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Meaning, Belief, and Abortion

June 8, 2009

In two previous posts (Taking Language at its Word? and Meaning Matters) I have argued that, since words come cloaked in meaning, we ought not assume that the truth is readily available in them. In other words, telling the truth is not a matter of saying the right words, it is a matter of conveying the right meaning.

This hardly seems controversial. And if it is to you, then, scroll through the comments of this blog (and others) and find what I mean in all that bickering over what words mean. If it were only a matter of using factual information, language, images, and so on, then, telling the truth would be quite simple and we would have very little to talk about.

Regarding abortion, it seems that if getting our words right, and being blunt and direct with them, were the key, then, the task is rather straightforward. As I see it, this is not the case.

The word itself (‘abortion’) comes in many shades of meaning. Now, I do not intend to say that truth is what we make of it. But it is to say that words and meaning are intimately attached to belief. Beliefs can be dead wrong and even destructive, take racial supremacy as an example. But, there is not denying that, if we desire to bring about beliefs that are rooted in the truth, then, we must do more than use words that we regard as having a single, absolute meaning.

At this point you might wonder what is so ambiguous about a word like ‘murder.’ It seems abundantly straightforward. But this clearly is not the case. In jurisprudence there are degrees of murder. In ethics there are different kinds of killing. Death itself is not a straightforward word, it only becomes real to us in the context of our beliefs and the meaning they create for it in a sentence, a paragraph, and so on. The mere fact of someone being dead tells us very little (assuming that they are not laying there screaming “I’m not dead yet!”).

Nonetheless, many good-willed people say, “Abortion is baby killing, period!” They usually mean that there is no need to be sophisticated or academic about it—and anyone doing so is some kind of out-of-touch relativist. Abortion is, as a matter of medical fact, murder. By this logic, murder may come in degrees, but it is still something that should be illegal and intolerable. Anyone who provides of abortions, then, is a killer of babies and, therefore, a murderer. End of story.

What is ignored by this sensible argument is that, to those who advocate for it, abortion is not murder. In fact, abortion advocates see it as an affirmation of the dignity of woman. Many of them volunteer and organize to preserve the right to abortion out of the belief that those who say that “Abortion is baby killing, period!” are in fact trying to subvert women.

This is not theoretical. A good and honest friend of mine told me that if Roe vs. Wade was repealed he and his family would move to New Zealand. I asked him what he would think if this came democratically, through appeals and with public sentiment to support it (since he is big fan of democracy). He replied: “Do you have a daughter?” I admitted that I did not. He went on to say, “Until you have a daughter, you won’t understand.”

I happen to believe that my friend is wrong about the facts. However, I was deeply moved by his love for his daughter. For him, and others, legal abortion functions as a safeguard of human dignity. There is little doubt that he advocates for abortion out of love for his daughter.

But, let’s play pretend. Maybe all I needed to do in that moment was reach into my pocket and pull out several graphic photos of aborted infants and say, “You clearly love your daughter, but what about these daughters? Can’t you see, this is murder? Infanticide even!” I could even add, “Let me tell you the facts about what happens when babies are aborted, in full detail…”

Of course he would deny that the fruit of the womb is a baby, a human person. So, then, I would point back to the pictures of the earliest stage of pregnancy and say, “Look at the toes, and fingers, and head! Look at the tummy and legs! This is a person! This a baby! This is a human!”

At this point, he might say (as many do) that if I really believed that I would be working day and night to throw every abortion provider and woman who get abortions into prison as murders. He would also say that, under this logic, woman at risk of dying, raped, and other tragedies, would be required to go through physical and mental trauma. Add to that, he would say, all this will do is reinstate the era when women performed their own abortions with coat hangers and died from infection or remained mutilated for life.

This hypothetical is too congenial. The most predictable response from my friend would be: “Are you calling me an advocate of murder?” If I was to be consistent I would say, “Yes.” He would then reject me as ridiculous since, after all, he is sure that he is not an advocate of murder.

These possible reactions would be devices to avoid the question of the facticity of abortion as evidenced by the photos and my factual language. And, even if he acknowledged the facts of abortion and so on, he might advocate for a consequentialist ethic.

But the greater point would be that his belief would stay the same, or become even more convinced that those people who think he is an advocate of murder, among other things, are crazy. And his belief, while wrong in many ways, would be rooted in truth, real truth.

It is rooted in the truth that there are two lives at stake in abortion. Pointing to the child as the sole issue ignores the life of the mother. Just as pointing to the rights of women as the sole issue ignores the child. Both approaches use facts and arguments that create a cycle—and a business—of polemics, but they both seem to think that their opponents favor one at the expense of the other. Based on that belief, neither of them can begin to actually address the whole truth of abortion: mother and child.

This is the beauty of the approach by Feminists for Life and others who understand that the Gospel of Life is not brought about and hearts do not change with facts and chop-logic; they only change with love for the whole thing in question.

You see, my friend can only begin to have a frank and direct conversation with me when he believes that I truly want the best for women, for his daughter. Until then, my words have drowned in meaning that I don’t intend, but even in the best of spirits, convey anyway. If I want him to realize that the best for his daughter’s dignity is a culture of life that embraces the reality and challenges of loving all persons (including pre-born babies), then, it would be best to throw away my pictures of aborted babies  and begin to try to understand and love him better.

Last week we took a day-trip to Cincinnati to visit a friend of ours. On the way there, we saw two billboards in black with white print. The first asked: “If you were to die today, do you know where you would end up?” The second stated: “Hell is Real.” On the way back we saw the other side of those billboards with the Ten Commandments listed; five on one and five on the other. My wife shook her head. I felt ashamed.

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66 Comments
  1. Ronald King permalink
    June 8, 2009 11:00 am

    Sam,
    I read your previous post just now and have glanced through this one. It is quite evident to me that you have a mystical understanding of the Truth that God Is Love. From this understanding I sense that you are telling us that we must always search deeper and with intense sincerity to find the Light of God’s Love in what appears to us as being dark and absent of God’s Love.
    From this perspective our words can either resonate with God’s Love or they can express something that is dark within the speaker of those words that we identify as truth.
    Sam, I understand that it is difficult if not impossible to verbalize the mystical understanding you are discussing here but my hope is for the Holy Spirit to bring the Light of Love into hearts that do not see what you are saying. The underlying disposition which expresses the truth will either create a luminous light that reveals the Love that creates all life or it will reveal the fire that destroys the truth and causes death.
    I am happy that you are able to bring this discussion to this level and risk yourself the pain of being misunderstood and prejudged.

