October 09, 2006
Ah, Abortion...that Harmonious Issue

The Seattle Times carries an intriguing AP story today on a statewide vote set to occur on Election Day in South Dakota, to determine the fate of a legislative ban on almost all abortions in the state.

The Legislature's actions in February of course captured a fair amount of media attention, but the upcoming statewide vote is fascinating. Notably, even backers of the ban admit the polling isn't terribly good when voters are informed of the ban's lack of an exception for rape or incest (there is an exception for the life of the mother). In addition, there is the oddity of the ban's supporters touting that "emergency contraception" would still be available to such victims. Since when do pro-life advocates tout "emergency conception"? And even at that, who in their right mind thinks victims of incest are likely to have access to such an option within the necessary 72 hours, particularly in the sprawling metropolis that is South Dakota?

I raise such questions not because of the merits of the ban itself, but to pose the question of whether or not pro-life activists sometimes push their efforts too far for their own political good? Had they not excluded a rape and incest exception it seems based on the Times article that the ban would be likely to pass.

Personally, I'm to the left of the most ardent pro-lifers, but to the right of positions normally taken by those firmly in the Mainstream Republicans camp. In the broader debate, both sides of the issue, pro-life and pro-choice, tend to take the argument beyond the pale. But the focal point of this article is the pro-life side, and I give you one local example as well, on a more modest scale:

Reagan Winger, and sometimes Sound Politics commenter, Michelle McIntyre has started her own blog, focused on, well, pro-life issues. That's all well and good, but she proceeds to highlight Republican groups she opposes as "Pro-Death Republicans." She might be able to intellectually argue that point, but as political rhetoric it's unnecessarily offensive. It would be like me starting my own personal blog, then linking to the Reagan Wing and Phil Spackman under the banner of "Insane Republicans." Not that I would do such a thing of course...stop laughing, I'm serious.

The point is she didn't need to go there. No more than pro-life activists in South Dakota needed to make their policy goals more difficult to achieve by leaving out an exception for rape or incest.

The implications such a debate are worth discussing since if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, it will lead to a battle royale in many state legislatures over abortion. It's a safe bet NARAL and company would go apoplectic over such devolution to the states. If such a ruling were to occur, would staunch pro-life advocates reach to far and damage their own cause? Have they done so already in South Dakota?

Please discuss.

Posted by Eric Earling at October 09, 2006 04:16 PM | Email This
Comments
1. Abortion bans this wide just aren't a winning issue outside of the Southeast and Mormon areas.

SurveyUSA polling shows that 49% of South Dakotans identify themselves as pro-life, and 47% as pro-choice. If even the pro-life contingency admits that this legislation is in danger, do they think this is a nationally viable plan? I do hope not.

Abortion is one of politics' most unfortunate issues. I have no sympathy, however, for terms like "pro-death" either. They serve just to dumb down the dialogue. If pro-lifers want to stand a chance with moving forward with their agenda, they need to stop proposing legislation that performs poorly in a plurality-pro-life state, when the nation identifies as pro-choice by a 56-38 margin.

Posted by: Alcon Nighthawk on October 9, 2006 04:09 PM
2. I think it's wonderful that the voters of a state can finally weigh in on the issue. For too long the debate on abortion has been hijacked by lawyers and judges. Opinion polls are nice, as far as they go, but I think that an actual vote is terrific.

Posted by: sstarr on October 9, 2006 04:52 PM
3. If abortion is wrong because the baby killed is a person, why does it matter how the child was conceived? How can it be wrong to kill the child, except when the woman was impreganted as a result of incest or rape?

Posted by: Janice on October 9, 2006 05:02 PM
4. Janice,

I don't disagree at all. I do not find exceptions for rape or incest to be logical beyond a bargaining tool. However, the pro-life movement must realise that they cannot win any elections outside of the Southeast, Idaho, and Utah with this position.

Posted by: Alcon Nighthawk on October 9, 2006 05:06 PM
5. I pretty much agree with you Eric. My own personal position is that abortion ought to be rare, but that there are some understandable abortions.

I'm for setting a date so that a very early term abortion would be legal and similar to the post 72 hour contraceptive drugs. I don't know what that exact date would be, but in the first six weeks seems like a compromise that anti-abortionists might be able to accept. My reasoning is that there will always be some women who will seek abortions no matter what. Making it illegal will only serve to criminalize and endanger women. Probably not the best thing in the graphic sex culture in which we live. For those who might disagree, imagine a scenario where a strict pro-life mother has to watch her young daughter agonize over carrying a child she does not want, or worse, become a criminal for seeking an illegal abortion. I don't see how it will be possible to eliminate all abortions. The extreme pro-lifers seem to be unrealistic.

I'm also tolerant of abortions in the case of rape or incest. I don't think any woman should have to carry the child of a scumbag who rapes her, for that would be a truly awful psychological trauma, far worse than the trauma of an abortion. And a child who is the victim of incest, that's a clear case for a psychological and physical trauma that is a good justification for an abortion.

I expect this thread to provoke the usual volatile debate. I hope people will be civil and not let this thread degrade into a HorsesAss.org style hate fest with labels like Pro-Death, etc.

Posted by: Jeff B. on October 9, 2006 05:28 PM
6. Janice,

Here's my take on your question, which is a very good question. Let's accept your premise that the baby is a person. Although, that's very debatable in the first week or so, because there's little more than a clump of cells making up an embryo. Which brings me to my argument.

The conceived person is a potential person. A small and growing life, a potential based on many factors. Obviously, there's the factor of continuance of the pregnancy, but we all know there's a lot more to a functional adult human being than merely conception. There's the love, time, nutrition, guidance, education, and cost of bringing a potential conceived life to full adult fruition.

It may be that a rape victim's child could somehow be adopted and receive all of the benefits of a proper human upbringing, and that would be a happy ending. But it also might be a traumatic and horrific childhood that ends up forming an adult serial killer who takes some other future innocent life. We can't know the outcome of that future potential person, so it's really difficult to accept that all potential humans, even those conceived unwillingly or through violence and hate, will achieve a potential that ends up good.

And then there's the actual human life of the woman who is raped, or a victim of incest, or simply a careless youth that has no intention of properly raising or providing for a child. We've all read many stories lately where the teen throws the newborn in a dumpster. And that's the result of the inconceivable burden of child rearing that is automatically placed on to the actual mother of a child. Is there no allowance for the burden that a child places on an actual life? A burden that might even result in the destruction of a young actual life, and the newly conceived life.

To me it's a question of potential vs. actual, which is why I believe there should be at least some choice or legal exceptions, even if that choice is legally very limited and very early on in the pregnancy.

Posted by: Jeff B. on October 9, 2006 05:48 PM
7. Jeff B.

The problem I have with your line of reasoning is that you make no case for holding the position that Abortion should be rare.

You seem to be cuaght in the untenable position of deciding that abortion is both wrong but allowable due to "circumstances".

Let me try and draw a line here. The unborn child is either a life, worthy in its own right, or it is not. If it is, then no amount of sophistry can be sufficient to justify the taking of that life. If it is not, then there is no basis for restricting the right of the mother to terminate that life at any time she chooses.

