the abortion conversation – the sequel

I really need to do a better job in following up on sequels to earlier posts.  This is the sequel to the original The Abortion Conversation which sparked some good and intense dialogue.

A commenter wrote:

Eugene said:
“However, I just do not believe we can legislate it.  Without going into all the details, the layers over abortion is so complex that even after extensive research, I can’t understand how a country like the United States can enforce abortion and pay for the enforcement – if it were to be turned illegal.”

Instead of “abortion”, replace it with any other crime; like murder, rape, slavery, theft.  How does it read then?  Is cost any reason not to criminalize an act where another person is harmed?  Obviously, we still have murders and other crimes even though it’s illegal, but that doesn’t mean we should allow it.

And another commenter with the following thoughts:

Why does Pastor Cho want to suspend the fight of faith and turn one of the roles of the church (loving people) over to the government?  (The government committed to maximize death.)  Why does he evaluate moral judgments on the basis of fiscal convenience and not on the Bible?
If abortion is wrong, then it remains wrong, no matter the cost…

As I shared in the first post, I believe emphatically that abortion is wrong and as Christians, we should graciously hold and believe in everything that upholds the sanctity of life – which includes protecting the lives of the unborn.

But how?

The government should be involved but how does a government legislate and enforce such a value?  And I agree with others that the church needs to be careful not to relinquish – blindly or in totality – our responsibilities to a mostly secular government. As I wrote earlier:

Rather than legislating it, I wonder how abortions can be reduced by speaking and appealing to the Heart and Soul of a person and to make all necessary provisions if a person decides to have that baby In short, can we maintain choice but do all that we can to preserve and ensure the life of an unborn?  This is where most of us fall short.

I find it incredibly frustrating and naive when Christians take a stance of being against abortion at all costs but are unwilling to yield to issues that have direct correlation to abortions: sex education in schools [starting in middle school], health care benefits for low income families and women, post birth care and benefits, usage of contraceptives, etc.

Hypothetically, if abortion is made illegal, I still want to know:  How do you enforce it?  How about those who cross country borders?  How about underground markets?

And this is a true story from many years ago when I was a much younger pastor.  For those who hold the view that abortion should be “illegal” and punishable by law, how would you navigate this situation?

A couple comes to me in tears and confesses that they’ve already had an abortion.  They are parents to four young children and when they discovered they had became unexpectedly pregnant with a fifth child, they were overwhelmed by shock, confusion, exhaustion, and a myriad of many emotions and chose to tragically abort the child.

Never mind my pastoral response or even the pastoral ethics involved in this situation.  If abortions are illegal and punishable by law…

  • How would you enforce the law?
  • Who goes to jail?
  • The mother?  Both parents?
  • What happens to the four children?

Your overarching view may be clear but the layers are very complex which again lead me to this question: Can we maintain choice but do all that we can to preserve and ensure the life of an unborn?

Now that Barack Obama has been elected as the next President of the United States, I want to hold him accountable to his words that he will “listen”:

As president, my goal is to bring people together, to listen to them, and I don’t think that’s any Republican out there who I’ve worked with who would say that I don’t listen to them, I don’t respect their ideas, I don’t understand their perspective. And my goal is to get us out of this polarizing debate where we’re always trying to score cheap political points and actually get things done.

Since abortion continues to be one of several divisive issues in this country, I’d love to see the Obama administration show a quarterly “report” on numerous issues of our country that include local and global poverty, jobs, education, and abortion…amongst other issues.

59 Replies to “the abortion conversation – the sequel”

  1. I’ve been asking this same question of late, “Why can’t we be pro-choice AND pro-life?” Pro-life from the aspect of doing all we can to preserve the life of infants (and a myriad of other areas where ‘life’ is infringed upon), and pro-choice from the aspect that as a husband and father of 2 girls, I don’t want the government to choose ANYTHING for them! I realize it’s a stretch, but if a government is given control over a woman’s life for this, could it not be possible in the future for a government to say “That’s it, we’re overpopulated…no more babies for you.”

  2. I resonate with a lot of what you said here Eugene.

    This is the thought I keep hearing in my head as I read this though…

    Does it matter what obstacles are in the way of protecting life? Or should it matter? We’re talking about a life God values as much as mine or anyone elses. That is worth fighting for.

  3. Who goes to jail if abortion is illegal?

    You are forgetting the doctor/clinic staff who performed the abortion, eugene. Surely they are held more liable for performing the illegal activity, for having an underground clinic, etc.

    Even today as abortion is legal, there are so many doctors and clinic staff who should be charged with crimes of coercion and deception. Is all information about the child/fetus given to the woman? Absolutely not. Do they do their best to let the woman make an informed decision? Absolutely not. There are also many many many stories of women who changed their mind at the last minute, and are forced – literally held down – to go through with the abortion. Women who have questions and concerns and are scared – they want the truth – are manipulated and deceived in abortion clinics.

