Friday, January 18, 2008

Abortion Numbers Head in the Right Direction

The number of abortions in the US in 2005 was the lowest in 30 years, but still scandalously high. How do we treat "the least of these"--the unborn, the elderly, the sick, the poor, the homeless, etc.--in America? See Matthew 25:31-46.

If any of the Democrats win the Presidency, the numbers will very likely move back up again. Numbers here means "unborn human beings killed." Obama voted against a law to protect infants born alive after a "failed" abortion. Obama would not "bring America together" over this; he would take the wrong side and prosecute his case relentlessly, as did Bill Clinton during his catastrophic regime.

Yes, we are back into politics, Curmudgeonites.

9 comments:

Peter Malik said...

that's exactly right. Their pseudo-humane reasons for their stance on abortion are pathetic mockery of the notion of life itself. Terrible

Chuck Kinzie said...

I'm as anti-abortion as you can get, but facts are facts.

Abortions went DOWN under Mr. Clinton and started climbing back up again under Mr. Bush.

I'm not claiming a cause-effect relationship here; I'm just stating the facts.

Sirfab said...

Amen Chuck.

To reduce abortion you need to put in place a number of measures aimed at making it easier for single mothers (and other parents)to have and raise babies (or to prevent getting pregnant in the first place). Bush, despite filling his mouth with compassionate conservatism, did not do that. Put your money where your mouth is. (Read David Kuo's Tempting Faith for a depiction of Bush's empty promises on many fronts.)

So this Democrat v. Republican stance on abortion issue is very convenient politically (for both sides, mind you, though for opposed reasons) but it really does not do justice to the cause.

Doug Groothuis said...

I wondered about this after I posted it. I'll check into it. Still, I will not vote for a pro-choice/anti-life candidate for President. Think of the Supreme Court appointees, for one thing.

Sirfab said...

Dr. Groothuis,

I respect your view on the subject as it seems heartfelt. We have just recently discussed abortion in person and I have no doubt to question your sincerity on the subject. However, I am troubled by your single-issue approach to candidate selection (at least in the skimming process).

One very important piece of how we value life is what we think of the unborn. Some go as far as saying that how we see abortion is the cornerstone of our moral views. But, realistically, respect for life does not stop at what we believe on abortion. Too many politicians use the issue of abortion as a means of gathering support and votes for elections. Then, everything they do after they get elected goes against respect for life: from their support for illegal wars and occupations to slashing funds for social programs which are meant to protect and help the lives of children and their struggling parents (think S-Chip, for example, but not only). To mention just the latest example: the president just proposed an economic stimulus package that would give money back to taxpayers, in an attempt to keep the economy from sliding into a recession. But many politicians, almost exclusively Republicans (or, as I like to call them, neo-conmen) oppose these rebates going to those who have paid no taxes, i.e. the poorest of us (the least of us in Biblical terms).

I promise you, Dr. Groothuis: whatever amount of money I receive back from the government is going to make little difference in my budget, but it would make a greater difference in the lives of those who are so poor that they don't even pay taxes, and to their children. I bet you, instead, that the great majority of the rebates in this stimulus package will go in the largest proportion to those who need it less. It's a story we have already seen.

So I wonder why people who profess to value life so much suddenly stop worrying about the struggle that is life after birth has been given. I suggest that they should pick the best candidate overall, regardless of his of her views on abortion. Why? Just to give you an example, I was for abortion when I was a church-going Catholic, and I am against abortion now that I have turned to atheism. So, I guess, there's always hope.

Sirfab said...

By the way, since Reagan was elected, the Supreme Court has been veering more and more to the right. Little has changed with regard to abortion. However many conquests of the middle-class, of environmentalists, and of many other groups have been reversed and/or shattered by the SCOTUS, in favor of readings of the Constitution that generally favor corporate power and the wealthiest. Another exzmple of how chopping off one's hand to spite one's arm often ends with gangrenous results.

Kyl Schalk said...

Dr Groothuis,

I agree strongly agree with your assessment of the importance of the Supreme Court appointees, etc.

