do with the question. If there is no "value" to be seen in a 5-year-old, does that mean her life is truly not valuable? The law has always held the lives of persons to be worthy of protection (whether there is perceived value in that life or not). Even libertarians say that the limit of one's freedom is where he or she interferes with the freedom of another. Killing one's unborn child interferes with that child's right to live (which unfortunately is not protected under the law).

To address your last point, when innocent people die (after they are born), they already have laws to demand that their killer(s) be punished. Further, it is against the law to shoot a 14-year-old for his sneakers. It is not against the law to tear an unborn baby apart limb from limb.

This has nothing to do with forcing one's sexual morals on someone else. Pro-Lifers don't claim that it's ok for married women to kill their unborn children. How the baby is conceived is irrelevant (except for the red herrings of rape and incest that we discussed in prior posts).
Jim B.
user 4260314
Arlington, TX
Post #: 8
Todd;

Let’s assume a couple of things:

!) A broad consensus is reached as to what constitutes conception. As I understand it, conception is a multi-stage process and there’s much disagreement about exactly when it occurs.

2) All of the pro-life advocates magically become pro-choice or simply go away. Non-medical abortions still occur but they are rare.

Under these circumstances, would a woman who uses an abortifacient immediately after conception for non-medical reasons be guilty of murder? As pro-lifers are fond of saying, there is no gray area. Either it is murder or it is not. There is no longer any pro-choice side to pressure your decision. The pragmatic argument that you used to justify the ‘rape and incest clause’ is not available to you anymore. If what exists at the moment of conception has the full moral status of a human being, then you would have to answer ‘yes.’ Although I believe that what the woman would have done is wrong and that society should do everything in its power to prevent it, I cannot justify calling it murder.

Leah brought up a good point when she mentioned how selectively pro-life the pro-lifers tend to be. If only for pragmatic reasons, were pro-lifers to put only a small fraction of their energies into trying to stop war, genocide, and the like, they would buy themselves many times the credibility they have now.
A former member
Post #: 41
The "value" of an individual life comes into play every day.

This came into play during Katrina when people felt like those sitting atop their flooded houses did not "deserve" to be rescued because they were too "stupid" to evacuate, when we all know full well they were too poor and/or ill to evacuate and people used the "deserve" excuse not to help as a way to disguise the fact that they simply felt these poor, uneducated, mostly black people did not offer enough value to society.

It comes into play every day when an organ is offered for donation - a specific protocol is followed to determine that the precious organ goes to the person with the most value to society.

This attitude is pervasive and permanent, and to pretend it doesn't exist is to be intellectually dishonest.

People who assign individual value will overwhelmingly choose a "lump of tissue" that has not breathed a breath and is not wanted over a living, breathing, loved five-year-old.

This and the scientific uncertainty about what constitutes "life" are the reasons abortions persist. Unless and until the pro-lifers address THESE issues they are fighting a losing battle. And frankly, I don't think these issues can be addressed, especially as long as we keep letting poor people drown and refusing organs to the retarded.
Jim B.
user 4260314
Arlington, TX
Post #: 9
Under 2) in my last post, I meant to say "All pro-choice people become pro-life." Sorry for the confusion :)
Todd H.
Hedgcoth
Group Organizer
Bedford, TX
Post #: 19
Jim,

Conception -- An ovum, if left unfertilized, will eventually die. There is a point in time when the cells fuse and the "organism" starts growing and multiplying. If left alone, this "organism" will eventually become a full-grown human being. That point in time is what I consider "conception." I've never heard any disagreement on that, so I'll have to defer to your knowledge of scientific issues. But it sounds like the "disagreements" might be more politically motivated than scientifically motivated.

Magically Becoming Pro-Life (or Pro-Choice) -- I'm not sure I understand your comment here. I assume you are saying that pro-life people "magically" become pro-choice when it comes to RU-486 and the like. As I said before, it's easier to disregard life when it is not so recognizable (like a few cells or a blastocyst). Restricting any killing of unborn children would be better than no restrictions. With RU-486 and other "morning after pills," at least there is no pain involved when the abortionist pulls apart the child's arms, legs and head. Or when the baby has her head punctured and brains sucked out during a "partial birth" abortion. There's nothing wrong with pragmatism per se.