    Choice? Whatever. Re-evaluate that word. There is no choice inside an abortion clinic. Legal or not.

  4. I did a lot of research on this issue during the recent presidential campaigns and found some disturbing numbers.

    The most disturbing is that 70 percent of women who have abortions claim to be Christian.

    The other startling fact, found on this site, is how closely poverty is linked to abortion. Women living below the poverty line are four times more likely to have abortions. Three-fourths of women who have an abortion do so, in part, because they feel they can’t afford the child. A true poverty, indeed.
    Another shocking fact is that abortion rates are lower with a Democrat in office because that’s the party that helps the poor. What president saw the largest drop in abortions during his time in office? Bill Clinton.

    It’s a pipe dream to think changing a law will change things, and that the law will be changed anyway. It’s been 30 years and Bush had the Congress and judges to do so and he did absolutely nothing to overturn Roe V. Wade. Abortion reduction must be the focus and it is the focus of the Democrats. It’s part of their new platform on abortion (Thanks to Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo), Democrats for Life is pushing to reduce abortions by 95 percent in 10 years and Obama has long taken the stance on reducing abortions. Even before he ran for president.
    Honestly – what have the Republicans done?

    I feel this is a task Christians, not just Democrats and Republicans, should be leading — especially when 70 percent of abortions are done by Christians.

  5. The commenter in the post wrote: “Instead of ‘abortion’, replace it with any other crime; like murder, rape, slavery, theft. How does it read then?”

    That’s an interesting perspective. What if we were to replace the word “abortion” with “usury,” which is spoken out against throughout the entirety of the Holy Scriptures. Perhaps Christians should mobilize around legislation that would enforce banks and other lending agencies to desist from charging interest. That might put a damper on the Global North’s exploitation, and often times enslavement, of those in the South. It would also work to uplift the economically marginalized in this country.

    Thanks for the provocative post!

  6. I think the government should stop trying to tell women what they can and cannot do with their own bodies. Shouldn’t this come down to personal choice? It is nice to live with the notion that all babies will be saved if anti-abortion laws are in place, but who is going to provide for these children. I doubt that the government is going to come to their rescue!

  7. I find myself wanting to breakdown the issue into categories of the time continuum for an abortion…from the morning-after-pill all the way to the partial birth abortion.

    For many, “life” may start at conception, and yet I have to think about “face.” The face is one of the clearest pictures of God (the Imago Dei…which, I know is very internal as well as external). The face is a very true window into how we are known and also the best way we hide is to often “cover” our face. A face is not present (in flesh) until the baby is born. Partial-birth abortion marrs the face, so I am mostly not okay with that (health concerns for the mother make it extra sticky for me….but aside from that, I just don’t see any good in Partial-birth abortion)

    Also, I have to think about gender, because gender is also a major way that we step in our created-ness…for me, knowing the gender of the child early (usually four months into the pregnancy, via ultrasound) gives it more “life.” Obviously legislating the knowledge of gender (of babies/fetuses) is not possible, but it gives me perspective for how I view life.

    I think too often we Christians view God as the “creator who has finished” as if he/she did it and it’s done. But if I believe in the resurrection and the Kingdom of God, then I believe that God is in the midst of restoring all things…still restoring. Which keeps people like you and me from being pompus assholes and thinking we’ve “arrived.”

    Why can’t the same principle apply to how life is created? Is conception the beginning of “life?” or is conception the beginning of “creating a life?” And if its the latter, does stopping that “creative process” early on cause as much damage as it does when the process is almost done (9 months into a pregnancy?)

    …and let’s talk about why that process might be stopped. There are numerous reasons a woman may choose to stop that process, but in cases of health issues and rape and incest alone, I see the potential of more harm being done to the woman if she is mandated to go through the entire pregnancy instead of “stopping God’s creative process” early on, because part of “God’s creative process” involves that woman, she is still being restored/created by God as well….and she has a face and a gender.

    Now, some may argue that a heartbeat is a big part of the Imago Dei, and a heartbeat begins very soon after conception, but I would argue that to a relational God the face and the gender are primary and the heartbeat is more functional and secondary to knowing our beauty and glory and depravity and darkness. The heartbeat is still essential (life without it is impossible), but I know plenty of people with a heartbeat that want nothing to do with the substance of life (relationships: faces of gendered people that speak to our glory and depravity, etc.)

    So I think Christianity’s response to abortion has to be more fluid and has to keep in mind the ongoing creative process that God invites us to (participating, but still having choice). Is stopping God’s creative process (i.e. having an abortion) at any point a good thing? Probably not, but abortion is not just thwarting in the creative process of an unborn child, it is also perhaps allowing the creative process of a formally pregnant woman to continue.