What basis can you provide to say that the life has partial rights that are dependent on circumstances that are entirely outside of its own doing? How would you deal with it if the rights that you are allowed were not dependent on your actions but on the actions of others?

It seems to me that you can only argue that the unborn child has no rights because any rights it might have are not guaranteed.

I will make only a passing address on the frightful line of reasoning that suggests that since we cannot know if a child will grow up to be good or bad we can justify the termination thereof. That reasoning can be carried quite easily to other circumstances irrespective to UNBORN. Give it some serious thought and maybe you can envision it yourself.

-Eyago

Posted by: Eyago on October 9, 2006 06:18 PM
8. Perhaps what we need is a good 5th Amendment due process hearing to balance the rights of mother to be and baby?

Posted by: krm on October 9, 2006 06:38 PM
9. Eric's comments, as much as anything he writes on this subject, show how completely he misunderstands the issue.

First, he gives us several undocumented and false impressions of, both the ballot measure and the pro-life position on it, presumably because he has used the Seattle Times, a left-wing propaganda vehicle, as his source.
Next, he tells us that he is "to the left of the most ardent pro-lifers, but to the right of positions normally taken by those firmly in the Mainstream Republicans" thus, positioning himself, not by reason, but by an arbitrary "choice" based on political advantage. Remember Eric, the "extreme" answers to the question "What is two plus two?" include "four" (clearly a fundamentalist, absolutist position) and "four billion," but anything between eight and 300 is clearly "moderate."
Next, because his natural inclination is to see all political positions as ploys - means to the end of personal advancement - he begins to second-guess and question why the Pro-Life community insists on being logical.

"Why would they take a position when a more popular one is available??" he wonders. Indeed.
Because, Eric, we aren't playing political games like you are. We're talking about the assembly-line slaughter of innocent human beings.

How dare we call the people who advocate the legalized assembly-line slaughter of innocent human beings "Pro-Death"? Could it be because they are?

Wouldn't it be "offensive" for a pre-civil war abolitionist to call those who didn't want to outlaw slavery "Pro-Slavery?" Yes. I'm sure they were offended.

How about those offensive alarmists like Winston Churchill who hurt both his own cause and the cause of PEACE by saying that Hitler was working for the extermination of Jews. Offensive? You bet. Not only to Hitler, but to his supporters in Europe and America. And very unpopular for a long time.

You are perfectly welcome to refer to us with the incindiary label, "insane." But that is untrue. You just chose it because it is incindiary. "Pro-Death" is equally incindiary, not because we chose it to be, but because advocating the legalized assembly-line slaughter of innocent human beings is monstrous. But what if we just kill the ones whose fathers are rapists or guilty of incest? What if we only enslave Male Africans? What if we only incinerate elderly Jews? Why can't we be "moderate" like that?

Because there is no logical way for it to be justifiable.

The problem you're struggling with, Eric, is that Michelle McIntyre is right... if the child is an individual human being. If it is, to the contrary, just a body part like an appendix, NARAL is right. But there is no logical way for Eric Earling to be right. None at all. He has simply taken a position based on a venal desire for personal advancement. Something chosen for "political viability." How will you explain this to the Creator, Eric?


Posted by: Doug Parris on October 9, 2006 06:55 PM
10. Eyago said,

Let me try and draw a line here. The unborn child is either a life, worthy in its own right, or it is not. If it is, then no amount of sophistry can be sufficient to justify the taking of that life. If it is not, then there is no basis for restricting the right of the mother to terminate that life at any time she chooses.

Eric, That is why South Dakota has gone "beyond the pale" in not allowing for any exceptions. And you're wrong about the exception for the life of the mother. The law allows an attempt to save the mother's life, and if that results in the unintended death of the child, it is not under penalty. It is not an abortion, nor the deliberate killing of innocent human life. The SD legislature knew very well what they were doing. When Roe vs. Wade was decided, it through out a Texas law that contained the contradiction that abortion was killing an innocent life, yet allowing the killing in certain exceptions.

And by the way, every legislator who voted in favor of that bill and was challenged in the primary, won their primary election, including some Democrats, I believe. Conversly, every legislator who opposed the bill, and was challenged in the primary, was defeated. So much for your assertion that the bill is not popular among the citizens of SD. http://www.dakotavoice.com/200606/20060607_1.html

And I don't know who you're referencing on the "emergency contraception" arguments. Those I've spoken with heading up the campaign in SD would never support that.

As far as my going "beyond the pale", for using the phrase "pro-death Republicans", even though you believe I might be able to intellectually argue it's true (which I can), you must know that pro-death is vernacular in the pro-life community for our opposition. The phrase is much more accurate than the euphemism "pro-choice" and besides, it is about much more than abortion these days, and not all of the groups I've listed under that heading have abortion as their focal point. What about Ramesh Ponnuru (who doesn't even fully agree with me). Would you say he's "beyond the pale" for writing a book called "Party of Death"? That book doesn't refer to just the Democrat Party, but an "outpost" (a very well funded one, I might add) in the Republican party as well? I highly reccomend reading it.

Posted by: Michelle on October 9, 2006 07:21 PM
11. Michelle -

A few brief points. As you should have been able to tell the point of the post was not to debate the ban, but to debate whether or not the full details of the ban will end up harming the pro-life cause more than helping. For example, if the law is not approved by the electorate, it becomes somewhat difficult for it to be a test case for Roe v. Wade as some of the law's supporters intended, no?

Also, my original post specifically cited the fact the ban includes an exception for the life of the mother. Why are you saying anything to the contrary? Please try reading what I actually wrote before commenting.

Furthermore, when did I say South Dakota went "beyond the pale"? I didn't. I made that statement about both extremes of the abortion debate. In my view, many a pro-choice activist group can be described as such, and I've certainly seen pro-lifers live up to the label as well in their inability to engage in civil political discourse.

As to the "Party of Death," I don't have a problem with the book title in the least. I've read a fair number of reviews and other descriptions of the book, which is about much more than abortion. Everything I've read has good things to say about the quality of the book's writing, and many conservatives have great things to say about the content. I also seem to recall Ponnuru himself wasn't widely thrilled with the title his publisher chose, but either way, it's fine with me. The book itself is actually on my long list of books I'd like to read but haven't had a chance to get to in recent months.

In addition, I'm fully aware that "pro-death" is common vernacular in the "pro-life" community, but that doesn't make it prudent political rhetoric. It certainly doesn't help the pro-life community expand the coalition it would need to pass South Dakota-like legislation in many states if the opportunity ever arose.

Lastly, great for those legislators in their electoral success. What does that have to do with the pending statewide vote? The article in question cited a ban supporter saying the poll numbers troubled him. I don't know if this will pass or not, but if it doesn't, especially narrowly, ban supporters can know full well the simple, and rarely relevant, rape and incest exception would probably have put them over the top.