  2. Sherry permalink
    June 8, 2009 11:20 am

    We can begin to have a dialog when we can talk like this. Thanks for writing this. I’ve been sickened on CAF where the holier than thou Catholics make sport of the murderer of the doctor as being guilty of “disturbing the peace” and claiming he has a perfect defense of “just my own version of late-term abortion.” Such unChristian attitudes are truly depressing. I think you have really captured the reasoning and way to find common ground to discuss this issue without all the vile anger.

  3. June 8, 2009 11:49 am

    Sam, first my compliments on your efforts to make your writing less opaque to the average reader. It’s working.

    If I understand you correctly, you are telling me that we can’t argue against abortion unless we first establish our credentials as people who also want what is best for women.

    If that is so, then why is it that our opponents in the debate are able to argue their side without making any case that they are people who want what’s best for the baby being aborted?

    To ask this question is to answer it: they deny that there is a baby being aborted.

    It seems to me that the question at issue is more simple than you want to make it: does abortion kill a baby or not?

    I fail to understand why my assertion that abortion kills a baby should justify an automatic pressumption — which I am burdened to refute — that I hate women.

    It strikes me that you are calling on me to argue a different subject altogether — the question of whether I am a good person — before I can be credentialed to speak about the humanity and personhood of the unborn.

    And getting me off-topic is a favorite tactic of the pro-aborts.

    But when the Bl. Teresa of Calcutta (whom I hope need not first establish that she is a good person) visited the U.S. during the 90s, she equated abortion with slavery — and rightly so, as both issues revolve around the question of whose rights are to be protected in law.

  4. Alex Martin permalink
    June 8, 2009 11:55 am

    I imagine the debate over rhetoric could be easily solved with images, yes? Perhaps the good folk @ vox nova might be kind enough to post some images of the result of abortions at various stages of development?

  5. June 8, 2009 12:10 pm

    Really great post, Sam. I wonder if you can follow up with an examination of Jesus’ parables and methods of truth-telling in love.

  6. June 8, 2009 12:18 pm

    Paul: Thanks! I also appreciate your question. I fear that while the question itself makes plenty of good sense, it misses my point at the outset when you summarize my thoughts as: “If I understand you correctly, you are telling me that we can’t argue against abortion unless we first establish our credentials as people who also want what is best for women.”

    That is not my point for two main reasons.

    First, this is not a matter of what we ought to do in this post (I think I want to say that too, but not here), it is matter the of the real effect of language and belief in action when we relate to others. So, I don’t merely think that you should show your woman-loving credentials before you condemn abortion. I think that if you want to changes the hearts of others you need to gain their trust, otherwise, you are just an antagonist. This, of course, is a basic truth about argument in general: unless there is some mutual respect, it goes nowhere.

    Secondly—and here is the stronger point—arguing against abortion cannot ever be one or the other, mother or child. It must always take the full reality into consideration. So, it is not a matter of showing that you care about women in advance, it is that you cannot possibly lack care, in your heart and in the perception of others, if you want to argue effectively. “Effectively” being in such a way that can transform hearts, not win debates.

    So, in regard to your other points, this is not about retribution or fairness. That seems a bit juvenile. If its about “them” having to do the same as we do, then, we deny the objective reality that the call to love is a greater call above and beyond normative dispositions.

    The fact that certain people deny the humanity of the fruit of the womb is no reason to react by positing that it may be permissible to ignore the life of the womb itself, the mother. You are not saying that, of course, but in noting that the “other side” might not have to follow the rules of charity, one could be led to think that way.

    But you are right that anyone demonizing you and others like you as “hating woman” is wrong—I condemn it too. I would submit, however, that it is also just as wrong to call “others” like my friend in this post as “hating babies,” or alike.

    I do not mean to get you “off-topic” and I dislike the implication that such are the tactics of “pro-aborts”—red herrings have a long history among humans in general. You can see, of course, that such rhetoric could be construed as implicitly saying that I am a “pro-abort.” I trust you are not saying that here.

    Here is my point, the facticity of abortion as the taking of human life is not what will promote a Gospel of Life. Why? Well, for some reason, facts and words do not give meaning in the same way. If they did, then, the truth would take the day. Since this is not the case, we must strive to make meaning that can convey the need to preserve human life and dignity by first understanding the meaning of those we disagree with. Even if they wouldn’t do the same for us. In two words: Love enemies.

    This is not to deny the truth of abortion, but it is to realize that such truth is cloaked in meaning that is conveyed in human vessels. In abortion the vessel is a case of two bodies intertwined in one, which we ought never to separate to the point of forgetting one or the other.

    I suggest you look at feminists for life (I posted a link), their work is a great example of what I mean.

    Peace.

  7. ben permalink
    June 8, 2009 12:22 pm

    Fist the Sherry,

    The 60,000 lives ended by George Tiller did not engender vile anger, but righteous anger.

    Next to Sam,

    There are 2 questions here. The first is how to convert those who believe that abortion should be legal to the correct pro-life viewpoint. You sem to be adressing this question exclusively. I’m not going to comment much about what you are saying except to say that the history of social change suggests that more honesty is better. People begin to think differently when they don’t want to be thought of as having reprehensible views.

    The second question you have completely ignored.

    How do we defend the innocent from being killed by abortion? How do we, as confirmed Christians, show our smallest brothers and sisters the charity that we owe them? What do we give up to save them?

    Could you say a few words about this question? Because it seems like this was the one that the murderer of George Tiller answered incorrectly. It was not that he misunderstood the abomnible character of George Tiller’s work. It was that he took the wrong action to defend the innocent.

    What action should prolifers take to defend the innocent?

  8. June 8, 2009 12:41 pm

    Sam,

    Why does your point rest on the assertion that “words come cloaked in meaning, [and] we ought not assume that the truth is readily available in them”?

    An individual’s inability to take into account the fullness of reality in his arguments doesn’t render language useless.

  9. June 8, 2009 12:52 pm

    ben: Thank you for your insightful question. I agree that there is more at stake than the mere question of persuasion. However, I disagree that I ignore what you call the “second question” here. You must understand that the word “ignore” connotes to me that I willingly omitted it, but I trust that you do not mean that here.

    Let me be direct and answer your question: “How do we defend the innocent from being killed by abortion? How do we, as confirmed Christians, show our smallest brothers and sisters the charity that we owe them? What do we give up to save them?”

    We die. We love. We forgive. We never rest in trying to press more and more death to ourselves, more and more love, more and more forgiveness out of the tragic grapes we are dealt.