    How/if to legislate? Hell, I don’t know. 🙂 Because it seems like there are so many other ways that God’s creative process is being destructively shut down (human trafficking, homelessness, AIDS, healthcare, domestic violence, sexual abuse) where faces are literally and relationally and emotionally being marred…should we instead focus our energy there first (as far as legislation goes)?…especially considering the fact that abortions will still happen (if made illegal)…which then causes those abortive mothers to “cover” their faces and seek a hidden abortion in a shameful environment (that feels pretty non-Jesus-like to me)? How can you grieve the loss of a baby when you are being shamed? (and let’s not make the mistake of saying that abortive mothers don’t go through some sort of grieving process in their own way…does hiding and shame help that???

  8. Whatabout the slavery comparison? Or how about Civil Rights? Brave Christians and politicians fought against the “right to chose” to enslave a person or deny them the right to vote.

    If “progressive” Christians today had applied this same logic , “Can we maintain choice but do all that we can to preserve and ensure the life of an unborn?” to slavery and civil rights it would sound like this, “Can we maintain the rights of slaveholders and segregationists while we do all we can to help them choose to liberate their slave or give people of color voting rights?”

    Apply it to contemporary issues of poverty and economic justice. Why should we force people to contribute tax dollars to AIDS relief and clean water based on our values if priority is given to “choice”. Why not just “encourage” individuals to give, rather than make compulsory tax revenue pay for these things?

  9. Eugene, I’ve often felt that the church, of which I’m part of, places an unpurportunate amount of emphasis on issues like abortion and homosexuality and not enough emphasis on the issues Jesus seemed to speak on–social matters like wealth and poverty, justice, care and compassion. Also, it seems that the pro-life movement is really an anti-abortion movement, which is fine, but lacks an emphasis on all other “life” issues, like war and capital punnishment.

    Now as a Christian I’m not about to support the pro-choice movement, for that too is more of a pro-abortion movement rather than a call for democracy.

    Therefore, I propose a tertium-quid–a third alternative. What’s needed is a movement that values life in ALL its forms and approaches the abortion issue from the causal standpoint–why would a woman abort a baby? Is it ’cause she just hates babies, or could it be about poverty, social stigma, mental health issues, ignorance, lack of support, and the list goes on.

    Now, when I have this talk with some of my evangelical collegues, I’m scoffed at for what they percieve as a”leftist” or “intellectual” leaning and I’m not really alligning myself with the most vulnerable in society–unborn babies.

    Do you or anyone know of that third alternative movement, one that really honors life in its totality or do I have to begin inventing it–which may take me a while ‘casue I’ve got other stuff going too.

    Thanks for reading and Eugene, another well put post my brother.

  10. Thanks for exploring this beyond a superficial level. I too am against abortion, but don’t see legislation as a way to make a change.

    Somethings to consider if abortion were made illegal. Approx 48million abortions were performed in the US since Roe v. Wade. I tried doing my own voodoo economics to calculate how much it would cost tax payers to provide for these children until age 18, but you can plug your own numbers and figure the costs. Also in 1999 there were 127,000 kids under 16yrs old in foster care who were eligible to be adopted, approx 500,000 were in the system. Why aren’t these kids being adopted? What happens when more are thrown into the system?
    Not to mention population concerns.

    I am only looking at this in a logistical manner and something that needs to be considered. Abortion is a symptom of a problem, something needs to be done before penetration not conception. :o)

    Unfortunately the statistics I have seen show college aged individuals have the highest percentage of abortions, they already know the risks of unprotected sex. How do you educate the educated?

  11. I know a person who formerly worked in the abortion industry. That is the term he used. He says it is a business. The point is to convince pregnant women they need one, so the industry can make money. He says there are a number of people in the industry who would be happy if it were made illegal, because then they can charge more, deal in cash and not have to deal with government regulation, insurance companies, and so on.

    Is this not just a part of the American medical system? Go to the doctor, who says, “Here’s a prescription for your problem” We think the insurance pays for most of it, but in reality we all pay for it. Then we see the doctor again and this time he tells us we need tests, hospitalization and operations. If you know someone well who is retired from that system they will probably admit that much of what they do is unnecessary, and is done to make money. Their treatments often cause more problems. Bad for us. More money for them.

    I hate abortion and think God does too. But can it be legislated out of existence? Does anyone think it will ever disappear as long as people know how to do it? As long as there is money to be made, there will be people who want to make it this way and convince themselves that what they are doing is o.k. – They are “helping out” distressed pregnant women, making sure that every child is a “wanted child”, and, oh yes, lining their wallets.

    Abortion is mostly about money, not morality. Kind of like pornography, huh? These are industries that prey on their victims and do not care that they are destroying people’s lives. Their god is money.

  12. I know there are many layers to this issue. I know several people who work very hard to provide assistance to prospective mothers on the fringes. Personally in my area there are a wide variety of resources available to expectant mothers… not that we have ‘arrived’… but it has not stopped the influx of abortions. Furthermore, many states now have ‘safe haven’ laws where you can drop your baby off without legal ramifications at designated hospitals and fire stations.