What you and Doug seem to have missed is that any issue before the legislative branch and the electorate as a whole is by definition political. Hence, compromises are often made, and political rhetoric matters in achieving one's goals. Good luck with that lesson if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Posted by: Eric Earling on October 9, 2006 07:51 PM
12. My question for "extreme" pro-lifer's is, are you more concerned about making a difference, or making a statement? Are you trying to pursuade people to your point of view, or just trying to grandstand?

Before I start getting flamed, know that I am against abortion. Period. No exceptions for incest or rape. None for the life of the mother unless it is too early in the pregnancy for the baby to survive out of the womb. A human life is a human life.

That being said... how does one try to pursuede one to your side by screaming murderer at them? By holding signs with the bloody remains of a dead, unborn child? By calling people "Pro Death Republicans." It sounds just like the nutroots, anti-war freaks screaming "baby killer" and "murderer" at soldiers, like the folks calling Bush "evil." I don't care what you think or how right you think you are... if you lose language that turns others off to your cause, you can yell 'till your blue in the face and and you won't sway others to your cause.

My problem is not with the end goal... but the sad truth is not everyone agrees with us. In fact, most people probably don't agree with us 100%. Pushing for this all or nothing, no compromise attitude saves no one. This ban may fail because it made no exceptions for rape or incest. I wouldn't agree with those exceptions, but better a ban with exceptions that passes, than an all or nothing ban that fails. How many unborn babies are saved if this thing now fails because of it's all encompasing nature? How many more babies will live if this ban loses at the ballot box than a ban with exceptions for rape or incest that would pass?

There's a saying I like to tell people who are just learning to shoot a gun... better to hit with a .22 than miss with a .44. I don't care how much more effective a .44 is against an intruder than a .22, if you can't hit anything with it then it's nothing more than a worthless noise maker.

That applies just as much to political and social causes as it does to shooting.

Posted by: Mike H on October 9, 2006 07:52 PM
13. That should have read ...if you use language..., not ...if you lose language...

Posted by: Mike H on October 9, 2006 07:56 PM
14. Does anyone know the details of the SD law on determining rape or incest? Specifically, who determines rape or incest?

Posted by: TB on October 9, 2006 08:14 PM
15. Eric, There is NO exception in the SD bill for the life of the mother. Why are YOU stating the contrary? Have you read the bill? You should also FINISH reading what I wrote. I read your complete post before commenting. You should go back and read what I wrote about the life of the mother. It does not allow for abortion or intentional killing.

You said that both sides of the issue go "beyond the pale", and then you proceeded to make me the local example. Then you stated my apparent offense, then said, "The point is she didn't need to go there. No more than pro-life activists in South Dakota needed to make their policy goals more difficult to achieve by leaving out an exception for rape or incest." Well, forgive me if I read to much into that.

Mike H, Nobody is screaming here. My blog was set up to inform people who are already pro-life, not necessarily to persuade people who aren't. I want to make pro-lifers aware, that not all Republicans are on our side. That is why I use a term that doesn't beat around the bush, because too often they are fooled, because they do not have time to do the research. I believe the majority of Americans are pro-life. Some of them might very well have the exceptions, but that's usually because they haven't thought it through logically. Some (especially politicians) just hold that position for political gain, because it says to both sides, "I'm on your side."

And why would it be better to pass a bill with the exceptions, if it will just get thrown out of court? This directly takes on Roe vs. Wade. The other would just be trying to pass a bill that got thrown out by Roe vs. Wade. That would make absolutely no sense, no matter how popular it was.

Posted by: Michelle on October 9, 2006 08:23 PM
16. TB: Good question. A possible exception would be the age of the mother. If the girl is under the age of consent, it is rape.

I also agree with Mike H. Violent protests will lose supporters. It seems much more healthy to promote reasons to continue the pregnancy. Encouragement instead of coersion.

Posted by: Elaine on October 9, 2006 08:33 PM
17. TB, Good point. Most likely, it would need to go through a trial. That could take months or even a year, in the case of rape. In the case of incest, they would need to wait atleast 10 weeks for a pre-natal paternity test to determine who the father is. Both of these would atleast go beyond Jeff B.'s sensibilities. Oh, that's right, it's OK, if the baby (oops, "potential" baby) was conceived through rape or incest.

Posted by: Michelle on October 9, 2006 08:36 PM
18. A possible exception would be the age of the mother. If the girl is under the age of consent, it is rape.

Elaine, You're referring to statutory rape, I presume, in which case, the father of the pregnancy is not also under age.

Posted by: Michelle on October 9, 2006 08:44 PM
19. The South Dakota ban was a deliberate political provocation, which a sponsor has admitted, in this report on PBS’ Newshour (3 March, 2006):

STATE SEN. BILL NAPOLI (R): You know, I we are really think [sic] we're pushing the envelope on that issue. I'm not sure that the Supreme Court is ready for us yet, but what's that old saying, "There's no time like the present"?

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Veteran State Senator Bill Napoli strongly backed the new ban.

BILL NAPOLI: The most important part of this bill is that, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, states' rights are returned to us to decide what to do about abortion.

[...]

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Napoli says most abortions are performed for what he calls "convenience." He insists that exceptions can be made for rape or incest under the provision that protects the mother's life. I asked him for a scenario in which an exception may be invoked.

BILL NAPOLI: A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.

(http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/jan-june06/abortion_3-03.html)

Text alone cannot fully convey the flavor of Napoli’s statement. I urge everyone to load the audio file and listen to his rant. He’s obviously spent a lot of time, more time than any person should, thinking intently about a raped virgin. His is the current voice of the anti-choice movement, like it or not.

(Plus, whatever “sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it” means -- thoughts of which have also obviously consumed many of his waking hours -- it clearly does not lead to pregnancy. Perhaps someone will inform legislator Napoli of this fact before he subjects any more women to legal consequences of his sick obessions.)

Any exception -- for rape, incest, or any other reason-- admits that the woman’s interest can trump that of her fetus. It negates any argument about life beginning at conception.

No exception, on the other hand, means that we will have the full coercive power of the state, bought with our taxpayers’ dollars, to force a thirteen-year-old girl to bear her uncle’s child. This stance, of such uncompromising immorality, will never pass in this country. But it is the logical outcome of believing that life begins at conception.

Of course, “life” does not begin at conception, just potential life. After conception, the infinitesimal clump of cells, with each individual cell undifferentiated in the tiny mass (the famous “stem cells”), moves down the fallopian tube towards the uterus. Along the way, it attempts to turn itself inside-out. If this operation succeeds, each cell will now pursue an individual fate, to become bone, nerve, skin, or other specialized type. If this operation fails-- as it does half of the time in mammals, humans not excepted-- then the ball of cells dies. The clump no longer sends the biochemical signals which hold the woman’s uterine lining in place. She then bleeds, perhaps a bit late. (If a sexually-active woman, one with a normally-regular cycle, gets her period late, this could be the reason.) It flows out of her with the shed lining, too small for the unaided eye to see. She conceived, but was never pregnant-- this zygote never implanted in her uterus.

