Wednesday, December 03, 2008

How Consistently "Pro-choice"?

Please read Charles Colson on "Walking and Talking: Pro-choice as Rhetoric."

17 comments:

Jerry said...

As a result, the "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA) could more properly be labeled the "Force Doctors to Perform Abortions Act" (FDPAA).

Very few doctors want to perform abortions, thus the FOCA mandate that doctors must perform abortions if they expect to receive Medicaid/Medicare dollars.

http://inchristus.wordpress.com said...

Yes...it was insightful. Just as Schaeffer wrote, Christianity is the only belief system that is existentially viable.

Could we have a syllogism (drumroll, please)?
1. Christianity is the only belief system that is existentially viable.
2. Abortion on demand does not comport with Christianity.
3. Therefore, abortion on demand is not existentially viable.

Steve Schuler said...

Doug,

I wrote the following in response to an article that appeared at "Talk To Action" entitled, "New Interest in Serbian Abortionist turned Pro Life Advocate". That article can be seen at:

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/11/16/182620/31/Front_Page/New_Interest_in_Serbian_Abortionist_turned_Pro_Life_Advocate

My response:

" For some reason, there is a sudden flurry of interest on American websites in Stojan Adasevic, the Serbian former abortionist who became a pro-life advocate some years ago."


While I believe that abortion should be legal I hope that there will always be interest in tales such as Stojan Adasevic's. Yes, "for some reason", there should be interest in the reality of what abortion involves. It is a medical procedure that is unique in that it takes a human life. I am sure that if I were a physician I could not perform abortions of convenience. I am not a religious person and am compelled only by my own conscience, no doctrine or dogma instructs my feeling and thought on this. While I do think abortion shold be legal, it is the most troubled and uncertain position or opinion that I hold. I only hope that abortion never becomes as casually regarded as a tooth extraction. We should always be aware that a human life has been taken. A human life has been taken...

It seems your rational in dismissing Dr. Adasevic's anti-abortion stance are his religious beliefs and convictions. How convenient, but untenable, to be able to undermine a position contrary to your own on the basis of someone's religion. While I do not share Dr. Adasevic's faith I do have respect for his call to conscience. As anti-progressive as my opinion may seem, I hope that there will always be people resisting the 'sanitation' of this procedure. Maybe I am just not hip enough to regard abortion as "just another medical procedure". I only hope we can someday reach that mythical space and time known as Zero Demand. Until then I will maintain my respect for the women who choose this process, hoping they understand entirely what they are doing. I will, as well, continue to respect the people who, acting on their own conscience, discourage what they cannot abide.

by cimmaronmax on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 04:11:22 PM EST

While my post was allowed to stand, I was advised that I was violating the guidelines by "debating" abortion.

Yes, if we go beyond rhetoric we encounter reality.

Darrell said...

Unfortunately some "evangelicals" such as Richard Cizik (VP for Governmental Affairs at the National Association of Evangelicals) just don't get it.

He recently went on NPR and proclaimed that that evangelicals could vote for a pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage politician with impunity.

It is unfathomable to me.

Doug Groothuis said...

Steve:

If you rightly admit that abortion takes a human life, what possible reason can you have for supporting its legality?

Taking an innocent human life (except to save another human life as a last resort under certain conditions) is deeply morally wrong and is usually murder. Why exclude the unborn, the most fragile and dependent among us, from the moral community and its legal safeguards?

Doug Groothuis said...

You don't have to be religious to grant my argument, by the way.

Steve Schuler said...

Doug,

As I said in my response to that article, "While I do think abortion shold be legal, it is the most troubled and uncertain position or opinion that I hold."

I have sat here and pondered this question for some time trying to find some adequate defence for what I feel is so indefensible. I can find no sufficient reason that would compel me, if I were able, to perform an abortion of convenience. I could not do it by virtue of moral conviction. How then can I support the legality of abortion? I have read that there have been in excess of 40 million abortions performed in the United States in the last 40 years. This is a mind boggling and soul wrenching number. It saddens and troubles me greatly that we as a nation have adopted a sexual morality and attitude of sexual irresponsibilty that has allowed so many unwanted children to be conceived. And that is the sad reality that we face. These yet unborn children are already unwanted and unloved. It is with great sorrow that I find myself thinking that perhaps it is the lesser of two evils to confront the disheartening reality of having allowed 40 million abortions than the alternate reality of mandating the birth of 40 million unwanted and unloved children. I do not write this with cavalier disregard for the horror of what I have proposed. Even in my somewhat irreligious mind I find myself thinking, "God help me...God help us all..." .

The irrefutable contradiction in my own behaviour in this matter is that I have not made my own home available to the dispossessed and unwanted. Perhaps now I will. Can you help me in this regard?