    To say its unenforceable is partially true. It can not be enforced 100%… but that is a poor argument for not having a law. If abortion were banned, the majority of clinics would be shut down and there would be less access to abortion options. It would drastically reduce the number of abortions. If we said anything that is not enforceable 100% should not be a law… well no more speed limits, red lights mean go and altria would start selling meth. Surely there would be underground clinics and those who cross borders to terminate their pregnancies, but does that mean we should not stop what we can?

    As for your story on the family who had an abortion I would ask this: Would they have had the abortion if there had been no legal clinics?? If there had been no way to look it up in the phone book or be referred by their doctor… if there was no facility that was a legitmate medical center, with a physician and medical insurance and a license saying they are fit to perform the procedure, would they still have the abortion?

    As for enforcing the law, I am not sure how to approach the parents. Maybe they are good parents, but if a good parent broke any other law they would still suffer the legal ramifications regardless of having children. I am not sure why this would be any different…. if they knew they could be prosecuted and go to jail and lose their children, would they still have had an abortion?

    I would definitely emphasize going after the clinics. This could be done by both federal and local law enforcement.

    Abortion is big business and there are a lot of people out there making money off of it. Lobbyists have their dirty hands in this issue!

  13. Okay, just so I understand, Eugene thinks (emphatically) that abortion is wrong and we should “protect the lives” of the unborn, which makes abortion synonymous with killing, and since this is the killing of an innocent, then it is murder.

    Using your logic then, we should allow all murderers to walk free until we can get through all the “layers” of murder. After all, the man who shoots someone is no more or no less guilty of commiting murder than the person responsible for the murder (abortion) of the innocent unborn child.

    But one may argue that “abortion” is a moral decision based off of religion and we shouldnt regulate moral issues….that is called moral relativism. After all, Muslims who behead infidels are very religous individuals. And some of them beleive theyre religion allows submission by the sword. But I guess we shouldnt prosecute those fellows either, since moral issues based off of religion shouldnt be a part of a secular government. What about tribal religions that force vaginal mutilation or “honor” killings which occur right here in our own country….those are all religous ideals, should we wait to get through all the layers on those as well?

    As for Obama keeping his word, he has already spoken of sending more TAX dollars overseas for abortion and more embryonic reaearch via executive order:

    But at least Planned Parenthood is happy, after promising them that the first thing he would do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act, it looks like hes also going to begin funding the UNs Population Fund, which sometimes forces Chinese women to have abortions:

    SO heres the suggestion du jour, lets all make a collective effort to volunteer at pregnancy centers, lets all tell our elected officials that giving Planned Parenthood $300 million a year in tax dollars is a misallocation of our money (after all, we all agree abortion is wrong -emphatically- so why ahould we PAY for it) and lets demand that those monies be allocated toward sex education, poverty elimination, basic fatherhood (amd motherhood) skills and any other obstacle preventing us from uncovering the “layers” of abortion.

  14. Eugene,

    Looks like you’ve invited a troll or two to your blog. In addition to what you shared, we really need to emphasize education in THE HOME. Parents need to do their part right now to speak to their children.

  15. I’m not familiar with the politics and issues surrounding abortion. Sorry all, but I haven’t lived in the States for almost 7 years. But after witnessing the miracle of my son developing and then his birth, I say life, all life is very, very precious. The Bible says that GOD is the author of life. Children are a blessing. It must really sadden our LORD Jesus so greatly when any child is aborted.

  16. I hope that I’m not being considered one of the “Trolls” that Dawn is outing. I’m a “progressive” Christian, I’m big into justice, and I (somewhat reluctantly) voted Obama. Because I’m big into justice, I’m big into the protection of the vulnerable (the sick, the poor, the minority); and no one is more vulnerable than the unborn.

    The new Christian left has to learn that it will never get a hearing from prolifers if it forfeits the unborn on their agenda to protect all of God’s vulnerable creatures.

  17. PE, can you explain what you mean by “maintaining choice”? Do you mean continuing to allow abortions legally? If abortion is wrong, are you saying it is wrong because it is taking a life, or for some other reason? If it is taking a life, what is the difference between abortion and infanticide?

  18. @dan: i believe the majority would be in agreement that infanticide is wrong. it’s clear that many are in disagreement about abortion. that would be the difference.

    it’s clear to me that it’s wrong but how do i communicate that to others who simply don’t feel that way.