    This may sound to esoteric, so let me be clear: We love the oppressed—the holy innocent, the starving, the rich; ourselves, in other words—by forgiving the oppressors as Christ forgave his oppressors on the Cross.

    This is a first, but crucial, step that needs to be repeated over and over while we do other things to build a culture of life, I think

  10. June 8, 2009 12:55 pm

    Ian: Language is not useless. Words are very important, but they are instrumental. They only serve to convey meaning, it is meaning that makes language something useful and important. See the two cited articles, especially “Taking Langauge at its Word?” for a clearer statement on that question.

  11. June 8, 2009 1:00 pm

    Alex: You wrote: “[A] I imagine the debate over rhetoric could be easily solved with images, yes? [B] Perhaps the good folk @ vox nova might be kind enough to post some images of the result of abortions at various stages of development?”

    A. No. I ever went as far as to write: “If I want him [my friend in this post] to realize that the best for his daughter’s dignity is a culture of life that embraces the reality and challenges of loving all persons (including pre-born babies), then, it would be best to throw away my pictures of aborted babies and begin to try to understand and love him better.”

    B. As follows from A, this is not the point.

    Sorry if my post was misleading.

  12. June 8, 2009 1:05 pm

    Ronald: Thanks but I fear you have got the wrong guy, I’m no mystic.

    Sherry: Thanks too, but, if you want to put the basic notion of this post into practice, then, you might want to not call anyone “holier than thou.”

    Nate: Maybe, why don’t you send me some of the passages you’d like to cover. Or we could collaborate or something.

  13. Mark Gordon permalink
    June 8, 2009 1:10 pm

    George Orwell wrote that “the greatest enemy of clear language is insincerity.” I find it strange, Sam, that you gathered your reflection here around the issue of abortion, not torture, poverty, war, or any number of other evils that you may feel less squeamish about condemning unreservedly in clear language. Why is that, do you think?

    Speaking of strong, clear language, perhaps we ought to find the guy who said the following and let him know that he failed to engage in suffiently “rigorous interpretation, meaning-seeking, and hermeneutics”: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness … You snakes! You brood of vipers!”

  14. June 8, 2009 1:18 pm

    Mark: The reason I wrote about abortion is because of the ongoing dialogue here at VN over the death of Tiller. However, this post is not about “condemning [abortion] unreservedly in clear language,” in fact it is much different than that.

    I even went as far as to say (about my friend): “And his belief, while wrong in many ways, would be rooted in truth, real truth. It is rooted in the truth that there are two lives at stake in abortion.”

    You are right, of course, that I should take my own advice on conversion seeking hermeneutics. To say that this meets that standard is to start at the beginning—I am guilty. And full of hypocrisy and wickedness, to be sure. Sorry to disappoint you. Pray for me.

  15. ben permalink
    June 8, 2009 1:20 pm

    Sam,

    Mark makes an excellent point.

    You failed to apply the principles you have applied to the discussion of abortion in this post to the discussion of torture in your post,”Torture of the Soul and Spirit” from 5/5/09.

    Why do “inhanced iterrogation techniques” merit denunciation as a “demonic assault on the soul” when an abortionist who has killed 60,000 people can’t be called a mass murderer?

  16. June 8, 2009 1:29 pm

    ben: I agree wholeheartedly with you and Mark’s general point—I do fail to apply my own principles.

    On the specific point, however, you got me and Joe Hargrave mixed up. He wrote “Torture of the Soul and Spirit” on May, 5th 2009 here’s the link: http://vox-nova.com/2009/05/05/torture-of-the-soul-and-spirit/

    This is very odd to me since Joe and I have had a clear disagreement on this issue (see: his post “Words Do Matter”) and Mark, unlike yourself, seems to be upset about me going into too much detail about abortion while you feel the converse.

    So, again, while I would not disagree with your general point, the specific one is topsy-turvy.

  17. David Nickol permalink
    June 8, 2009 1:31 pm

    If I understand you correctly, you are telling me that we can’t argue against abortion unless we first establish our credentials as people who also want what is best for women.

    You can argue from any perspective you want, but if you argue from the perspective of deep concern for the unborn and no concern for women with unwanted pregnancies, you’re hardly arguing from the viewpoint that all life is sacred. Rather, you are arguing from the viewpoint that the unborn are a superior class — more deserving of life than those already born. ["They took the life of an innocent," [Brazilian Archibishop Jose Cardoso] Sobrinho told TIME in a telephone interview. “Abortion is much more serious than killing an adult. An adult may or may not be an innocent, but an unborn child is most definitely innocent. Taking that life cannot be ignored.”]

    If that is so, then why is it that our opponents in the debate are able to argue their side without making any case that they are people who want what’s best for the baby being aborted?

    First, many in the pro-choice movement would argue that they are concerned about what is best for the baby. In the case of genetic anomalies, or even in the case of feeling that they cannot afford another child, people are thinking it is not right to bring a child into the world under the circumstances.

    I certainly understand the argument that abortion must be prohibited because it is the unjust taking of a human life. I have never had anyone explain to me why, from the Catholic viewpoint, abortion is such a terrible thing based solely on arguments about what is best for the unborn child. As I have pointed out a number of times, just from natural causes alone, most conceptions (60 to 80 percent) end in death within 10 days. Is God so cruel that natural causes deprive the majority of human beings of the same things as aborted infants are deprived of?

    From the Catholic viewpoint, aborted babies are presumed to go to heaven. Also from the Catholic viewpoint, at least some who live an earthly life are presumed to go to hell. It cannot be known what an aborted baby is missing out on. It might be missing out on having a miserable life, a painful death, and an eternity in hell (according to Catholic thought).

    And to answer the objection before it is raised, I am not saying babies should be aborted, any more than snipers should set themselves up outside of churches and kill people who have just gone to confession to send them straight to heaven. I am saying the argument against abortion based on the prohibition against killing is a very powerful one. But the argument against abortion based on the alleged suffering of the aborted infant and what it will never experience strikes me as a very weak one, especially from the viewpoint of those who believe aborted babies go to heaven. The Christian view of life in this world is often bleak:

    To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
    to thee do we send up our sighs,
    mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.

    I am not sure why those who miss out on it, and instead go straight to heaven, should be pitied. To reiterate, this is not an argument for abortion. It is a question about how appeals the the fate of the aborted baby — rather than to the fact that it is forbidden to unjustly take a human life — can be used to condemn abortion.

    Also, to answer before it is asked, if I somehow had had the choice of a guaranteed transit to heaven before I was born and a life on earth with the possibility of eternal damnation, I would have considered the choice a no-brainer. To the question, “What if your mother had chosen to have an abortion,” my response would be, “I’d be in heaven now, enjoying eternal bliss.”