If pregnancy does occur, and the fetus progresses toward a healthy birth, it becomes more fully human with each passing day. As it becomes closer to an actual-- as opposed to potential -- human life, its’ interests grow as well, until, after it can survive alone outside her uterus, we consider it to have human rights, and she cannot have an abortion except in cases where continuing her pregnancy threatens her life or health.

All of the above is the current law in the United States, as described by I-120 in Washington State, and by Roe v. Wade in many other states. (Abortion was legal in New York, Washington, Hawai’i, and other jurisdictions, prior to Roe.) Given how closely our law holds to human reproductive biology, anyone advocating a change has quite a case to make.

Those who believe that life begins at conception, and that this state of affairs exists because of a god’s plan, have some tough questions to consider. Why would a deity kill half of humanity before it even enters the womb? (Talk about assembly-line murder! This god would be history’s most prolific serial killer!) Why does no divinely-inspired religion mandate burial rites for the “child” lost in late menses?

Luckily, we do not allow religion to dictate law in our great nation, and so these difficult questions need not concern our legal deliberations. (And these mental gymnastics, should a religious person choose to perform them, would leave not so bad a residue in one’s mind as Mr. Napoli’s curious thoughts do!)

Posted by: Paddy Mac on October 9, 2006 08:46 PM
20. Michelle: I hope you are not suggesting that it is appropriate for the government to force motherhood on a child of 10-15.

Posted by: Elaine on October 9, 2006 09:06 PM
21. Elaine & Michelle,

Thanks, although I don't think that the point I was driving at was what either of you are thinking of =)

What I'm about to say may be pre-empted by Michelle's point about a law with the exceptions in place being strikeable under RvW. But, that being said, if the law allows the abortion clinic simply to certify that each case in question was a case of rape or incest, I was contemplating the silliness of allowing such exceptions.

There are plenty of people out there who regard themselves as good people, are generally against abortion, but who don't want to impose their viewpoint on anyone, as they see it. But these are not the people who work in abortion clinics; those people are hard-core. And between their hard-core, pro-abortion ideology, the potential to welcome one more member into the "Sisterhood of Choice" through her rite of passage, and the money they stand to make, they're not going to get terribly hung up on a technicality like telling the state health department "that they were all cases of rape."

Again, I'm not sure of the details of the law. Again, Michelle's point may have pre-empted mine. But Planned Parenthood has a history of exaggerating the youth of the unborn -- they're almost never past 26 weeks -- so I can see a potential reason for skipping past loopholes in the law which could be abused.

Posted by: TB on October 9, 2006 09:11 PM
22. Any exception -- for rape, incest, or any other reason-- admits that the woman?s interest can trump that of her fetus. It negates any argument about life beginning at conception.

Thank you, Paddy Mac. You demonstrate that the "pro-choice" side knows this.

Now, if only those here who are against abortion, but think the South Dakota legislature went too far, could get it.

But Paddy Mac, you sound pretty bitter towards God (capital G), the Giver of Life, the only One with the right to take innocent human life when He's ready for that person to come and be with Him. Your apparent bitterness explains your position on this issue. I know that no amount of debate will change your mind. I pray that you have a change of heart and be healed of whatever causes you such profound animosity towards God and Life.

Posted by: Michelle on October 9, 2006 09:21 PM
23. TB, yes I did suppose that might have been what you were referring to. Planned Parenthood determining who is a rape victim, that'll be the day! Do you think they would report all of those rapes to the proper authorities? They certainly don't report the statutory rape cases.

Posted by: Michelle on October 9, 2006 09:28 PM
24. TB: I understood your point, but I wanted to make my point that some exceptions should be taken at face value and should be decided by the child and the family, not by the government. I'm afraid I am one those dreaded pro-choice Republicans. I would bet that there are other issues we don't agree on, but mostly we would agree.
BTW, I heard a rumor once that there are pro-life Democrats, but I doubt it.

Posted by: Elaine on October 9, 2006 09:28 PM
25. Michelle -

Good heavens, if you're really going to take the position there is no life of the mother exception then there is no point in continuing whatever debate we may have been having. I realize some die-hards on your side think no such exception exists, but every other description of the law says it does. The bill specifically states:

"Section 4. That chapter 22-17 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

No licensed physician who performs a medical procedure designed or intended to prevent the death of a pregnant mother is guilty of violating section 2 of this Act. However, the physician shall make reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of her unborn child in a manner consistent with conventional medical practice.

Medical treatment provided to the mother by a licensed physician which results in the accidental or unintentional injury or death to the unborn child is not a violation of this statute.

Nothing in this Act may be construed to subject the pregnant mother upon whom any abortion is performed or attempted to any criminal conviction and penalty."

State your case all you want, that's an exception for the life of the mother.

Posted by: Eric Earling on October 9, 2006 09:28 PM
26. Public Service Announcement for SP commenters: Be careful with angle brackets. I just noticed that a [wink, wink] (except with angle brackets instead of square ones) I inserted after "they're almost never past 26 weeks" (#21) was misinterpreted and left out (on my browser anyway).

Posted by: TB on October 9, 2006 09:31 PM
27. Doug -

I have to admit, for good or for ill, sometimes I break out laughing while reading your comments. But, I don't think your insane, at least in a criminal sense...I think. You're somewhat correct, the "insane" label was a rhetorical tool to prove a point, which I think it did for most readers.

Now, one question, I am curious about this bit: "He has simply taken a position based on a venal desire for personal advancement. Something chosen for 'political viability.'"

Doug, what am I running for? Nothing that I know of, and I should be a pretty good source for that. Moreover, the more I keep offering up controversial posts at Sound Politics the more likely I am not to run for office in the future. Just curious what "personal advancement" you had in mind.

Posted by: Eric Earling on October 9, 2006 09:35 PM
28. Elaine,

That's OK. I have several good friends who would describe themselves as pro-choice Republicans. I'm working on them...

Posted by: TB on October 9, 2006 09:36 PM
29. Michelle: I hope you are not suggesting that it is appropriate for the government to force motherhood on a child of 10-15.

Uh, no. Where would you get that idea? I think any man who has sex with a 10-15 year old, should get life in prison for raping an innocent child. He's the one who forced motherhood on her, not the government.

I was simply pointing out that a pregnant underage girl is only considered the victim of rape (just by being underage) if the father of the pregnancy is an adult.

Posted by: Michelle on October 9, 2006 09:55 PM
30. Elaine, no one can force anyone to be a mother. Remember adoption is still an option. The funny thing to me is how many "pro-choice" proponents seem to forget about adoption when making their arguments.

They also forget about the choice most make (rape excluded...and by the way, wouldn't most incest cases where an abortion is sought be a rape case as well?) when a woman has sex in the first place and the risk they knowingly take. Funny how Elaine seems to think that you have to allow for abortion so that you don't "force" someone to be a mother, when abortion is never an option for a father. The father doesn't even have the option of adoption. So really, how many men are "forced" to be fathers.

Posted by: Mark D on October 9, 2006 10:07 PM
31. Eric,

If the law is followed as stated, and as you quoted, the physician attempts to save the life of the mother and child. If by preforming a medical proceedures to save the mother's life results in the death of the child, that is not abortion. The law here is simply protecting the doctor in case the proceedure results in death.