  19. You begin by defunding the highly profitable Planned Parenthood of the hundreds of millions of dollars they receive in Tax payer money. You do this by exposing theyre profitablility and their resolve to maintain their idealogies regardless of the circumstance. In this video, we see a young woman pretending to be a 13 year old who has been impregnated by a 31 year old. What does PP do? Watch:

  20. This is only my opinion of why abortion won’t be outlawed. It is already legal, the viability of life and spontaneous abortion/miscarriage, lack of autonomy of fetus- the fetus is dependent upon choices of the parents, i.e. illicit drug use, physical/sexual/mental (causing physiological and chemical/hormonal changes) abuse, malnutrition among other factors.
    Again I am against abortion but again I believe we need to attack the values that make it an acceptable decision by some.
    If life begins at conception as well, then how to we rectify in-vitro fertilization?
    How many of us are willing to adopt? Why are there kids in foster care (who are willfully abandoned) if we value life?
    We need to see why females are having abortions and work to change those factors in our society, but that is a far more intensive task than passing legislation.

    Side note
    I only recently learned about Margret Sanger the founder of Planned Parenthood and her eugenic beliefs to “control” the growth of black families. I wasn’t around then but I wonder how people viewed abortion during that time.

  21. Dadofiandi:

    You correctly write that the fetus is dependent upon choices of the parents, of a fetus’ lack of autonomy and his viablility of life……these are reasons you contest abortion wont be allowed. Isnt a toddler just as dependent? Or the quadraplegic or the mentally challnged?

    I dont know if you have children, but certainly a two year old isnt autonomous and his chances for viability on his own are none. Certainly a two year old can be abused, malnoursished and impacted by drug abuse. I am confused as to why you use these as reasons why abortion “wont be outlawed”…I see no difference between the unborn child and the born child given those reasons.

    As for the number of babies up for adoption, as a Guardian ad Litem i can attest to the
    crazy red tape that prohibits potential parents from adopting, hence, for those who can afford it, many Americans travel overseas where cash talks. I do agree that the root of the problem needs to be addressed and I think that process could be started by using the $330 million we give to PP every year to address those issues…it would be a start.

  22. Eugene asks: it’s clear to me that it’s wrong but how do i communicate that to others who simply don’t feel that way.

    It’s not too hard, really. First, people know intuitively that murder is wrong. So, all they need to know is that babies are human beings with rights, too. The more that people peek into the womb, the more they recognize the humanity in there, and they can’t abort.

    Women don’t abort after they see an ultrasound of that beautiful new child within them. Also, it helps if people get to see what aborted babies look like. The Web has plenty of hard but informative images of abortions–beautiful feet, beautiful hands, beautiful arms and legs and faces. But horrifically murdered. People know its wrong when they see it, and so they must see it.

    1. @tiger: we all know. many agree. you don’t need to preach to the choir.

      but how do you legislate that?

      hypothetically, your daughter or sister has an abortion? we know your views but what do you do since she has committed murder. she goes to jail? you prosecute her doctors? you go after the boyfriend or husband?

  23. @Brett
    Your arguments are rationale to someone who holds the same world view however your trying to convince a side that believes a fetus is not a living entity.
    My argument about in vitro is based on the embryos which are stored and/or implanted in the mother knowing that there will be “collateral” damage, i.e. some or all embryos may die. I’ll admit my knowledge is not very good, but that is my understanding. So if human life begins at conception and if my knowledge is correct, well it puts things in a different perspective for some.
    My argument regarding the lack of autonomy of the fetus v. that of a child, is a fetus cannot be put into protective custody or raised by a relative, it is inside the woman. The fetus is a part of her, and she has the ultimate control, it can’t exist without her. It is not autonomous because it has no control of its life, therefore the mother is the proxy. Once the child is born it has potentially different agents for its autonomy.

    The question of viability is in regards to the fetus, if it could exist outside the body of a woman. Not that of a child who is viable and could survive through a surrogate, etc. Miscarriages/spontaneous abortions happen, the argument goes then it proves the fetus is not viable, until it is birthed. Just because an embryo is living (as are sperm cells and ova) does not guarantee it will become a living entity, i.e. outside the mother.

    If abortion is made illegal, we have to wonder if a woman has a miscarriage (of any kind- induced or natural) could she be prosecuted for murder? Or if she left the country and had an abortion where it is legal, could she still be charged for murder on her return? There are a myriad of rabbit trails we could run down.

    I just think people have to change for abortion to stop. Murder is illegal but it still happens, and I don’t think people consider the law when they decide to kill someone. Even the death penalty does not decrease the murder rates (unless things have changed in the past 20yrs). Abortions will continue regardless of laws.

    Dad of I(saac) and I(an).

  24. Hi Eugene. How do we do it?

    We legislate it the same way we democrats legislate everything, from public smoking and emissions to trans-fat and hate crimes. We use the tools of laws and law enforcement. That’s how you govern society.

    As democrats, we pro-life democrats are the only ones who understand the power of justice and the legal system to shape the future. Using regulatory tools, a government can shut down whole companies and industries. You simply make it illegal to provide abortion services. That will shut down the Big-Box-Retailer-like abortion clinic industry.