  18. jeremy permalink
    June 8, 2009 1:47 pm

    abortion is such a terrible thing based solely on arguments about what is best for the unborn child.

    Has anybody (credible) claimed that abortion is only about what is best for the unborn child? Thinking about abortion in terms of what is best for the child lends itself to ‘reduction to the absurd’.

  19. David Nickol permalink
    June 8, 2009 1:49 pm

    I imagine the debate over rhetoric could be easily solved with images, yes? Perhaps the good folk @ vox nova might be kind enough to post some images of the result of abortions at various stages of development?

    Alex,

    Do you imagine it would settle the debate about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan if we had graphic pictures of dead Americans, Iraqis, and Afghans? We just had an admission by the military that there have been unnecessary civilian deaths in Afghanistan because American forces did not follow stated rules of engagement strictly enough. Do you think pictures of bloodied, smashed, dismemberd, burned Afghan children would settle the question of what we ought to do in Afghanistan? Or do you think they could easily be used for propaganda purposes?

    Nevertheless, if you think it will resolve anything, the site of Priests for Life offers a large sample of photos of aborted babies.

    Of course, Catholics also object to anything that prevents implantation after conception on the same grounds as they object to abortion. Does the fact that it is invisible, or would be not at all stomach-turning if it could be observed, make it unobjectionable? I think almost any of us here would find it extremely disturbing to watch a surgeon make the incisions for open-heart surgery. Does that mean it is immoral?

  20. jeremy permalink
    June 8, 2009 1:50 pm

    To the question, “What if your mother had chosen to have an abortion,” my response would be, “I’d be in heaven now, enjoying eternal bliss.”</i.
    Perhaps – but that would mean the most loving thing a mother could do for a child is to kill him/her immediately after baptism. I think we can agree that is a nonsensical position, therefore, there must be more to the story …

  21. jeremy permalink
    June 8, 2009 1:56 pm

    You can argue from any perspective you want, but if you argue from the perspective of deep concern for the unborn and no concern for women with unwanted pregnancies, you’re hardly arguing from the viewpoint that all life is sacred. Rather, you are arguing from the viewpoint that the unborn are a superior class

    Perhaps if you changed ‘unwanted pregnancies’ to ‘pregnancies that directly endangered the life of the mother’ your argument would hold together. Not allowing allowing abortion for a child who will be unwanted does not make the unborn a superior class. rather, that just acknowledges that a person does not need to be wanted to enjoy the dignity that comes with being human.

  22. David Nickol permalink
    June 8, 2009 1:58 pm

    Has anybody (credible) claimed that abortion is only about what is best for the unborn child? Thinking about abortion in terms of what is best for the child lends itself to ‘reduction to the absurd’.

    Archbishop Chaput said the following:

    But [Catholics who support 'pro-choice' candidates] also need a compelling proportionate reason to justify it. What is a ‘proportionate’ reason when it comes to the abortion issue? It’s the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them face to face in the next life — which we most certainly will. If we’re confident that these victims will accept our motives as something more than an alibi, then we can proceed.

    This is not an appeal to the prohibition against taking innocent life. It is making aborted babies in the next life a judge of whether — based on their presumed grievances — it was acceptable to vote for Obama!

  23. ben permalink
    June 8, 2009 2:01 pm

    sorry Sam,

    I did get it mixed up. Going back I see that you were the one who suggested we should think about what torture means to the torturer, what it means for him to do that to another person.

    I guess you are pretty consistent. Sorry.

    David,

    There is a great deal of time and effort on the part of pro-lifers to help women in crisis, we help them with housing, medical expenses, finding work, finding adoptive partets if they feel they can not raise the child, parenting classes if they want to raise their child, clothing, diapers, groceries, social support, immigration assistance, just about everything imaginable, so theya they can live quaity lives. We even provide assistance to post-abortive women of the same quality, helping them overcome them to be reconciled so that they can go on to lead happy, high quality lives.

    I’d wager that in the real (non-internet) lives of prolifers this kind of work consumes way more resources than politics and protesting by a factor of 3 to 1.

    So how is all of this real work that is performed by millions of pro-life people every day failing to show real concern for women?

  24. Alex Martin permalink
    June 8, 2009 2:07 pm

    “Alex,

    Do you imagine it would settle the debate about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan if we had graphic pictures of dead Americans, Iraqis, and Afghans? We just had an admission by the military that there have been unnecessary civilian deaths in Afghanistan because American forces did not follow stated rules of engagement strictly enough. Do you think pictures of bloodied, smashed, dismemberd, burned Afghan children would settle the question of what we ought to do in Afghanistan? Or do you think they could easily be used for propaganda purposes?”

    Using photographic evidence has, I found, helped some understand exactly what abortion is and also helps answer some questions regarding the personhood of the fetus. Dismissing photos entirely seems silly to me. Now, do I think these photos ought to be part of picket signs and angry protests? Probably not. But I have found them to be extremely useful in helping some people come to understand abortion more fully.

  25. David Nickol permalink
    June 8, 2009 2:11 pm

    Perhaps – but that would mean the most loving thing a mother could do for a child is to kill him/her immediately after baptism. I think we can agree that is a nonsensical position, therefore, there must be more to the story …

    jeremy,

    It is a Catholic principle that one may never do evil that good may come of it. Also, for a mother to put the welfare of her child above her duty to obey God would be an outrageous sin, especially because the mother would be trying to “cheat God.” She would be saying that if her child goes astray, then God might condemn him or her. Consequently, she is going to make sure God doesn’t get the chance.

    But you are looking at what I said as a justification for killing someone. I tried to make it clear that that was absolutely not what I was talking about. I am talking about trying to argue that abortion is morally wrong based on its consequences for the aborted infant. I don’t think it can be done. There are other instances in which it seem clearly the case that killing a person is to their benefit. Think of someone (in a state of grace) dying an extremely painful death. What is the harm to them of hastening their departure? The argument about euthanasia is not that it won’t relieve the suffering of the dying. It is that no one has a right to take a human life. There would be many instances in which killing could be justified if you confine yourself to arguments about the future of the person killed.

  26. jeremy permalink
    June 8, 2009 2:29 pm

    I don’t read Archbishop Chaput’s words to mean that pro-life is primarily about the best interests of the Child. That quote is in the context of evaluating candidates for public office, and was a statement about the morality of abortion in choosing candidates, not a teaching that abortion is only about the child.