!()/V\PK1/N said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Doug Groothuis said...

Steve:

1. These children are not unwanted and unloved. Many people want to adopt them. Moreover, the fathers often want them, but have no legal right to the child.

2. Even they are unwanted, the solution is not to kill them! A homeless man may be unwanted. He has no friends and family don't care or are dead; but that doesn't justify his being killed because he is a drag on society. He is a human being, as is a fetus--to your own judgment.

Humans have intrinsic and objective value that is incommensurate with anything else. As such, they should not be sacrificed for lesser concerns. If some of these children are unwanted the answer is not to kill them, but to create a more responsible and welcoming culture. To continue the gruesome killing of over a million (1,000,000) unborn humans a year is a bloody indictment on our country.

Doug Groothuis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Schuler said...

Doug,

I am in complete agreement that abortion is wrong. It is an act that I cannot in the least bit comfortably abide. In the large and complex domain of reproductive rights and responsibilities there are many changes I would like to see implemented. I would like to see a fathers right to intercede on behalf of an unborn child protected by law. I know that currently a father has no power to prevent an abortion. I am sure that if I were able to act on behalf of my child to protect it from abortion I would. I suppose in extending that concept to a larger societal framework it is probably correct to allow social intercession to prevent abortion in conjunction with social assumption of the responsibility of caring for the child once it is born. I know that there is currently a "demand" for babies to be adopted. Why someone with a conscience and a reasonable understanding of what abortion actually is would choose to kill a baby that could have a life and a home is beyond me. I am in complete agreement that we need to develop a more responsible and welcoming culture. I am also in agreement with your statement, "To continue the gruesome killing of over a million (1,000,000) unborn humans a year is a bloody indictment on our country." This is why we need to provide structures to end this slaughter of the innocents that extend beyond the outlawing of abortion. What I see is a society that is unwilling to assume those responsibilities.

Steve Schuler said...

Doug,

You are right. I can not defend the legality of abortion based upon it being, possibly, the lesser of two evils. Even if it were the lesser evil, that can in no way justify the taking of an innocent life. I can not justify abortion because parents or society do not want to take responsibility for our children. There is no justification for me not to take the reponsibility of protecting the lives and insuring the care of unwanted children.

Caleb said...

Hi Steve. So, you think abortion is immoral, yet still should be legal. You did say it takes a human life.

Say that murder is the premeditated taking of an innocent human life. I presume you also think the unborn is innocent. So, abortion is not just immoral, but is murder.

So, here is one argument for why abortion should be illegal:

1. Murder should be illegal
2. Abortion is Murder
Therefore, Abortion should be illegal.

If you disagree with this argument, which premise do you disagree with and why?

Steve Schuler said...

Caleb,

Sorry for not responding to your post sooner. I hadn't dropped in to see what was happening here. I presume that there was a time lag between your comment and the last comment I made. Yes, there really is no moral justification for abortion from my perspective. I would prefer if abortion were illegal. I would also prefer for war to be illegal and for people to adhere to that law. There are a lot of behaviours that I would like not to exist in this world, many of them behaviours I struggle with myself.

I will never have to make the decision for myself as to whether or not to have an abortion. Others will. That may not be the world we want, but it is the world we have. Let me ask you a very real question. Would you step forward and make a legal committment to assume parental responsibility for a child yet unborn to intercede in that childs abortion? I know that I have made no effort to that end myself. Does that make me complicit in the slaughter of the innocents? It probably does. It is much easier in life to talk the talk than to walk the walk. I am not trying to put myself on a higher moral platform in saying that, as I speak of my own shortcomings. Obviously I have no idea what you have done beyond discussing the legality of abortion on this blog. Still, I would like you to answer the question I have posed. Maybe not so much in word, but in deed.

Of course a moral question or dilemna also exist in this matter as to how to regard the abortionist. If the abortionist and those who aid him/her are comitting murder, do we have a moral obligation to take whatever measures are necessary to prevent the murder? I can say with reasonable certainty that if I encoutered a situation in my life in which I thought that I had to take a human life to preserve an innocent life that I would. I am also sure assaulting an abortionist would not meet my own moral criterion to justify taking a human life. Abortion and, for lack of a better term. 'street murder' are not equivalent acts to which I would respond the same. No abortionist need fear my moral outrage putting their life in danger. I am not looking at this from a legal perspective. I hope you do not repond to this by showing your committment to protecting the unborn by killing the born. That is not my intention.

Again, what are you willing to do, what actions are you willing to take beyond protesting the legality of abortion, to reduce or eliminate abortion?

Caleb said...

Steve,

I am not married, but if I was and could provide for a family, then yes I would adopt if I was presented with that scenario.