Pro-Life "Credibility" -- The whole issue of "credibility" is another red herring. (Why are the pro-abortion-rights people so hesitatnt to actually argue the issue itself?!) It's a logical fallacy to say that the pro-life position is wrong because the pro-life people are so evil and uncaring (the fallacy of ad hominem). I would be interested to see the pro-abortion-rights people who are working against genocide. Are they signing internet petitions? Are they wearing ribbons on the lapels? Genocide is almost always perpetrated by governments (I can't think of one exception besides abortion, which Jesse Jackson called "black genocide"). The War in Iraq stopped Saddam's genocide of millions of Iraqis but I don't hear the Left celebrating that cessation of genocide. Maybe Leftists should worry about their own credibility before throwing stones in their glass house.

Leah,

I don't think what happened in New Orleans with Katrina was a matter of the victims' lives being less valuable. I think it's a matter of the government officials being more capable. We didn't see the same problems in other Gulf Coast states who were victims of Katrina. The fact is that the municipal and state governments of Louisiana did an exceedingly poor job of dealing with the emergency. The municipal government should have been aware of their more vulnerable neighborhoods. Blaming their own negligence and incompetence on one man 1000 miles away (who has more to do than worry about the emergency readiness of each and every municipality in the USA) is a little silly to me. But there are lots of people who would rather point the finger at someone else than be accountable for their own actions (or inaction in this case).

I don't deny that there are people who are more valuable than others for many reasons. For example, we have the Secret Service protect the President because if something happens to him, it will affect many more people than if something happened to a regular citizen. If money and resources were not a consideration, then I suppose it would be nice for each and every citizen to be protected by an entourage of Secret Service agents. But scarcity means that decisions must be made. Which brings us to organ donors and recipients...

Since transplantable organs are scarce, it is only right to come up with guidelines for distribution. If they weren't scarce, it wouldn't be an issue.

But these scarcity issues have nothing to do with the issue of abortion. Protecting the lives of as many unborn children as possible does not demand that we sacrifice the lives of any other children. There is no trade-off involved.

You said that these issues cannot be addressed as long as there are inequities in saving hurricane victims and organ recipients. That's hogwash. Why must the planets align before we can say anything on the subject of abortion? It's another red herring.

Regarding when life begins, wouldn't it be more prudent to be MORE cautious when it comes to human life rather than being LESS cautious? If you think that thing wiggling behind the bush MIGHT be a human being, do you shoot it and find out later or do you refrain from shooting until you find out for sure?

With all these red herrings, I think we're far off-track of the abortion issue.

May I remind y'all of my two tenets (a change to either might amend my position on abortion):

1. An unborn child is a human life.

2. Killing human beings without justification is wrong.
Jim B.
user 4260314
Arlington, TX
Post #: 10
Todd:

I was trying to set up a hypothetical situation in which there was no longer any pro-choice side of the issue. (I adroitly confused things by reversing 'pro-choice' and 'pro-life'!) I was attempting to look at the issue in isolation from any political consideration. Remember that you justified the pro-life use of the 'rape and incest' exception because of the need to remove that exception as a possible red herring argument by the pro-choice side. Normally, if I asked you "Is a woman who uses an abortifacient immediately after conception guilty of murder?" you could answer "No, because labelling it as murder would be politically too extreme a stance to take given the pro-choice climate of opinion that's developed over the last few decades." But I'm trying to remove that pro-choice climate of opinion to try to find out what you REALLY believe independent of political pressures from the other side.

So I ask it again.

You ask why pro-abortion rights people are so hesitant to argue the issue itself. I find BOTH sides hesitant to argue the issue itself. I've been trying to argue the issue itself here but without much luck. Both sides are evasive. The pro-choice side ASSUMES that what exists in the first tri-mester or so is just a lump of tissue while pro-choicers assume it's a human life or even a human being from the moment of conception. I'm trying to find out what pre-suppositions underlie those assumptions on both sides. And I'm trying to define terms, such as 'human life,' and 'human being.' If I ask you to justify your assumption, merely to restate that assumption in different words is not a response.

Are your two tenets meant to form an argument? If so, it seems that you equivocate from the first to the second tenet between your use of 'human life' and 'human being.'

As far as the 'credibility' issue goes, my point may be ad hominem, and I apologize if it is. It's not meant as such. It's more an argument about consistency. The right has often used such arguments, for instance against 'limousine liberals,' and the like. So your asking whether pro-choice people are signing anti-genocide petitions is entirely a disanalogy. YOUR side is the 'pro-life' side so it's more legitimate to ask you about other pro-life positions. Pro-choicers are not representing themselves as 'pro-life' so asking the questions you're asking is beside the point. As I said, it's a question of consistency, NOT a matter of who is morally superior to whom.

I think this is essentially a metaphysical and possibly theological matter. It could never be scientifically settled, IMO. It goes to the heart of a person's world-view, which is why it's so difficult to discuss without resorting to mischaracterization and emotional appeal.
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