  27. jeremy permalink
    June 8, 2009 2:33 pm

    I am talking about trying to argue that abortion is morally wrong based on its consequences for the aborted infant.
    Is theft only morally wrong based on the consequences for the person who was stolen from? What if they never know that something was taken? Is adultery wrong if your spouse never finds out?
    I don’t think it can be done
    I agree. Who is making this argument?

  28. June 8, 2009 2:39 pm

    David: That’s an interesting thought but seems too dualistic. There is inherent value in temporal life, it is not merely a shell to cast aside.

    ben: No problem, and believe me, I’m really not “pretty consistent.”

  29. ben permalink
    June 8, 2009 2:43 pm

    David,

    I think you are misstating doctrine on the fate of those who die without baptism. Your argument does not follow if these souls go to limbo. The recent Catechism allows us to hope in God’s mercy that they don’t go to limbo. But certainly many catholics continue to believe the fate of these babies is limbo.

  30. Gabriel Austin permalink
    June 8, 2009 2:44 pm

    David Nickol Says: June 8, 2009 at 1:31 pm
    “As I have pointed out a number of times, just from natural causes alone, most conceptions (60 to 80 percent) end in death within 10 days”.

    You have indeed stated this a number of times. And a number of times you have been refuted. You cited an article in medical journal to this effect. Except that the article did not say this.
    The number cited has varied from 20% to 95%.
    But on the face of it, it is ridiculous. Consider the number of eggs that the human female produces monthly. How many are successfully fertilized? I suspect you are confusing sperm and eggs.

  31. David Nickol permalink
    June 8, 2009 2:48 pm

    So how is all of this real work that is performed by millions of pro-life people every day failing to show real concern for women?

    ben,

    What I said was, “[I]f you argue from the perspective of deep concern for the unborn and no concern for women with unwanted pregnancies, you’re hardly arguing from the viewpoint that all life is sacred.” I am not accusing the entire pro-life movement of being indifferent to the fate of women. However, it appears to me that some in the pro-life movement, and particularly those who are primarily concerned about criminalizing abortion (and among those, particularly conservatives who oppose social programs) are primarily focused on the “welfare” of the unborn. Hence the saying, “Some people believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth.”

    It seems to me if you oppose abortion and can’t buy into this paragraph from the Declaration on Procured Abortion, you need to call yourself anti-abortion rather than pro-life:

    [I]t is the task of law to pursue a reform of society and of conditions of life in all milieux, starting with the most deprived, so that always and everywhere it may be possible to give every child coming into this world a welcome worthy of a person. Help for families and for unmarried mothers, assured grants for children, a statute for illegitimate children and reasonable arrangements for adoption—a whole positive policy must be put into force so that there will always be a concrete, honorable and possible alternative to abortion.

    .

    Now, maybe everyone in the pro-life movement subscribes to that and I just don’t see it. But it seems to me some people are far more concerned about the unborn than about the pregnant women who carry them.

    And aside from Sherry’s remarks, which didn’t address the issue directly, it’s still all men engaged in this discussion.

  32. Gabriel Austin permalink
    June 8, 2009 2:54 pm

    David Nickol also says
    “If I somehow had had the choice of a guaranteed transit to heaven before I was born and a life on earth with the possibility of eternal damnation, I would have considered the choice a no-brainer. To the question, “What if your mother had chosen to have an abortion,” my response would be, “I’d be in heaven now, enjoying eternal bliss.”

    Which is to say that he denies the meaning of baptism and leaves the infant subject to original sin. This is but Pelagianism revived.

    Perhaps one could choose Chesterton’s suggestion: “Let us have all the babies. Then we can decide which to kill”. After baptism, of course.

  33. June 8, 2009 2:58 pm

    Honestly, all this baptism, heaven, bliss stuff—on both sides—only obfuscates from the phenomenology of the situation described here. Namely, how we address the subject of abortion in a way that is meaningful. Let’s stay on task please.

  34. Gabriel Austin permalink
    June 8, 2009 2:59 pm

    David Nickol continues that abortion is not about killing the baby [which it is objectively]. Many babies and small children die in natural catastrophes.
    Abortion is about the sin committed by the mother and accomplices which risks eternal damnation for them. This is the chief concern of the Church.
    Suprema lex salus animarum.

  35. David Nickol permalink
    June 8, 2009 3:08 pm

    You have indeed stated this a number of times. And a number of times you have been refuted. You cited an article in medical journal to this effect. Except that the article did not say this.

    I have cited Early Embryonic Development: An Up-to-Date Account, a transcript from the web site of the President’s Council on Bioethics, hardly a questionable source. I have not been refuted. Here is an excerpt:

    PROF. SANDEL: Thank you. I have two questions about the rate of natural embryo loss in human beings. The first is what percent of fertilized eggs fail to implant or are otherwise lost? And the second question is is it the case that all of these lost embryos contain genetic defects that would have prevented their normal development and birth?

    DR. OPITZ: The answer to your first question is that it is enormous. Estimates range all the way from 60 percent to 80 percent of the very earliest stages, cleavage stages, for example, that are lost.

    PROF. SANDEL: Sixty to 80 percent?

    DR. OPITZ: Sixty to 80 percent. And one of the objective ways of establishing the loss at least as of the moment of implantation, well, even earlier, let’s say as of five days because the blastocyst begins to make a chorionic gonadotrophin and with extremely sensitive assay methods, you can detect the presence of gonadotrophins, let me say, first around Day 7. That’s the beta of human chorionic gonadotrophin. And if you follow prospectively the cycles that has been done on quite a few occasions in the Permanente study in Hawaii and so on, a group of women, of nonfertility, who want to conceive and you detect the first sign of pregnancy there of human chorionic gonadotrophin, about 60 percent of those pregnancies are lost.

    It is independently corroborated by the fact that the monozygotic twin conception rate at the very beginning is much, much higher than the birth rate and then if you follow with amniocentesis, the presence of the two sacs in about 80 percent of cases,the second sac disappears, one of the sacs disappears.

    But on the face of it, it is ridiculous. Consider the number of eggs that the human female produces monthly. How many are successfully fertilized? I suspect you are confusing sperm and eggs.

    LOL

  36. jeremy permalink
    June 8, 2009 3:08 pm

    What does phenomenology mean?

  37. Gabriel Austin permalink
    June 8, 2009 3:09 pm

    ben Says: June 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm
    “There is a great deal of time and effort on the part of pro-lifers to help women in crisis, we help them with housing, medical expenses, finding work, finding adoptive partets if they feel they can not raise the child, parenting classes if they want to raise their child, clothing, diapers, groceries, social support, immigration assistance, just about everything imaginable, so that they can live quality lives. We even provide assistance to post-abortive women of the same quality, helping them overcome them to be reconciled so that they can go on to lead happy, high quality lives”.