People in the medical profession (who are not abortion providers) will tell you that it is never necessary to do an abortion to save the life of the mother.

To call this an exception to the case against abortion, as Paddy Mac puts it, negates the claim that life begins at conception.

Posted by: Michelle on October 9, 2006 10:23 PM
32. Mark D: Have you ever seen a pregnant 13 year old? She looks just as it sounds, one child being sacrificed for another. And yes, in my opinon you're idea of government intervention is force.

This is one issue that I feel strongly enough about to cross party lines if neccessary. My vote is only one, but I think there a lot of Republicans like me. Your black or white attacks aren't helping. As I said to TB, you and I would mostly agree, but we must accept our differences or we make ourselves look like one dimensional characters.

Posted by: Elaine on October 9, 2006 10:32 PM
33. Let me clear up a few points others have made with my comments.

Eyago, I specifically state right at the top of Comment 5 that I think abortion should be rare. How do we make it rare, while still allowing for the reality that abortions will continue to happen is a good question for debate. I do not believe abortion should not be allowed, nor that it is wrong in certain cases and I make that clear in the rest of the comments.

The confusion seems to be that many believe that an embryo is a life. It's living, but it is not yet a life. It is a potential life. I don't see how a potential life trumps and actual life in the extreme cases. In other words, assuming that one fully wants to bring a child into the world, has done so of their own free choosing, and intends to then raise the child, or at very least do everything necessary to make sure the child has a complete support infrastructure and family from birth to adulthood, then one certainly won't be doing what is necessary to constitute a life. It is not just or rational to destroy an actual life for the sake of a potential life, but at least in the case of a free and consenting pregnancy, one can make the argument that a woman should have made that choice and avoided pregnancy. But if a woman takes a morning after pill, is she Pro-Death when neither she nor anyone knows if there was ever even a conception? Pro-Death is strong rhetoric. We don't call a natural abortion in the form of a miscarriage a death, and there's a reason. Most people recognize that there is a difference between a potential and an actual life. And especially when one can have such a profound impact upon the other.

I find the thought of a woman being forced to carry the child conceived by rape only because of someone else's belief that she has no right to her own life once there is a potential life inside her to be even more offensive than abortion. And I believe it is especially offensive if a woman is sacrificed and allowed to die for the sake of an unborn potential life simply because an abortion is not allowed by law. Obviously the case where a woman would have to die to prevent an abortion is pretty rare.

You said:
What basis can you provide to say that the life has partial rights that are dependent on circumstances that are entirely outside of its own doing? How would you deal with it if the rights that you are allowed were not dependent on your actions but on the actions of others

This is exactly the case that a woman would be in if she was raped against her will and forced to carry a baby to term. She did not choose to be raped. Yet the actions of a pro-life lobby that created a law that forbid her to have an abortion would giver her no rights to choose not to bear a child. And the same goes for a victim of incest. In at least these two cases, and the case of a mother who could be spared her own life if for an abortion, I think it's quite clear that a woman would be forced by circumstances beyond her control to bear a life, including all of the responsibilities, both psychological and physical that would follow. In these extreme cases, there is simply no constitutional basis to deny an actual living woman her own life by imposing a another full life upon her.

As for others who would simply use abortion for convenience, I can understand the frustration that many have if they view all potential human life as sacred. Especially if there is a strong religious component to those beliefs. But, there are also those in the society who do not view much distinction between before or after conception contraception. And I believe that as much as that is not what I personally would choose, that it is simply impractical to think that there will not be a post conception contraceptive market. And that it would be almost impossible to detect women who chose to use very early term abortion measures such as the morning after pill or very early term abortions.

I view it sort of like I view the current situation with many weak Republicans in congress. It's not what I want, but I'm certainly not going to choose the impractical political suicide of electing Democrats to the Congress, just because I'd prefer stronger Republicans. There are realities, and I think Eric has made a great point in that laws such as what is being proposed in South Dakota simply go too far to be accepted by a majority.

And I don't see how it's possible for good people in a nation of laws to impose this on our fellow citizens, even if we believe it strongly, if it is something that our fellow citizens do not support in majority numbers.

Posted by: Jeff B. on October 9, 2006 10:33 PM
34. It has to be Pro-Life vs. Pro-Death. It can't be Pro-Choice...because the baby(a human being..because those aren't radishes growing in there)never gets a choice!

Posted by: Susu on October 9, 2006 10:42 PM
35. Elaine, Some pro-life people are willing to cross party lines too. If neither Democrat or Republican are pro-life, they might just stay home. If you want other rights protected, life must be protected first.

Posted by: Michelle on October 9, 2006 10:49 PM
36. Eric,

For months now I have listened to you run
your mouth about who and what you think I
am.Sir you have no clue at all as to who I am
or what I'm about.Ok fine so you know I like
Susan Hutchison.Beyond that you don't know
a thing about me.Because you can't defend
your buddy McGavick you take cheap shots.
That's a real classy thing to do.

There are serious problems within the State
Gop leadership as we speak.When I have it all
confirmed everyone will know what I'm talking
about.Once again I am having to do the job of
Sound Politics and talk radio because they
would rather sweep it under the rug and
pretend everything is ok.When in reality
this state party is in shambles.Instead you
would rather make light of someone's mental
stability.


Posted by: phil spackman on October 9, 2006 11:58 PM
37. Eric, re: your post at #27:
I do not know your specific future goals, or even if they have already been achieved. I'm sure you feel that your positions have helped you achieve what you already have, politically. Being on Slade's staff, for instance. Being pro-life would have made that impossible. (That's why the Reagan wing knew that other Gorton alumnus, McGavick's position on abortion when he was still hiding and lying about it.) I know that your position as SoundPolitics Blogger is greatly facilitated by not being pro-life. The consensus of SoundPolitics is primarily Libertarian in thought, generally conservative on economics and liberal on social issues. Andy and Stefan are logical on that and I admire both their intellect and candor, if not the spiritual darkness that led to the base premises of their social syllogisms.

You don't make me laugh at all. Because your justification for positions invariably comes down to "this is a winning position," or, conversely, to your opponents: "you just can't win with your position." You share that approach with Timothy Goddard. It is an attitude devoid of morality. It is crass, Machiavellian pragmatism. Even if your long-range political projections were accurate (and I disagree with most of them) it would be unconscionable to run your thought life by that methodology. That kind of thinking will sink the Republic. It is utterly foreign to the nature of our founders and the men who followed, sacrificially giving their lives to protect something precious in our nation, not because it was a smooth move politically, but because they believed it to be right.

I hope you are just being sloppy. Because the alternative explanation, that your soul is for sale, is tragic.

Posted by: Doug Parris on October 10, 2006 12:33 AM
38. Abortion will never be significantly reduced.

Why?

Technology makes them easier to obtain. RU-486 (or its equivalent) cannot be prohibited. Blue states will never indict mothers for "murder".

I know conservatives want a police state (with no "right to privacy"), but your gig is up.

