Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Abortion Stronghold

Charles Colson nails it in this editorial about some barbaric "doctors" finding a loophole in the law against partial birth abortions. See Proverbs 8:36.


Kyl said...

Here are prenatal pictures (if you don’t want to, don’t look at them)
Here are abortion pictures
Here is an abortion video
Below I put together some parts primarily from the Stand to Reason Interactive series Making Abortion Unthinkable The Art of Pro-life Persuasion.
Scientific evidence supports the argument that abortion kills a real human being. Leading embryology books confirm this See T.W. Sadler, Langman’s Embryology, 5th ed. (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1993) p. 3; Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (Toronto: B.C. Decker, 1988) p. 2; O’Rahilly, Ronand and Muller, Pabiola, Human Embryology and Teratology, 2nd ed. (New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996) pp. 8, 29. It simply isn’t true that no one knows when life begins. Here’s why. The unborn is alive from the moment of conception. No period of non-life exists in the sequence of events from mating to birth. An unbroken continuum of life stretches from beginning to end: A living sperm unites with a living egg to form a living zygote. Biological growth begins at the moment of conception, which proves the unborn is alive. The unborn possesses each of the biological criteria for life.
2)Growth (reproduction)
3)Reaction to stimuli
The distinct life of an individual being begins at its conception (fertilization).
The individual’s unique genetic fingerprint originates at conception, which any biology textbook makes clear. An egg with 23 of the mother’s chromosomes unites with a sperm with 23 of the father’s chromosomes, creating an individual living thing. The zygote is different from every other cell in the mother’s body because it has its own unique chromosomal “fingerprint.” The unborn rapidly develops physically into a composite of different kinds of cells, which never happens with any other kind of human cell.
Given that the unborn is alive, what kind of living thing is it? Is it a plant or an animal? Is it a tomato or a rutabaga, or some kind of bacteria? Is it a bird, reptile, fish, amphibian, or mammal? What kind of mammal is it? A cat? Rabbit? The unborn is a Homo Sapiens, a human being. First, the DNA Genetic signature proves the unborn is a human being. If you had 10 zygotes in a row, how would you know which one was human if they all looked alike to the naked eye? You’d know by the DNA. The principle of biogenesis proves the unborn is a human being. The principle of biogenesis states two things. First, all life comes from pre-existent life. Second, each being reproduces after its own kind. Since every being reproduces after its own kind, human beings can only reproduce other human beings. Dogs make puppies, fish make guppies, and humans make yuppies. If this principle is denied, it must be explained how two human beings can create a separate being that is not human-in clear violation of the principle of biogenesis-but later becomes one. The individual, living offspring of two other human beings must always be another human being.
They say the unborn is human, but not a person. When confronted with this statement, always ask this question: What’s the difference? What’s the difference between a human and a person? If they permit the killing of a human being who’s not a person, but not the killing of a human who is, then they must be clear on the difference between the two. What are the specific reasons for disqualifying some humans from protection? Why should we accept the notion that some humans are not persons? The distinction seems arbitrary. Humans are personal kinds of beings.
Human beings have intrinsic value. They are valuable in themselves. Intrinsic value means that our value is tied to what we are, not to what we can do. We need nothing more than our shared humanity to have equal value and to deserve equal protection. Anything that can be functionally defined-valuable because of some condition, such as size, level of development, location, or degree of dependency-can be functionally defined away-no longer valuable because the ability is lost. What if we had no legs or our bodies were terribly misshapen, like the Elephant Man’s? Would we be any less ourselves? Would we be any less a person? Pro-life advocates believe that no human being-regardless of size, level of development, race, gender, or place of residence-should be excluded from the community of human persons. Our view of humanity is inclusive, wide open to all-especially to those who are small, vulnerable, and defenseless.

Kyl said...

Every pro-life advocate should know this key illustration. Teach it to as many people as you can.
If your child comes up behind you while you’re working and asks, “Mommy/Daddy, can I kill this?’ what one question must you ask before you can answer his question? Before you answer the question “Can I kill this? You must first ask the question “What is it? If it’s a spider or a cockroach, he can smash it. If it’s the funny-looking boy down the street, he’ll need to sit down for a long talk with you. Abortion kills something that’s alive. Whether it’s right or wrong depends entirely upon the answer to one question: What is being killed? Or, What is the unborn?

Kyl said...