    Now, this is a point which is too often overlooked in the discussion. How many abortuaries ["clinics"] of the Planned [Un]Parenthood group provide parental assistance? You know, things like diapers, formula, bottom wipes and such feminine necessities. How many MOTHERS come out of the abortuaries?

  38. David Nickol permalink
    June 8, 2009 3:14 pm

    Namely, how we address the subject of abortion in a way that is meaningful.

    Sam,

    Okay, if you say so. But my only suggestion is that it is not meaningful (although I suppose it could be effective) to argue against abortion based on what the unborn feel, or what they miss out on by not being born. The only valid argument against abortion, in my view, is that we are prohibited from deciding who should live and who should die. Everything else (including grisly pictures) is emotionalism, not moral argumentation.

  39. June 8, 2009 3:14 pm

    jeremy: In this case I am using it to mean the thing itself we are referring to, the actual event I describe and comment on here.

  40. David Nickol permalink
    June 8, 2009 3:16 pm

    Most humble apologies. The following should not have been included in the block quote from the President’s Council on Bioethics:

    But on the face of it, it is ridiculous. Consider the number of eggs that the human female produces monthly. How many are successfully fertilized? I suspect you are confusing sperm and eggs.

    LOL

  41. David Nickol permalink
    June 8, 2009 3:25 pm

    David Nickol continues that abortion is not about killing the baby [which it is objectively].

    Gabriel,

    Quite obviously an unborn baby is killed in the course of a direct abortion. That is what an abortion is. In fact, sometimes the unborn baby is killed before it is aborted, and sometimes it is killed (as best I understand it) without aborting it, as in the case of “reducing” a multiple pregnancy. Whether it is murder or not is a different question, but of course it is killing. It is impossible to deny. Who in the world would try to say otherwise?

  42. Gabriel Austin permalink
    June 8, 2009 3:28 pm

    David Nickol Says:
    June 8, 2009 at 3:08 pm
    “You have indeed stated this a number of times. And a number of times you have been refuted. You cited an article in medical journal to this effect. Except that the article did not say this”.

    “I have cited Early Embryonic Development: An Up-to-Date Account, a transcript from the web site of the President’s Council on Bioethics, hardly a questionable source. I have not been refuted”.

    {Whether the President’s Council is a questionable source is matter for another discussion].

    You cite:
    “DR. OPITZ: Sixty to 80 percent. And one of the objective ways of establishing the loss at least as of the moment of implantation, well, even earlier, let’s say as of five days because the blastocyst begins to make a chorionic gonadotrophin and with extremely sensitive assay methods, you can detect the presence of gonadotrophins, let me say, first around Day 7. That’s the beta of human chorionic gonadotrophin. And if you follow prospectively the cycles that has been done on quite a few occasions in the Permanente study in Hawaii and so on, a group of women, of nonfertility, who want to conceive and you detect the first sign of pregnancy there of human chorionic gonadotrophin, about 60 percent of those pregnancies are lost”.

    I note:
    “a group of women, of NONFERTILITY, … about 60% of those pregnancies are lost”. [I leave aside the question of false pregnancies].

    The point here has nothing to do with abortion. Why these pregnancies [false?] are lost is not in our hands. Nor are they an excuse for abortion. Nor are the tsunamis in Asia, or the earth slides in Central America.

  43. June 8, 2009 3:31 pm

    How statistics become an issue on the theme of this post is a mystery to me. Honestly, I find it amusing and strangely comforting. Thanks!

  44. Gabriel Austin permalink
    June 8, 2009 3:33 pm

    David Nickol says:
    “Quite obviously an unborn baby is killed in the course of a direct abortion. That is what an abortion is. In fact, sometimes the unborn baby is killed before it is aborted, and sometimes it is killed (as best I understand it) without aborting it, as in the case of “reducing” a multiple pregnancy. Whether it is murder or not is a different question, but of course it is killing. It is impossible to deny”.

    Whether a killing is an abortion – as in the case of “reducing” [why the quotation marks?] a multiple pregnancy. Whether it is murder or not is a different question but of course it is a killing…”.

    If it is a deliberate killing, surely it is murder.

  45. Gabriel Austin permalink
    June 8, 2009 3:36 pm

    Sam Rocha asks: June 8, 2009 at 3:31 pm
    “How statistics become an issue on the theme of this post is a mystery to me. Honestly, I find it amusing and strangely comforting. Thanks!”

    I believe David’s point is that Nature [?] God [?] kills so many fertilized eggs, it is not a bad thing. I merely point out the problems with these numbers.

  46. jeremy permalink
    June 8, 2009 3:53 pm

    Sam, while I am being dense – I don’t understand the meaning behind your last paragraph? Why did the billboards make you feel ashamed?

  47. June 8, 2009 3:55 pm

    jeremy: Because that’s no way to share the Gospel.

  48. June 8, 2009 4:02 pm

    I don’t see why we need to have an either/or position on how we talk about abortion. Different circumstances call for different forms of communication. Sometimes it makes sense to use logical arguments and biological facts when talking about abortion; sometimes it makes sense to have a more sensative, searching conversation about the issue.

    If I’m talking to a young mother who is frightened by an unexpected pregnancy and has little support, I agree it makes little sense to talk to her about “baby killing.” Talking to her about her fears and her hopes – while sometimes sharing a little bit of biological reality via an ultrasound – usually help her come to a decision that affirms herself and her child. Usually, in individual or small group discussions about abortion, I think this communication technique works well.

    However, in broader policy debates, I think we need to be clear about the actual reality of what abortion does: it destroys a human life and hurts women with real physical and mental health risks. Cloaking the reality of this evil in sanitized language doesn’t do anyone any favors.

    The bottom line, of course, is that whatever language we use at whatever time, we should always strive to be motivated by love and purify ourselves and our own egos so that we become instruments of the Holy Spirit. This seems to be the real challenge; not just picking the right words.

  49. June 8, 2009 4:10 pm

    Maria: “The bottom line, of course, is that whatever language we use at whatever time, we should always strive to be motivated by love and purify ourselves and our own egos so that we become instruments of the Holy Spirit. This seems to be the real challenge; not just picking the right words.”

    That is what I mean here in better language. And this does not preclude not saying things with force when its meaning can be intended and understood charitably. Thanks for the clarification.

  50. John permalink
    June 8, 2009 4:19 pm

    Sam,

    But to those who produced the billboards, when they think of what it means to “share the Gospel,” I presume they sincerely think producing such a billboard is one good way of doing it. I would have expected you in charity to concede that to them.