Quit dreaming and try reality.

Posted by: shrike on October 10, 2006 04:46 AM
39. I find the position that absolute pro-life as the basis for all rights to be as disingenuous as a left leaning position of pro-welfare or pro-affirmative action. Every situation has context. If pro-life means that for the sake of life, a raped woman must subvert her life to the will of her attacker, then what of the women's life and her right to be left alone. There should at least be a provision in any law to protect a women from a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.

Posted by: Jeff B. on October 10, 2006 05:08 AM
40. Doug -

I take it back, you are insane.

Do you really believe there was some sort of litmus test to be on Slade's staff, or to write here at SP? My personal views on abortion never came up when I worked for Slade, and for the life of me I couldn't tell you what views on the matter were held by most of my fellow staffers. Moreover, the folks here at SP spent about as much time talking abortion with me as did Slade's staff when I was hired: Zero.

What you continue to fail to grasp is that, low and behold, some people on this planet may take policy positions that differ from you because that's what they actually believe. Not because they're "Machiavellian." Not because they've wandered into "spiritual darkness." But, I do appreciate your willingness to veer into overt presumption and judgement of your fellow man's faith. Very becoming of you.

Have a nice day.

Posted by: Eric Earling on October 10, 2006 06:33 AM
41. Phil -

Come on, learn to take a joke, even at your own expense. I mean seriously, what am I supposed to make of someone who demonstrates a consistently profound misunderstanding of punctuation and spacing?

I do appreciate you weaving Susan Hutchison into one of your posts, again. She seems to have a lot to do with this conversation...oh, wait a minute.

Besides Phil, when have I ever said I know anything about you besides the fact I disagree, sometimes violently, with your political analysis?

Posted by: Eric Earling on October 10, 2006 06:42 AM
42. Great post. The question is an almost successful genocide...After all, we had never seen before, abundantly rich. We killed them to Europe to save people wanted self-government. That's what was ever signed between us how to live our new democracy. That is our similarities and tomatoes - the basis for rape or incest (there is fascinating. Notably, even backers of us, alright. Some of these treaties, every single treaty, that if they followed it, it is within us corn and start thinking more about our hero - the same. It doesn't matter what our way. When the ban's lack of the first treaties that the settlers were human...However, they knew that were written between the First Nations people, has been given pretty bad treatment all the white man. So these guys have been given pretty bad treatment all of course captured a happy life...They never seen before, abundantly rich. We all of government that positive creative life force energy. We're all the white man. So these treaties, every single treaty, that was the white man...We received free land we have the sailor who arrived in February of the First Nations People, of my best friends are similarly affecting each other, alright. Some of the white man...We received free land - food that was brought back to stay alive - food that the colour of media attention, but the basic same energy force; that are informed of this land we were empty. We all actually part of an almost successful genocide...After all, so impressed with the First Nations people wanted our hero - food that it was ever signed between us all, so impressed with the Crown and had never seen before, abundantly rich. We made deals so that the colour of government that are similarly affecting each one.

Posted by: Karl the Rock on October 10, 2006 07:07 AM
43. Yikes: Another UFO sighting.....aka Phil Spackman randomly flying out of control into cyberspace and into an abortion discussion.

Uh, Phil, rambling about the State GOP and Susan and conspiracies doesnt seem to have much to do with abortion, or are we all missing something?

Take your meds, Phil.....but dont stop posting, we enjoy the distractions......

Posted by: Hank on October 10, 2006 07:16 AM
44. Okay, Eric, I'll bite.
Without mentioning a word about political "wisdom" or your estimation of the effect of your views on the electorate or their ballot implications, what are your "actual beliefs" on the nature of abortion and how do they translate into your actual beliefs about what public policy should be concerning it in the light of your view of morality?
Oh, and I'd like to commend Slade at being able to put together a long string of philosphically compatible pragmatists who have literally permeated the GOP with their amoral ambience without so much as ever discovering their views. No wonder we have so many RINOs running around. They were chosen at random, without any consideration given to their political ideals.

Posted by: Doug Parris on October 10, 2006 08:05 AM
45. Phil and Doug, have you ever thought of taking your comedy act on the road?

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on October 10, 2006 08:11 AM
46. The Dakota Voice: Rape and the Abortion Question

Salient Quotes...
" ...but the only person who showed up Doug Easterday, the young man who several months later was convicted of raping Megan. "

" "At first I was angry that all my plans that I had were suddenly up in the air," Megan said. "I felt cheated. I was never the kind of person to run with guys, get drunk and stuff like that." "

" Megan said that even though more than one person counseled her that abortion would be acceptable for her, that no one would blame her if she did, still it was never an option for her. "Yeah, it's somebody else's baby," she responded. "But it's my baby, too." "

" Dr. Donald Oliver, a Rapid City pediatrician who is board certified with the National Board of Medical Examiners and American Board of Pediatrics, testified before the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion last year. According to the task force report, he made this statement regarding rape and incest: "Just two months ago, I personally took care of a baby boy born to a very young teenage mother who was allegedly raped by her brother. So here we have the two scenarios brought forth most often by those on the pro-abortion side, rape and incest. This brave young lady carried her child to term and delivered a healthy normal boy. Here is an interesting fact that you may not be aware of. Just as two bad genes might pair up and lead to an unfortunate outcome, two good genes can pair up, and the infant of this incestuous relationship, may become the brightest person in the family--sometimes in the genius range of intellect. They are normal children at least 97 to 98 percent of the time. This young teenage mother that I just spoke of, when she found out she was pregnant, felt that besides herself, the only other really innocent person in this sad situation was her baby, and he certainly didn't deserve capital punishment for her brother's sins." "

" A study entitled "Psychological Aspects of Abortion" found that 76% of women who became pregnant through rape carried their children to term. "

Posted by: Cheryl on October 10, 2006 08:15 AM
47. Teens Cope With Unwanted Pregnancies Better Than Abortions, Study Shows


And can we please do WITHOUT attacking the site REPORTING the information?
Thank you.

Posted by: Cheryl on October 10, 2006 08:21 AM
48. Jeff B.,

I am aware of what you stated in the first post of yours that I addressed. What I was trying to get across is that you gave no BASIS for holding that position. My question to you is WHY do you think abortion should be rare? That was what I was trying to get from you.

Is there a moral decision involved in choosing abortion? If there is, what is the basis for the morality involved? If there is not, then what other reason could you have to hold the position that abortion should be rare?

As you imply in 33, the unborn is simply a potential life. And in that point rests the rest of the argument. It all hinges on when the rights of the individual begin. People have varying arguments for when this occurs: from conception to birth. You seem to land on the far end of the spectrum, birth, which makes you about as pro-choice as they come.

I, and many other pro-life proponents land on the other end of the spectrum, and for that reason, cannot countenance the destruction of a life for what might be construed as less compelling issues.

That does not mean the issues are NOT compelling. However, IF one believes that the unborn is, in fact, life, deserving of the full panoply of rights and support from society, it then becomes reprehensible to end that life.