Some other interesting things:
Elective abortion kills the unborn (doing so is the purpose of the abortion), and only something alive can be killed. The unborn can be a different gender from the mother. The unborn develops a separate brain and central nervous system. The unborn can have a different blood type. The DNA fingerprint is widely used in forensics, especially by the government and the military, to determine the identity of particular human beings. The DNA fingerprint allows investigators to connect certain biological remains (such as blood and hair) to specific individuals. Dr. Landrum Shettles, the first scientist to achieve conception in a test tube, writes that conception not only confers life, but “defines” life. Prior to his abortion advocacy, former Planned Parenthood president Dr. Alan Guttmacher was perplexed that anyone, much less a medical doctor, would question that life begins at conception. “This all seems so simple and evident that it is difficult to picture a time when it wasn’t part of the common knowledge,” he wrote in his book Life In the Making.

Kyl said...

The pro-life rationale is clear:
1)Intentionally killing an innocent human person is a moral wrong.
2)Elective abortion is the killing of an innocent human person.
3)Therefore, elective abortion is a moral wrong.
We are not talking about killing cockroaches. The key question is “what is the unborn?” Abortion shouldn’t be allowed unless the unborn poses a significant threat to the mother’s life.

Jeff S. said...

Colson is sharp as always... JP Moreland's book "Body and Soul" is a great place to start when asking questions about the status of the unborn. It ultimately comes down to what it means to be human, which jumps right into metaphysics. (And that is a wonderful place to be.)

Bjorn said...

Mr. Colson gets almost everything wrong in his article. What he describes is no loophole, the partial-birth abortion ban is no pro-life victory and it certainly is no reason to celebrate.

1) No loophole
Mr. Colson writes about an alleged Partial-Birth Abortion Loophole. “It turns out that some abortionists are doing an end run around the partial-birth abortion ban by injecting lethal drugs to kill the fetus before doing the late-term abortion.”
My dictionary defines a loophole as an unintended weakness in a law which enables people to legally do something that the law had intended prevent. The Federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, however, never intended to prevent doctors from injecting lethal drugs to kill the fetus. This is evident from the clear language of the Act itself and from the legislative intent as seen in the congressional records.
The Act was not intended to prevent late-term abortions but focused on banning one particular method of performing an abortion. The partial-birth abortion method as described in and banned by the Act refers to the killing of a living fetus just inches away from being born and does “not restrict an abortion procedure involving the delivery of an expired fetus”. Congress was worried about the fact that this method had a “disturbing similarity to the killing of a newborn infant” and that it “will further coarsen society to the humanity of not only newborns, but all vulnerable and innocent human life, making it increasingly difficult to protect such life.”
Ironically, what Mr. Colson refers to as loophole is one of the reasons why the Supreme Court did sustain the statute on its face. The Supreme Court clearly saw that “an injection that kills the fetus is an alternative under the Act that allows the doctor to perform the procedure”. The existence of such a legal alternative was one of the reasons why the ban was held to impose no undue burden.
A carefully reading of the Act and the Supreme Court decision makes it very clear that the method described by Mr. Colson does not take advantage of an unintended weakness in the Federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. It is a different procedure that Congress was not concerned with when banning partial-birth abortion.

Just to get this straight, I am pro-life and I am not advocating the killing of a fetus by lethal injections. But I think we have to be realistic about the legal situation. Wishful thinking gets us nowhere. And we shouldn’t expect that this conflict could be won in Congress or in the courts. Laws and court decisions do not convince the defeated party. Therefore we should not be surprised or scandalized if the defeated party should try to find loopholes. This lies in the very nature of a merely legal conflict resolution that is not supported by a moral consensus. And it won’t stop until we convince them that abortion is morally wrong.

Bjorn said...

2) No pro-life victory
Colson writes “banning this unspeakably barbaric form of abortion was a victory—albeit a small one—for the pro-life cause. It represented another step toward the end of abortion-on-demand in this country.”
I do not think that Gonzales v. Carhart brings your country any closer to the end of abortion-on-demand; that was simply not an issue in this case. The Court upheld Casey and only came out differently than in Danforth because the Act does not even inhibit abortions. The ban of this particular method “doesn’t preserve any fetus because you just do it inside the womb instead of outside” as one Justice put it.
The ban applies only to a specific method of abortion. Even for late-term abortions there is always an alternative method available. So all it this Act does is to force the doctor to choose a different method of killing the fetus. That does not look like a pro-life victory to me.

3) No reason to celebrate
It is a good thing that the partial-birth abortion method was banned. Partial-birth abortion is indeed barbaric and Congress made the right decision in banning it. But is this a reason to celebrate? The ban merely means that abortions will be performed by a different method, most likely the standard D&E. Let me quote a few lines from Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart describing this alternative method:
“The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix and vagina, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely removed.”
I don’t know if Mr. Colson really feels like celebrating when he reads the Supreme Court decision. But for me the prospect that more fetuses will be torn apart in utero is certainly no reason to celebrate regardless of how barbaric the banned alternative might have been.