  51. June 8, 2009 4:23 pm

    John: I would concede that to them, I do not feel shame for them, or anger against them. I do feel the weight of the effects of such billboards and the lack of charity it can create in dialogue.

  52. Ronald King permalink
    June 8, 2009 6:29 pm

    Sam, a mystical vision has the characteristic of seeing and understanding what is not apparent to direct observation. This vision will see the link between the underlying ability to love and the effect of that disposition on self and others.
    This mystical vision has the characteristic of empathy which unites to the suffering of others, even those who are in opposition.
    When open to this vision one does die to oneself not through one’s efforts but through grace. Once grace does its initial interior work on the individual then there is no turning back to the old way and the focus then becomes to unite even more closely to God’s Love.
    The mystic is the saint and once grace and the Holy Spirit take hold one’s life and one’s thoughts are not their own.
    The mystical vision has infinite expressions.

  53. David Nickol permalink
    June 8, 2009 7:38 pm

    The bottom line, of course, is that whatever language we use at whatever time, we should always strive to be motivated by love and purify ourselves and our own egos so that we become instruments of the Holy Spirit. This seems to be the real challenge; not just picking the right words.

    I agree with Sam that this is an excellent point. (I told you we needed more women in this discussion!)

    I am old enough (62) to remember quite well protests against the Vietnam War (which I also opposed, certainly as it went on and on). Some people had real moral and political opinions. Others seemed to be having a good time making themselves the center of attention in a way that was self-indulgent and self-righteous. I’m quite sure I remember Jane Fonda speaking at a rally in Central Park saying, “Whatever should be done must be done . . . .” How persuasive! (Another favorite quote, totally unrelated to the discussion: A local newscaster said that the Cathedral of St. John the Divine was a “spiritual Mecca” to New Yorkers.)

    Tom Lehrer had a song back in those days that captured some of what I am talking about. Here’s his introduction followed by the first stanza of the song:

    One type of song that has come into increasing prominence in recent months is the folk-song of protest. You have to admire people who sing these songs. It takes a certain amount of courage to get up in a coffee-house or a college auditorium and come out in favor of the things that everybody else in the audience is against like peace and justice and brotherhood and so on. The nicest thing about a protest song is that it makes you feel so good. I have a song here which I realise should be accompanied on a folk instrument in which category the piano does not alas qualify so imagine if you will that I am playing an 88 string guitar.

    We are the Folk Song Army.
    Everyone of us . . . . cares.
    We all hate poverty, war, and injustice,
    Unlike the rest of you squares.

    Every protest movement no matter how worthwhile has some in it who are on ego trips (to use an expression from the times) and who, by their own emotionalism and self-indulgence, do more harm than good. Of course there is such a thing as righteous anger. But there’s also self-righteous anger (and singing). And of course there is a whole spectrum, with the person on a total ego trip being at one extreme and the totally “pure of heart” on the other, with the vast majority of us somewhere in the middle.

  54. David Nickol permalink
    June 8, 2009 7:50 pm

    If it is a deliberate killing, surely it is murder.

    It strikes me that of the Ten Commandments, “”You shall not kill,” has more exceptions than any of the others. Self-defense, war, capital punishment, indirect killing (ending an ectopic pregnancy), not to mention more modern phenomena, like setting pollution levels at a point where a statistically predictable number of people will die, although predicting which individuals is not possible. So I would not conclude that deliberate killing is murder. Nothing seems more deliberate to me than capital punishment, where the decision to kill is dragged out over years, examined numerous times in court challenges, and on and on. And yet it is not murder. Or maybe I would say state-sanctioned murder.

  55. ben permalink
    June 8, 2009 8:30 pm

    David,

    It seems that you do not take this conversation seriously. It matters that Tiller is a mass murderer. You yourself said in the earlier thread that given the chance you would have killed Josef Mengele. The fact that Joe Hargrave and others here still maintain that killing Tiller was wrong, when by you own admission abortionists are lucky you’re not a pro-lifer should indicate at least a little how seriously pro-lifers take the commandment not to kill.

    If you don’t believe killing is wrong then be forthright about it. Don’t try and pretend that serious Christians are duplicitious.

  56. David Nickol permalink
    June 8, 2009 9:42 pm

    If you don’t believe killing is wrong then be forthright about it. Don’t try and pretend that serious Christians are duplicitious.

    I believe that taking a human life is always a very serious matter, and I would respect a pacifist who says that taking a human life is always wrong and may never be permitted. But by in large, pro-lifers are not pacifists, and I haven’t heard a convincing argument yet as to why — if Tiller was a mass murderer, the moral equivalent of Joseph Mengele, and we have “fundamentally flawed” legal system, which not only won’t stop Tiller, but gives him special protection — it would be impermissible for someone to stop him.

    As I have pointed out, if abortion is murder, then it is just as much murder in the first trimester as it is in the third trimester. Can you explain to me why Tiller was singled out by the pro-life movement as the American equivalent to Joseph Mengele when other doctors perform just as many abortions as he does, only earlier? Isn’t the implication that late-term abortion is wrong but early abortion is not so bad. Isn’t that exactly the message Catholics don’t want to send regarding abortion?

  57. grega permalink
    June 9, 2009 9:00 am

    David you raise very good points – as always – I trust that in the back of your mind you are of course fully aware why particularly late term abortions are front and center in this epic battle within our society to find a way forward. Honestly both sides of course try to highlight the most outrageous cases in order to gain some traction on the overall issue.
    It is in some ways quite amazing – yet not surprising to witness how ‘you are either with us or against us’ Joe has no trouble calling half our society, our political leadership, half the catholic church names like ‘murderers’ and ‘baby killers’ yet has a hard time taking the logical next step and requesting life prison terms or the death penalty.
    I guess fear of bad PR trumps principles – what is new.
    As it always seems the case the fringes on either end of any given issue make for rather unpleasant bedfellows.
    Telling that at a time when many leaders of the pro life movement pull back and recognize the damage done by killings like that of Dr. Tiller our Joe finds it most important to share with us his shall we say merciless point of view.

  58. ben permalink
    June 9, 2009 10:17 am

    grega,

    Have you not noticed the ongoing the 36 year campaign to outlaw abortion?

  59. grega permalink
    June 9, 2009 11:53 am

    Yes I noticed – arguably the issue of Abortion predates 1973. Certainly Abortions were performed in US Hospitals prior to 1973 if the health of the Mother was endangered.
    Do you think calling half the population Baby Killers helps the cause?