    Any time someone tries to launch an abortion store after that, the authorities simply step in and close up shop. There are something like one million plus abortions in America each year. These simple changes to the law will reduce abortion to under 75,000 (the so-called back alley jobs).

    Law enforcement can’t fully erase all illegal behaviors, but it will severely reduce them. No one needs to go after the “abortion consumers.” You just shut down the abortion industry CEOs and their abortion stores.

  25. Hello Dad of Ian:

    No one prosecutes natural disasters or misfortune, so no one is responsible for miscarriage.

    However, if a man beats a pregnant woman and in the process kills her child in the womb, that man can currently be prosecuted for murder. So, our laws already recognize that a child in the womb is a person with rights (so long as the mother wants the child).

    If a woman has an abortion in another country, there’s nothing that can be done about that. Laws aren’t easily transferrable across national boundaries. So, there aren’t any “rabbit trails” we have to go down that aren’t already common to everyday operations of legal systems.

    People don’t “have to change” on their own for abortion–or nearly any other behavior–to be cut down severely. Law and law enforcement changes people’s behavior.

    Murder happens, but it is far more rare because it’s not acceptable and it’s punishable by life in prison. But abortion is a whole “murder industry” carried out at “murder stores.” So, breaking up the public industry side of this and closing up the clinics will severely reduce abortions by probably 85% or more. That’s an amazing gain for social justice and righteousness for a people—especially babies.

    Pro-life democrats are the only ones who can get this done.

  26. Dad:

    Thanks for the clarifications. I would differ in opinion when you state that parturition has to occur for the baby to have different agents for autonomy, only because viability is a question that has yet to answered…remember the 23 week baby that survived last year? Also, partial birth abortion as well as Live Birth abortion, where parturition has occured, kinda defeats the premise that the baby has to be born to gain other methods of survival. How many times do we read of a baby being saved from a dying woman? BUt I do get your point.

    While I dont think its possible anytime soon to legislate against abortion I do think there are stands we can make against partial birth and late term abortions – as well as public monies going to abortion organizations.

    As for the many rabbit trails like miscarriage, was the miscarriage intentional or done out of neglect or malice: ie: the same laws as any other murder or accidental killing would apply….if a woman slipped over and murdered someone in a foreign country, it would be upto that countrys laws to determine criminality, which is how it stands now. Again, this would be only if abortion was determined to be murder here, which I dont think can happen.

    As for your comments regarding murder rates….are you suggesting we shouldnt have laws against murder? I know your not, but look at the flip side of the coin….do you think murder would increase if all laws were taken off the books? I am pretty sure it would be a blood bath out there, similar in nature to the murder of 50 million babies since Roe v Wade.

    Thanks for the civil dialogue, and heres my ulimate point:

  27. As I wrote before, I dont think we can immediately make abortion illegal and I agree people need to change first. I also think that pushing the argument to extremes like this is sometimes used as a way to just say forget about it…..we cant make abortion illegal, so lets just ignore the whole problem. Thats throwing the baby out with the bath water and I hate to say it, buts sometimes I think its very intentional and that people have no desire to actually make a stand against the issue.

    So as Christians we should be practical about it and take it one baby step at a time:

    Starting with the reallocation of public funds from abortion organizations to educational programs on parenthood, jobs skills and poverty fighting measures. We should also be taking stands against partial birth abortion and the Freedom of Choice Act and implementing ultrasound laws to educate the mother on the development of her child.

    I beleive we can not legislate morality, which is God given, but that we must continue to legislate against immorality, but with the abortion issue, it must be taken slowly and in very delieberate, yet small, steps. Now go love on Isaac and Ian and I will love on my baby girls, thats a good start for both of us.

  28. The law in question was passed by Bush who views the fetus as a living entity.

    My example of the pregnant woman leaving to have an abortion and then returning to the US having had an abortion or if she has one serendipitously in the US will she be charged with murder?

    My question about miscarriage is if a woman has one maybe under suspicious circumstances or perhaps a jilted partner says she purposely did a, b, or c to cause a miscarriage can she be prosecuted?

    I think the way abortion clinics are being run need to be changed, as it is legal currently. If a woman is having one for economic reasons; economic support should be offered ( with stipulations and contingencies ), the possibility of adoption regardless of the condition of the child (adoption laws would have to be changed as well), etc. We need to address the reasons why they occur and not beat our heads against the wall.

    Well its going to be at least 8yrs until a pro life democrat is eligible to run for election so what is to be done in the meantime?

  29. Dadofian,

    People who cause miscarriages already may be prosecuted. Every time a man beats a pregnant woman and kills the baby he may be tried for murder. This is as it should be.

    There is so much economic assistance for pregnant women right now that there is no reason a pregnant woman needs to fear. The pro-life movement has worked overtime to make this relief available. All the woman needs to do is go to a crisis pregnancy center, get aid, and assign the baby with wonderful adoption agencies.