Allow me to quote Dr. Francis Beckwith again:

http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2007/beckwith_defendlife_dec07.asp

“I think that with one or two more appointments to the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade will be overturned. If Justices Ginsberg, Stevens, Souter, Breyer, and/or Kennedy retire and are replaced by more conservative justices, then Roe will likely fall if the right sort of case hits the Court. This is why the presidential election of 2008 may be the most important one for the pro-life movement since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. This is also why pro-life Catholics and Evangelicals have to respectfully resist being swayed by well-meaning members of their traditions who want to play down the importance of the abortion question in comparison to other issues. I see a disturbing trend among some Evangelical leaders in that regard. We have to remember that the central question behind the abortion issue—Who and what are we and can we know it?—is the question that informs every other moral and social issue on which human life, dignity, and community hang in the balance.

Recently, for example, I watched a video in which Emergent Church leader, Brian McLaren, implied that the pro-life position on abortion is a "single issue" by which Catholics, in particular, are exploited by others as a "one-issue voting bloc." I sat through this video with my mouth hanging open in utter amazement that this pastor would present the profundity of the sanctity of life by disguising it (calling it "one issue") and then dismissing it by characterizing in an uncharitable way fellow Christians who are deeply committed to human life's intrinsic dignity from conception to natural death.

The view that human beings are made in the image of God and ought to be protected by our laws and the wider community is not "one issue." It is the principle that is the point of justice itself: to love our neighbors as ourselves; to exercise charity; to help the vulnerable and the weak.”

Jay Watts writes, “I think those that ask pro-lifers to do the same miss the point. I am convinced that the unborn are innocent human beings. I can not overlook the willingness of a candidate to support the killing of innocent human beings, even if that candidate is someone I might otherwise endorse. Other issues are important, but at the core of this issue is the fate of millions of lives. You either believe that we are sanctioning the killing of over 1,000,000 innocent human beings every year through surgical abortion alone or you do not. But if you do, it is insane that you would place the candidate’s position on debt relief in Africa or the welfare system on the same level. They are not equally urgent issues. The other issues involve complex bureaucratic processes and alternative political and social theories. This issue is easier. We just have to stop killing these human beings. “and “I am a one-issue voter, if by that you mean I will not vote for any man or woman who believes that it is a basic right of American citizens to take the life of an innocent human being for elective reasons. I confess that the lives of the unborn are important to me because I believe that they are important to God. I further assert that those who believe that the unborn are human beings have an obligation to speak out on their behalf. There is no hero coming this time. It is left to us to defend them with all of the passion and resources we have available. We are the only voice they have.”

More from Watts:

http://lti-blog.blogspot.com/2007/01/word-about-one-issue-voting-part-1-jay.html

http://lti-blog.blogspot.com/2007/01/word-about-one-issue-voting-part-2-jay.html

More information in the comments part of this link:

http://lti-blog.blogspot.com/2007/03/you-havent-seen-me-unreasonable-yet-jay.html

Kyl Schalk said...

Here are more powerful quotes from Jay Watts:

“Even if Stephen Douglas was an otherwise fine politician, his views on slavery and the humanity of the "Negro," as he put it, were ample reason not to want him in office representing a constituency. Do you seriously ask Frederick Douglas to set aside those things and look at a broader picture?”

“The first point is that the answer to slow progress is not always to take a step back. The problem is not that we have tried electing pro-life officials and it has failed. My estimation of the problem is that after electing the officials we have not been vigilant enough to make certain that they are fulfilling their pro-life promises. We are not suffering from a job tried and failed. We are suffering the results of a job half tried at best. We give them support and then let them off of the hook. Our pro-life elected officials need to see that WE care about the issue of life outside of election cycles. They need to hear from US that their current efforts are not sufficient, if they are not, and that we have higher expectations for them than to be ready to vote accordingly when someone else has the courage to propose legislation.”

“…we have to work harder this time because we have no hope of one of the oppressed rising up in protest and voicing their humanity. They, the actual oppressed, simply can not this time.”


“Frederick Douglass did have the power of being a living counter argument to the caricature of American slaves that was put forth by the anti-abolition forces. That is what I intend to explore more fully in part 2 of this post.”

My above links to Jay Watts writing provide more information about these powerful quotes.

Sirfab said...

Did a little fact-checking.

Factcheck.org has an interesting study on what they call "a bad statistic" (the one that claims that abortions increased after Clinton left office). You can see it for yourself here.
As the chart shows, abortion has been steadily declinining since the George H.W. Bush term, and has continued declining under the present president. What is true, is that the rate of decline was steeper under Bill Clinton's than under George W. Bush, and that may be the source of the misrepresentation.

In any case, this is good news which should give both factions (Democracts and Republicans) a chance to rejoice.