    In my opinion in life it is always a good starting point to assume that the large majority of ones fellow brothers and sisters honestly and sincerely struggle to stay on a morally acceptable path. Yes that includes those among us unfortunate enough that they had to consider Abortion as an option. Furthermore chances are that women, mothers and fathers, husbands and wife’s that are in a situation that they would consider a late term abortions are particularly dealing with very difficult underlying issues.
    I strongly believe that we will find ways as a society to continue the trend of the last decades and we will continue to significantly reduce Abortions – this is a realistic goal – this is Obamas position.

  60. ben permalink
    June 9, 2009 6:10 pm

    I agree that it is likely a difficult thing to feel tempted to kill ones own child. I thank the Lord that I have never faced such a temptation.

    People facing this temptation need to be told not to kill their child. They need to be given a real choice. Sometimes they need a place to live, sometimes they need money, or clothing or food. Sometimes they friends, or help finding someone to adopt their child. Sometimes they need help getting out of abusive relationships or need help breaking addictions.

    Sometimes young girls just need to be told that they don’t have to listen to mom and dad about this. They need to be told that they don’t have to kill their own child even if their parents told them to.

    Pro-lifers do all of these things for women every day.

    They do it because it breaks their hearts to live in a society where half of their neighbors think it is okay to kill children. They do it because it breaks their hears that their friends, thier brothers and sisters, their aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons are among those who think its okay to kill children. They do it because they deeply love pro-abortionists.

    I don’t know who you think activist pro-lifers are, but it seems to me that you have not met them. If you had I can’t see how you cold possibly accuse them of lacking compassion.

  61. grega permalink
    June 9, 2009 11:20 pm

    Ben,
    I like the tone and content of your reply – thank you – much appreciated.
    I have active pro lifers in my immediate family and yes you describe them and their deep feelings very eloquently. I would not say that they are lacking compassion per se – but they certainly tend to define ‘compassion’ a bit different – the compassionate thing to do is to confront pro choice folks and compassionately tell them that they are so wrong and that they are murdering their children.

    I obviously do not know how this issue will play in the next decades but I suspect while we will see fewer Abortions we will never take the step to re-criminalize Abortion. But what do I know.

  62. Joe Hargrave permalink
    June 10, 2009 1:11 am

    Gee whiz, my ears are burning. I avoided commenting here because there are already too many threads on this topic.

    So my point of view is ‘merciless’, is it, grega?

    If you could accurately explain my point of view, I would be very surprised indeed.

  63. grega permalink
    June 10, 2009 12:20 pm

    LOL – no I have no interest whatsoever to add to the discussion by explaining my understanding of your point of view. I am sure I have quite a bit of it wrong – but hey like most of us you are just one voice in an ocean of the many thus we should not take ourselves too seriously. The occasional pearl of wisdom is plenty obscured by layers of personal opinion picked up along the way.
    Seems to me even as this various posts emerge you evolve.
    But yes in my opinion you talk a pointed tough ‘merciless’ talk towards us various grades of ‘baby killers’. I however do not think of you as a unkind merciless person per se- you simply hate the fact that you raise your family in a society that allows for Abortion and would like to do whatever is in your power to change this – fine. As long as you can truly accept the fact that your voice is equal to that of a the many caring and dedicated pro choice persons – like Dr. Tiller – we will be fine as a society.
    As was mentioned various times – Dr. Tiller did not violate the laws of this country – his Killer did.
    You hate this fact and should do whatever is within your legal means to work against it – however a discussion to assume that ones own point of view has to emerge as the final conclusion is not a discussion really. Sure our political and societal system is based on compromise. That is why we do have Abortions allowed. Yes lets work to reduce them – regardless of the outcome of this ongoing battle in my view our overall societal direction is a very good one.

  64. Gabriel Austin permalink
    June 10, 2009 6:52 pm

    grega Says June 10, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    “But yes in my opinion you talk a pointed tough ‘merciless’ talk towards us various grades of ‘baby killers’. I however do not think of you as a unkind merciless person per se- you simply hate the fact that you raise your family in a society that allows for Abortion and would like to do whatever is in your power to change this – fine. As long as you can truly accept the fact that your voice is equal to that of a the many caring and dedicated pro choice persons – like Dr. Tiller – we will be fine as a society”.

    “As was mentioned various times – Dr. Tiller did not violate the laws of this country – his Killer did”.

    “You hate this fact and should do whatever is within your legal means to work against it – however a discussion to assume that ones own point of view has to emerge as the final conclusion is not a discussion really. Sure our political and societal system is based on compromise. That is why we do have Abortions allowed. Yes lets work to reduce them – regardless of the outcome of this ongoing battle in my view our overall societal direction is a very good one”.

    Slavery was legal, and later the Jim Crow laws. We did not do fine as a society.It is possible to have an unjust society. Consider Nazi Germany. Consider Soviet Russia. Consider Communist China.

    As the baby killers continue to entrench themselves, I believe we will end with a revolution. Considering that this country began with a revolution, is that a bad thing? Considering that the abortion promoters work mostly in poor neighborhoods, and have a background of contempt for the lower classes, and that some 13 million black babies have disappeared…

  65. Josh Brockway permalink
    June 11, 2009 7:34 am

    “As the baby killers continue to entrench themselves, I believe we will end with a revolution. Considering that this country began with a revolution, is that a bad thing? Considering that the abortion promoters work mostly in poor neighborhoods, and have a background of contempt for the lower classes, and that some 13 million black babies have disappeared…”

    Ok, seriously. Now the Pro-Life movement is compatible with a radical and violent kind of Marxism?! Apparently inconsistency is not a problem here.

  66. grega permalink
    June 11, 2009 9:23 am

    Gabriel,
    you are of course free to compare aspects of our current society with past injustices and terrific dictatorial systems.
    Yes it is a fact that we constantly do change collectively – in my opinion typically for the better -furthermore as somebody born and raised in Germany I understand perfectly well the ability of a ‘civilized’ and cultured country to slide into ‘civilized’ and well organized inhumane evil.

    I disagree with your opinion that the Abortion related laws ( and result of such abortions)in most of the Western Democracies can be compared to the Holocaust. Our laws are the result of a organic societal process – in my opinion these laws will change and should change – these things will take time to adjust. As David pointed out at various times, the fact that Catholics despite rather clear advice from the church have similar (or perhaps higher) Abortion rates compared to the general populace certainly indicate that the issue will likely not go away easily.
    Our Abortion laws are the result of deep rooted desires of the people – in my opinion a good many of these people are not cynical baby killers – they struggle – they try very hard to come up with moral answers.

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