    While pro-life democrats like much of what Obama offers, we know that FOCA will force christian doctors and christian hospitals to abort babies or be shut down. So, that’s coming.

    Probably the best thing that can be done in the absence of legal measures is to create great life advertising on radio and Internet that direct pregnant woman to great adoption and crisis pregnancy centers to get help. Such ads can show the beauty of the baby in the womb and express the relief of seeing that baby placed with adoptive homes. A sustained advertising push can be very educational to mass society.

  30. Tiger

    To add to your comments about a mother going to a pregnancy center for assistance in finding adoptive parents, in worse case scenarios, the mother doesnt even have to go through those steps.

    In my state, a mother of a newborn can drop off a baby within 7 days of birth at hospitals, fire stations, etc. Her anonymity is protected as well. I think Washingtons law is 72 hours. This quickly turns a pro abortions argument of the economic burden of raising a child for 18 years off the table, and turns into an argument of inconvenience of the mother to carry a child throughout gestation.

    The pregnancy center I volunteer at will make sure there is no financial burden placed on the mother for the birth and I suspect most centers are like that, if not a plethera of other programs, hence the financial aspect of birthing is taken off the table as well.

  31. Great points, Bret. There really is no reason for any couple to kill their baby. Perhaps a sustained “beauty of life and adoption” advertising campaign should be carried out, especially in light of the fact that little progress on the legal front seems likely for the next 8 years.

    But, I know advertising is expensive and would require backing from big donors. But it could be done.

  32. Well the message of economic help is not making it out to the General Public, myself included, as it is still a factor. How much assistance is offered? Does it offset the cost of raising a child? Should it?

    I don’t think creating unwanted babies is the answer either. I know many of the children who are older who have been left at safe havens have developmental or behavioral issues. Raising a healthy child is hard enough, imagine raising an autistic child. The government does provide a level of care, but it is hard to get adequate help or financial assistance, private health insurance is worse. If there is a comprehensive plan for these contingencies great.

    There also typically isn’t one reason why a woman has an abortion there are numerous factors and emotions as well. It is not a simple decision or choice.

    To reiterate I don’t think the law will change, your arguments are valid for those who are anti-abortion, those who are pro-abortion do not see your logic. There needs to be a common ground to begin any serious discussion or change.
    Its like trying to prove God’s existence to an atheist using the Bible and quoting scripture.

    I appreciate the discourse and challenges but like Eugene mentioned at the outset this is a very complex issue and a forum doesn’t quite address it adequately.

    My biggest fear is if our attitudes don’t change about life and abortion is eliminated we will have roughly 1.5million unwanted children per year in the US alone, can we fill that gap? I don’t mean foster care I mean families taking these children in (regardless of health, race, etc) . Does your future allow for gay adoption or single parent adoptions or is better for the state to raise the child?
    I think we need to change the devaluation of sex (read Sex God -r bell) and the devaluation of life. That doesn’t come from laws, but from beliefs and values.

    I don’t think we will change each others views. I have said my piece. Bret keep up your volunteer work its appreciated. Tiger, I am sure we will butt heads in the future. :o)


  33. PS….if you want to make an immediate impact for children….become a guardian ad litem…while exhausting and ugly, its still wonderful at the same time

  34. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere. If we’re going to fight to protect innocent children from disease, abuse, violence, and exploitation by way of legal means– why is it “too extreme” for Christians to fight for the legal rights of the unborn? If you really don’t think that the government has any role in legislating abortion, why not become a libertarian and push for the government to get out of the business of morality in general? Its a double standard to argue that we need more civic action for some matters of justice but not for the unborn.

  35. A second thought: Eugene wrote about women’s oppression this week and the Christian response to it. It should be noted that globally, female children are most often the discriminatory targets of abortion.

    Abortion is not about people who don’t like sex; its about justice.

  36. @matt k: we’re going in circles and ending up in the same place.

    i agree with you.

    the question is, “how does one go about that civic action?” if you’re advocating for complete illegality with punishment, jail time for everyone one involved, suspensions, revoking of licenses, building more jails, etc…you’re certainly welcome to that position. that, however, is not my position.

  37. Eugene, there are opportunities for prolife Christians to engage in civic action to protect the unborn that don’t necessarily mean throwing mothers in prison. For one, putting some legal restrictions on elective abortion-as-birth control will save children. Abortion providers who cannot produce reasonable medical justification for their services will simply be shut down. Yes, some will seek to circumvent the law, but many more will not. Secondly, prolifers need to be politically involved because prochoicers have enjoyed the courts inclination for 30 years to stiffle any effort at compromise on the abortion issue. Pro-choice courts and politicians have blocked barbaric partial-birth abortion procedures, they’re efforts include silencing prolife protesters, and the FOCA could jeopardize healthcare providers freedom of conscience– robbing Catholic hospitals billions in public funding for their prolife principles. Though I did vote for Obama, I will passionately argue against the FOCA.