How someone views the "status" of the unborn is the driving factor as to what position they take regarding abortion. There are philosophical, religious and scientific arguments that one can use to support just about any line of demarcation for the beginning of life, but one thing is certain, there is no definitive answer. Just given that prospect, it seems highly irresponsible for us to err on the side of abortion if we learn that we were incorrect in our science, or reasoning. In other words, when in doubt, assume life and protect it like any other. In nearly all other cases, we go to extraordinary means to support the chance for life.

you said in 33:
This is exactly the case that a woman would be in if she was raped against her will and forced to carry a baby to term. She did not choose to be raped. Yet the actions of a pro-life lobby that created a law that forbid her to have an abortion would giver her no rights to choose not to bear a child. And the same goes for a victim of incest. In at least these two cases, and the case of a mother who could be spared her own life if for an abortion, I think it's quite clear that a woman would be forced by circumstances beyond her control to bear a life, including all of the responsibilities, both psychological and physical that would follow. In these extreme cases, there is simply no constitutional basis to deny an actual living woman her own life by imposing a another full life upon her.

I submit that IF the child is a life, then you are sentencing it to die rather than subject another person to a temporary condition. It all rests, of course, on the view of the unborn. The prism from which you view this determines your reaction, but the one solution is both permanent and rather extreme, while the other is temporary. A great evil have been perpetrated to bring us to this crises, but which response is the greater perpetuation of that evil?

Ultimately, I find it difficult to see how anyone can choose a middle ground. The unborn have rights or they do not. Abortion is wrong or it is not. Conditional morality is no morality. The child is surely no more responsible for the events that resulted in its existence than the mother could ever be, and you cannot simply “fix” the problem with an abortion though it does extend the trauma for the woman. In that light we should consider the punishment of the perpetrator in light of this rather than have the unborn child suffer the consequences. Abortion is either right or wrong, it cannot be conditionally right or conditionally wrong.

-Eyago

Posted by: Eyago on October 10, 2006 09:59 AM
49. I always find the abortion debate interesting, especially amongst the right. Let's perclude for the moment the obscene medical (and ardent left) argument that breadth = life (i.e., it isn't life until the baby exits the mother), and look at the scale of when does life begin.

When you look at life beginning, one could take into account several factors. The religious side of the debate assumes that abortion is wrong due to religious reasons (Thou shall not murder). Of those that take the religious viewpoint of why murder is wrong. What is your basis for believing that life begins at conception? Where in the Bible does it state this?

Being a Christian, this is a hard argument for me to justify. I have searched diligantly, but to no avail. The commonly quoted verse out of Psalms (that God knew us in our mother's womb), never states when God knew us. Therefore, one could believe that verse and still choose the many points along the timeline from conception to birth.

If the Bible is of no help to clearly defining, then one must come at the concept from a medical standpoint. Well there are several good, well founded medical points. There is conception. There is when the embroyo fixes itself to the mother's uterus. There is when the brain stem forms (start of the neurological person). There is when the lungs start forming. Finally, there is when life has viability outside the mother.

Again, there is no clear medical line one could draw and arrive at the conclusion that life begins at conception. Therefore, maybe there is a logical line to be drawn.

The logical line could be thought in two ways. First when is their an individual. A different logic exercise is whether life is the opposite of death and therefore defined as such.

I think that since most Christians will not find an answer in the Bible with regards to the question, most believe due to logical reasoning. To them life begins at conception due to the fact that the DNA of life is established at this point (or is it?). The logic goes that the fertilized egg represents the DNA that will grow into a person. There is one big problem with this line of reasoning. The problem is identical twins. It is medically establish that the embroyo may not split into the two identical twins for a time period of up to fourteen days. Therefore, at time of conception, there isn't necessarily a logical person identified by the embroyo.

I think if one falls on the DNA argument, then they need to wrestle with some serious other logical arguments. For example, if DNA is life, then how would you argue donated organs. Does the person who donated the organ that does contain a copy of their DNA still live? Life cannot be explained by the DNA only.

Myself, I think the only logical course would be to look at death and equate life as the opposite. For Christians, we think of life as more than just the physical. For us, we also consider the soul of a person. So the real question, in getting back to the Psalms, when does the soul form? I would theorize that it would involve a timeline after the embroyo has implanted in the mother's womb and starts to receive life and sustance from the mother. It would also most likely involve thoughts (i.e., neurological activity). I will go out on a limb and state that any law that outlawed abortions after the first trimester would cover most all logical arguments. What gets harder is to define a law (that is enforcable) within the first trimester.

The bottom line is Christians have no thelogical argument that life begins at abortion and should center on getting second and third trimester abortions abolished. Let's worry about the first trimester after we have done the basic thing that needs to be done now.

I would welcome those that believes life begins at conception to explain how they came to that conclusion. Was it because your pastor (or someone else) told you so? Did you think about it yourself and come to that conclusion? I am interested in the thought process. I have struggled with this. I want to believe my pastor on this issue, but can not find any theological argument to back it up.

Posted by: tc on October 10, 2006 05:25 PM
50. "But Paddy Mac, you sound pretty bitter..."

I'm really angry that some of us want to dictate the most personal of questions to the rest of us, via the force of law. Having a very sick man, like Napoli, doing it just makes me even more angry. But I don't get bitter; I work to reverse the law, and remove Napoli from his position of power.

...towards God (capital G), the Giver of Life, the only One with the right to take innocent human life when He's ready for that person to come and be with Him."

Well, it's a good thing that you arrogate to your god that right, since millions of mammalian conceptions fail to reach pregnancy every day. Statistically speaking, for every human pregnancy, there were one or two conceptions that did not make it that far. I find it most refreshing that you have admitted your worship of your Supreme Abortionist. I won't willingly live under the laws that you advocate, especially if your moral basis for them comes from a deity of boundless slaughter.

Posted by: Paddy Mac on October 10, 2006 06:00 PM
51. tc asked:

I would welcome those that believes life begins at conception to explain how they came to that conclusion. Was it because your pastor (or someone else) told you so? Did you think about it yourself and come to that conclusion? I am interested in the thought process. I have struggled with this. I want to believe my pastor on this issue, but can not find any theological argument to back it up.

Ok, I'll bite.

You bring up the argument of life being the opposite of death, but let me turn it around and talk about the concept of death being the end of a process, with conception being the beginning of the same process.

I have made this argument in the past, so maybe I'll try and take a shortcut and not get burned for it. Basically we are all in a state of becoming. We are not today what we were before; in the future, we will not be who we are today. The process all began with a chain reaction occurring when sperm met egg. This chain reaction started us down the path to our current and future becoming. Left to its own, uninterrupted process, we will continue through our lives ultimately ending in death, and all that we do and all that we become is the sum total of this chain of events. However, the salient point for this argument is the term "uninterrupted". Sure we know that people die in what we consider an untimely manner. Not all eggs come to be born, not all children survive childhood ailments. There are accidents and natural disasters and a whole host of "early ends". But there is one early end that we all seem to have a special disdain for: the willful, volitional ending of a life: the purposeful act of ending the chain reaction before the life had completed its own path to becoming.

