Many people with whom I disagree seem illogical. I don’t feel that way about people who are “pro-life.”
Other beliefs they may profess unrelated to abortion may be problematic, depending on individuals. And all bets are off with politicians who pander to them. But people who are seriously pro-life seem ethically logical in much of what they say about abortion, including their main point.
They maintain killing gestating humans is the same as killing fully-formed people in the open air.
It’s hard to argue away their position. I can’t put my finger on when life begins. Heartbeat? Sustainability outside the womb?
So I can see people insisting on setting the beginning of life deserving protection with conception or formation of a zygote. It actually harms pro-lifers’ logic if they make 22-week exceptions or exceptions in cases of rape or anything else. If abortion is murder, it’s always murder. The product of a rape is no less deserving of life than the product of love.
I think they’re wrong about the issue in general, but it’s questionable to maintain, as many liberals do, that most pro-life adherents are anti-woman. They just don’t respect the rights of people they see as being willing to kill babies.
Observant Catholics, who form the core of pro-life believers, are somewhat consistent. They don’t believe in capital punishment, either. That doesn’t mean they’re opposed to the rights of crime victims. They just believe that life should be taken only by God, not people.
Must we kill to prevent there being any wicked? This is to make both parties wicked instead of one. –Blaise Pascal, 17th century Catholic theologian, mathematician, scientist
Many people are furious with Pope Francis’ apparent lack of coherence on Russia’s war in Ukraine. He said he appreciates the right of nations like Ukraine to defend themselves but also maintains that there is no such thing as a just war.
The reason for the mixed signals is that the Pope is willing to say almost anything toward the goal of a negotiated end to the killing.
George Bernard Shaw, not the most religious 20th-century thinker, nevertheless wrote a sentence that seemed to reflect this attitude toward both motherhood and war: It is long and painful to create life; it is short and easy to steal the life others have made.
Pro-choice people like me don’t always hear pro-lifers when they talk about their beliefs. We should. Abortion opponents may not hear the logic-based complaints of those who want abortion available, either. They should, too.
For instance, the Vatican has actively opposed enslavement of Christians since the days of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Renaissance, and of non-Christians for the last 300 years or so.
But if we force someone to carry a future human in her body for nine months, isn’t that slavery?
There are several often-accepted medical reasons to terminate a pregnancy, such as ectopic pregnancies and other unsustainable or dangerous conditions. But beyond those, there’s the significant question of what some people can compel other people to do.
We can’t force anyone to work without compensation, even in prison. Forcing pregnancy on someone seems worse: It’s committing them to a nine-month, 24-7 term of hazardous, unpaid employment. And then, responsibility for an unwanted child.
Anti-abortionists shake their heads when women talk about bans robbing them of “control of our own bodies.”
Their confused response: “We’re not talking about your bodies, it’s the bodies of the babies we care about.”
Pro-life adherents maintain that over the last 49 years of federally-protected abortion, many great men and women may have been lost to the world for never having been born.
That only happened in the alternate universe of abortion being illegal. But in our universe, women definitely accomplished things they wouldn't have if they were compelled to carry pregnancies to term and give birth. The nation may be richer for those women’s opportunities than for any good works that might have been accomplished by speculative children they didn’t have.
As the 20-year anniversary of the 1973 Roe v Wade decision approached, crime in the United States began to decline and stayed in decline. We don’t know if that was because fewer unwanted children were born, and those less-loved kids didn’t grow up to commit crimes and other antisocial behavior.
But we can do the math and project that a greater percentage of much-loved children came to the Earth than had before, and they, their mothers and other American women had better opportunities because of planned parenthood.
We can’t credibly speculate about what might have been. But we know what is.
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I can sympathize with the anti-abortion folk who honestly believe a fetus is the equivalent of a child. The idea of abortion is horrific in those circumstances. But that is their religious belief and it is the antithesis of democracy that everyone must follow the religious beliefs of others and that the government punishes those who do not. There is no scientific or medical definition of when an organism becomes a human being, because that is a religious or philosophical question. So everyone should be able to follow their own consciences.
At no time in this country prior to the backlash against Roe, nor at any time since at least the mid 16th century, did our statutes or English common law (upon which our law is based) recognize fetuses as persons whose lives were the equivalent of a born person. Before "quickening" - the point (around 4 months) where a fetus's movements in the womb can be ascertained, a woman was free to to terminate her pregnancy. Even after that point, if anyone else caused her to miscarry or abort, it was considered a crime of violence against the WOMAN, not the fetus. So all this blather about our long tradition of protecting "innocent human life" is nonsense. When Alito quoted Matthew Hale, he failed to mention that Hale's opinion was CONTRARY to the law at the time. It's like arguing a case by quoting the dissent in a previous one. The US has no "tradition" of considering fetuses human beings with the same rights as born persons.
Irv, Thank you for a unique and balanced response on this issue that separates many of us into morality police forcing a belief in the sacredness of life onto others. If we truly believe that, than we must believe in the oneness of humanity and consider everyone as part of our human family, no matter how old they are. Sadly, there are too many of us who only see humanity in members of our tribe with blindness to those outside of it.
"Yes and" is the response we need to have on abortion. Both entities, embryonic human and mother, are vital, and both need support, no matter what their tribe. In the Baha'i Faith, we are generally against killing. However, if there is a compelling reason to consider abortion, that decision should be between the woman and her doctor and their Creator, rather than crusaders who really seem to want to punish women for having sexual relations, with no responsibility for the men involved.
We the people of the world need to support all parents and we need to educate all children well for the benefit of society. We need to make sure that all people live in a safe place, with healthy food, water and loving support. When we believe that this is God's plan as seen in the Golden Rule found in all religions, the steps to make it happen emerge.