    I recognize total ban on all abortion is not going to happen. But the pro-choice movement is fighting tooth-and-nail to keep an absolute status quo of abortion on demand. The fight for prolifers on the legal front needs to be to protect the conscience of prolife doctors and to put reasonable restrictions on late term abortion. Apart from that, I of course agree that the fight for the unborn includes things like economic justice and healthcare access. I’m not a right-wing fundamentalist, I just want to protect the vulnerable with all the tools afforded us: our money, our support, and our vote.

    While it might be an exclusively religious principle to believe that even the tiny zygote is deserving of human rights, it is not beyond reasonability for even our pluralistic society to find some kind of moral ground to stand on regarding abortion– specifically, if we currently legally/medically measure THE END of human life by way of brain activity, can we not say that human life begins at the first stage of fetal brain activity? (About ten weeks into gestation). My personal stringent ethic of life my not be legislated, but its worth the effort to find some moral grounding even in our pluralistic society.

    Just like other justice movements in our nations history, a legal victory against injustice does not mean there is no mercy for those formerly culpable in it. So I find the argument about throwing mothers in jail as a bit of a straw man.

  38. Late to the conversation here…

    I’m a pro-life social worker who, up until very recently, did not think anti-abortion laws should be legislated for many of the same reasons discussed here. I thought there were better ways for the church to advocate for life- promoting adoption, assisting single mothers, and caring for orphans. Judging from the rhetoric that is coming out of vehement anti-abortion conservative circles, we can probably assume that if abortion does become illegal, those very people will turn a blind eye to poor and struggling single mothers and orphans. Why do I think this? Because it’s happening now. Our foster care system, which is really just a glorified orphanage, is already bursting at the seams with a scarcity or resources. What results is a generation of orphans who have not experienced love and grow up to become a much more serious public policy issue. Freakonomics has a very interesting theory about the relationship between abortion rates and crime (i.e. aborted babies would otherwise become criminals) that I think holds some water.

    However, I don’t think this justifies Christians to demarcate between personal and social justice. If we truly believe that abortion breaks God’s heart, then we as a constituent voice, need to prophetically proclaim this to American society. As much as the religious right enrages me, I do appreciate their diehard commitment to keeping abortion on the moral compasses of most Americans. There are many countries in the world (i.e. China) where abortion has become commonplace and viewed as another form of contraception. I do think America is a heartbeat away from that kind of thinking.

    As Christians, would we ever endorse infanticide of baby girls as is common in many countries? No. If it were to ever become a policy issue, Christians left and right would be united to criminalize such an act. I am growing more and more convinced that the abortion issue is becoming one of the most critical moral issues of our day. However, our advocacy must MUST MUST be paired with a strategic plan to love and care for single mothers and orphans. I will not support any anti-abortion cause/movement that fails to address this.

  39. Just thought I’d add that when I say “strategic plan”, I mean the implementation of real public policy that will help both deter abortion and assist those who have chosen to keep their babies. I have journeyed very closely with a formerly homeless single mother and she was able care for herself and her baby by getting a section 8 housing voucher, food stamps, medi-cal (health care) for herself and her child, and getting her tuition waived so that she can go back to school. Within 2 years, she will go from being homeless to becoming totally self-sufficient. She originally became homeless because her wealthy boyfriend refused to raise a child with her and abandoned her. Life happened and she got screwed. But with the help of these government programs (and the fellowship of our church), she is able to get back on her two feet. These were the programs that were fought tooth-and-nail by “liberal” politicians. And I dare say that these are the programs that Christians should support. It’s not ideal- I dream of the day when the Church can be the main provider of such goods and services, but it’s not gonna happen. And if abortion does become illegal, then we are going to have to advocate for an expansion of these programs, especially to conservative states where they are lacking. It means more tax dollars. More volunteering. More, gasp, government involvement.

  40. Well, as of today, President Obama has just made abortion even more accesible, certainly this will increase the number of abortions worldwide:

    WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Friday lifted restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups that provide abortion services or counseling abroad, reversing a policy of his Republican predecessor George W. Bush, a spokesman said.

  41. Pingback: GENERATE BLOG
  42. I just found the post. I wanted to reword one of your comments –

    “A couple comes to me in tears and confesses that they’ve already had an issue with their family. They are parents to four young children and when they discovered they had became unexpectedly pregnant with a fifth child, they were overwhelmed by shock, confusion, exhaustion, and a myriad of many emotions and chose to tragically terminate their oldest child.”

    Morally, this is the same as the situation you described. Hopefully, we can agree that the complexities of the situation don’t prevent us from acting to preserve justice.

    My apologies if someone else had already made this same point.

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