You said, “Would you step forward and make a legal committment to assume parental responsibility for a child yet unborn to intercede in that childs abortion? I know that I have made no effort to that end myself. Does that make me complicit in the slaughter of the innocents?”

No, that wouldn’t make you complicit in the slaughter of the innocents. Take spousal abuse as an example. It’s like asking that after convincing a woman it is wrong to stay in the relationship, would you be willing to marry her? If you do, more power to ya, but there is no inconsistency in not marrying her and at the same time arguing she shouldn’t be in the relationship.

You said, “Of course a moral question or dilemma also exist in this matter as to how to regard the abortionist. If the abortionist and those who aid him/her are comitting murder, do we have a moral obligation to take whatever measures are necessary to prevent the murder?”

Sure, and killing the abortionists is not the best way to go about preventing murder of the unborn. That would be short focused, ill thought out, and land one in the slammer. Informing people about abortion and influencing politics is the right way to go about it.

You said, “I can say with reasonable certainty that if I encoutered a situation in my life in which I thought that I had to take a human life to preserve an innocent life that I would. I am also sure assaulting an abortionist would not meet my own moral criterion to justify taking a human life. Abortion and, for lack of a better term. 'street murder' are not equivalent acts to which I would respond the same.”

Really how you respond doesn’t say anything as to the rightness or wrongness of an act.

Steve Schuler said...

Caleb,

Some people live in a world where everything is clearly delineated into domains of black and white, particulary in regard to other peoples thoughts, beliefs, and behaviours. The world I inhabit is not quite so clearly divided.

You said, "I am not married, but if I was and could provide for a family, then yes I would adopt if I was presented with that scenario." In this statement you present three preconditions that would be required for you to intercede. Marriage, adequate income, and presentation with opportunity. I take the later condition to mean that you would not seek out or try to create the circumstance where you would actively intercede in abortion by making yourself available as an alternative. Please note that for some women who seek abortion the same preconditions, particularly the first two but not excluding the third, are compelling rational to abort the fetus. Just something to think about.

As to your use of the analogy of spousal abuse and intercession by remarriage, I fail to see much in it that parallels my suggestion that people are probably capable of doing much more to eliminate or reduce abortion than protesting the legality of the procedure.

In the last instance of intercession by means of violence, "killing the abortionist", I am glad to see that you agree that it is a not particulary sane avenue to pursue. I was concerned that, not knowing you, I might be unintentionally provoking yet another anti-abortionist to an act of irreversible violence. It has happened before and probably will happen again. I am not sure, by your statement, of how you regard the morality of someone pursuing protection of innocents by death of perpetrator. I see your response as being very practical and pragmatic in nature, not based in a particular moral perspective.

My comment on how I would and do respond differently to abortion and "street murder" is not an arguement but, rather, a personal observation. I do not in conveying that observation of my own thinking and feeling intend to compel another to share my thoughts and feelings. Some people can probably relate to the perspective I describe and some people probably can not. I hold no illusion that I am an exemplary individual, being very aware of some of my own shortcomings in thought and deed. You mistook an observation as an arguement. We all do that sometimes.

Finally, you said, "Really how you respond doesn’t say anything as to the rightness or wrongness of an act.", pertaining to the "street murder"/ abortion scenario addressed above. You are right. How we respond to a situation does not necessarily speak to the criminality or immorality of a situation. What it does speak of is our own convictions and willingness and ability to act on them. In this discussion I needed to move only 'two moral micromillimeters' to cross the line between a legality/illegality stance. My shift was anything but a reversal in opinion. The questions I have raised are not merely rhetorical or argumentative in nature. They are very practical in the sense that they challenge me, and possibly you, to look for very real actions that can be pursued as possibly more potent activities than political posturing to reduce the problem of abortion. The level of commitment and necessity of self sacrifice that such radical action demands will leave most of us complicit in the slaughter for failing to act. I do not count myself out of that number and it would seem by your response that you have counted yourself in.

Victor Reppert said...

I once read a paper whose title was "Murder is Sometimes Morally Justified." The author of the paper, however, quickly backpedaled, since it is conceptually true of murder that it is morally unjustified.

Now there are plenty of wrongful actions that we all would agree do not require criminalization. But murders?

In saying that abortion is murder I take it we are not saying that the action was performed maliciously. What I take it we have to mean is that the life of a person was taken, and that that life was taken without moral justification.

At at least some stages of pregnancy, I think that personhood is open to reasonable doubt. Fetuses lack mental states, and even brain cells, early on. But they have other "person-making" characteristics. But is reasonable doubt enough to make a case against criminalization? Killing what may or may not turn out in the final analysis to be a person seems very wrong morally, in any event.