JanusMagus said...

I think bjorn hits it on the mark and gets all his facts straight. I'd add that, although it is no real victory for the Pro-Choice side, it is a moral victory that disgustingly brutal D&X abortions can no longer be performed. Francis Beckwith explains this act, as well as the "Born-Alive Infants Protection Act" of 2002, of which he writes, "..this..raises an awkward question for abortion-choice supporters. What is it, then, about that vaginal passageway that changes the the child's nature is such a significant fashion that it may be killed without justification before exit but only with justification post-exit?"

Defending Life, Cambridge U Press, 2007. I recommend this book to anyone. While I am not finished, there seems to be hardly any issues untouched here.

JanusMagus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kyl said...

Because we have brilliant intellectuals like Douglas Groothuis, J.P. Moreland, and Francis Beckwith, we can make a major difference for the pro-life movement (with the assistance of the Spirit). Beckwith’s new pro-life book is enormously important for the pro-life movement, Janusmagus. I’m very glad that you mentioned it. Pro-lifers must put gigantic, gigantic efforts into getting these pro-life arguments into the minds of our world’s leaders, educators, families, churches, public, etc. Scott Klusendorf’s pro-life blog posts at the Life Training Institute have been simply amazing. He has been clearly articulating arguments better than I have ever seen.

Kyl said...

Here are some parts from Scott Klusendorf’s writing: Now, it may be the case that the unborn are not fully human and abortion is therefore justified. But this must be argued with evidence, not merely assumed by one's rhetoric. Suppose, for example, that a friend justifies elective abortion this way: “Women have a right to make their own private decisions. What goes on in the bedroom is their business and no one else’s.” When you hear this, don’t panic. Trot out a toddler: Pro-lifer: Okay, you say that privacy is the issue. Pretend that I have a two-year old in front of me (hold out your hand at waist level to illustrate this). May I kill him as long as I do it in the privacy of the bedroom?
Abortion-advocate: That’s silly--of course not!
Pro-lifer: Why not?
Abortion-advocate: Because he’s a human being.
Pro-lifer: Ah. If the unborn are human, like the toddler, we shouldn’t kill the unborn in the name of privacy anymore than we’d kill a toddler for that reason.
Abortion-advocate: You’re comparing apples with oranges, two things that are completely unrelated. Look, killing toddlers is one thing. Killing a fetus that is not a human being is quite another.
Pro-Lifer: Ah. That’s the issue, isn’t it? Are the unborn human beings, like toddlers? That is the one issue that matters.
Staying Focused
Notice that you’ve not yet argued for the humanity of the unborn. You’ll do that in a moment. For now, all you are doing is framing the issue around the question, What is the unborn? That is the crux of the debate.
As the conversation continues, keep trotting out the toddler each time your friend assumes the unborn are not human. That will keep the discussion focused on the one question that really matters: the status of the unborn.
Abortion-advocate: But many poor women cannot afford to raise another child.
Pro-lifer: When human beings get expensive, may we kill them? Getting back to my toddler example, suppose a large family collectively decides to quietly dispose of its three youngest children to help ease the family budget. Would this be okay?
Abortion-advocate: But you're being too simplistic. This is a very complex issue involving women who must make agonizing decisions.
Pro-lifer: The decision may be psychologically complex for the mother, but morally it is not complex at all. When black children are denied schooling and other community services, do we spin a tale about complex and agonizing decisions for the white people in power or do we condemn the evil of racism?
Abortion-advocate: Aborting a fetus that is not human is one thing; discriminating against a black person is quite another.
Pro-lifer: So we’re agreed: If abortion kills a defenseless human being, then the issue wouldn’t be complex at all. The question remains: What is the unborn? Admittedly, one conversation is seldom enough to convert people on the spot. That’s okay. Sometimes clarifying the issue is enough to get friends and critics thinking. Once that happens, you’ll have opportunity to engage them again. To use a baseball example, you don’t have to hit a home run with every conversation. Sometimes just getting on base is enough. And you’ll certainly do just that when you trot out your toddler.

Kyl said...

(Continued from my other posts on the abortion topic)
This is an important link:

The distinct life of an individual being begins at its conception (fertilization). It is the second image on that link. The aforementioned images are from the Justice For All Exhibit pro-life webpage.

Gregory Koukl writes, “If the unborn is not a human person, no justification for abortion is necessary. However, if the unborn is a human person, no justification for abortion is adequate.