The thing is, once the process has begun, there are just three possibilities:
1. Termination due to natural causes
2. Termination due to accidental causes
3. Termination due to volitional acts

My theological/philosophical position is that God is not bound by time as we are, so I postulate that He does not see us as we see our selves, moving through time and space. As He was, is and will be, He also sees us as who we were, are and will be. If our life was intended, it was intended, period. We assume a role he has denied us when we make the determination of when to terminate the process He has begun.

Does this square with my Pastor? I am not sure. I know he is an "at conception" pro-lifer, but I never discussed with him the specifics as to why. It would be interesting to see how it fits within his Calvinist/Armenian(sp?) framework verses the Biblical references, but that is an important factor because even if one cannot "point" to a verse in the Bible, one is often interpreting issues through a "biblical" framework that incorporates ones understanding of how God works and interacts in this world. It is virtually impossible not to. Even the "What would Jesus do" concept or the Liberal, Democrat Christian's viewpoint that argues that "Jesus would be a Democrat" both use similar methodologies to map Biblical concepts onto modern day circumstances.

In summation, I cannot say whether God would count Birth as the time that "life" begins and when He invests us with a "soul". Since I cannot say, I am unwilling to exercise the hubris of using convenient arguments to solve uncomfortable dilemmas. If I had to go to heaven and answer for my actions, I most assuredly would rather not have to defend the killing of the most innocent and vulnerable. I would be much more willing to accept my judgement for advocating the other option.

Only you can answer for yourself what you understand to be the nature of God. How does he expect us to deal with the unsavory situation that life presents us? What WOULD Jesus do, as you understand it? My view of the Bible is that God does not promise us happiness and wealth and perfect health, rather, he presents us a set of beattitudes to which we should aspire that we could apply to the myriad life circumstances that could hardly ever be explicitly covered in a religious text.

-Eyago

Posted by: Eyago on October 10, 2006 07:17 PM
52. Eyago,
Your continuation of life is close, but it still doesn't explain identical twins. This is what led me away from the conception as the start. The problem the twins is that the unique lifes don't start until several days after conception. The other problem with just settling on DNA basis, that I see, is the fact that are DNA can exist outside us and outlive our physical bodies, like in the case of organ donation. We wouldn't call an organ a human being, but it includes the blueprint of life.

The issue with your three possibilities is that assumes the process has begun. This logic could possibly not hold up however to scrutiny from two aspects. The process beginning is actually the act of intercourse. If one assume stopping the process, then you also would need to hold that all forms of birth control, other than natural rythmn (I believe that is what it is called), would be wrong. They would be wrong because they stop the process from happening. Even after the initial act, conception can be up to a 12 hour process.

The second logic error assume that the point of sperm penetrating the egg begins the process. Yet, one could medically state that the process doesn't fully begin until the egg implants itself in the uterus. It as this point the nourshment of the mother begins the growth of the fetus. A impregnated egg would not continue the process without the life provided by the mother. Therefore, to state that the process begins at conception could be defeated in argument with perfectly valid reasoning.

None of this is to state that you might not be correct, nor that you are entitled to your opinion. The problem comes into play when trying to write a law that is morally acceptable to the majority. You won't find a majority that agrees with your position (or probably mine). I do believe you could find definately find a majority that would concur that third trimester abortions are killing, and I believe you could even find a majority that believe second trimester is killing. It is the first trimester that you will get the most divergence. So, why is an all or nothing stand. Why not take a start?

My bet is you take a start and you would reduce a significant percentage. You could then work on other actions to address the first trimester issues. Finally, once you had a majority agreement on first trimester, there would be very few cases left and by that time attitudes would have changed enough to see other choices that meet the end goal. You have to start somewhere. You can eat the elephant, just not all in one bite.

Posted by: tc on October 10, 2006 10:18 PM
53. Suffice it to say that people have different opinions of what constitutes "life" and when an embryo becomes a human deemed to be worthy of rights. Regardless of my personal opinion of the issue, I think this is an issue of states' rights, and I applaud S. Dakota's attempt to decide it through a vote of the people. Roe v Wade usurped states' rights to decide this issue.

Posted by: Palouse on October 11, 2006 08:35 AM
54. Unfortunately, much like the issue of slavery a hundred and fifty years ago, abortion is a moral issue being argued out in the political arena. This leads to ironies like the party of no government intervention in personal lives favoring just that. Actually the same arguments are lined up on each side and the reigning Supreme Court decision is on the same side again. The main point once again is the recognition or failure to do so of the subject in the issue as a human being with rights of it's own. A slave/fetus is either property/parasitic tissue or it is actually a person. The one thing it's not though is a part of it's mothers body. Every cell in a person's body has the same set of chromosomes. The new growing body has a different set.

Posted by: RBW on October 11, 2006 09:31 AM
55. The debate over slavery is completely different, because there can be no argument that human rights were denied to slaves, which violates our constitution. There is, however, debate over whether an unborn child or "potential human" is being denied human rights or when that child obtains those rights. There is nothing in the US constitution that defines when a person becomes a person, and thus, it is not and should not be the federal government's decision.

Posted by: Palouse on October 11, 2006 09:53 AM
56. Eyago,

I think abortion should be rare because it's a substitute for responsibility. Why not simply use birth control up front, that's what I've done in my family, but some very religious people view birth control as wrong too. I think that are some practicalities involved. Having sex can make one pregnant, and absent action, one will then have another child to raise.

It's not that an unborn life has no rights. The question is when do those rights begin and if a woman's rights trump those rights for any reason. My conclusion is that given that the genie is out of the bottle with abortion, we are better off setting an exact legal definition of when those rights begin for an unborn life, rather than trying to make abortion go away entirely, because that is simply not going to happen. I'm fine with even a very aggressive "very early term" only abortion policy, as long as it is something that our society endorses as a whole. Others believe that the mere fact that there is life is enough to remove all rights from a women carrying that life. I don't see how there will ever be reconciliation of the issue if there is not an agreement that allows some abortions. That's all. I agree that there are many different cultural, scientific, religious and other means to which different people could arrive at different points for when life and rights begin, but I don't see how an absolute pro-life position will ever be a reality any more than I could see how an abortion right up until the day of birth could ever be a reality. These are the extremes.

I think it is naive to call child rearing a temporary condition. There are those who would say that adoption is an option. And that is fine, but what about a person who feels strongly that they would never want a life that they created in the world if they were not the one to care for that life, even if it meant a termination of that life during pregnancy? I know I could never father a child without wanting to be a part of that child's life. I can see how this presents a difficult problem for women who are pregnant and who do not want a child and know that they could simply take a pill and no one would know. It's best to practice abstinence or birth control or whatever one believes is appropriate not to get into this dilemma, but that's often not the case. I don't see how it would be possible to prevent someone from using RU-486 to end that early potential life. And isn't RU-486 just an early abortion?

I also believe that a life un-lived is less of a loss than a life lived. Again, not that it's not a loss, but how could a life un-lived ever equate in value to an actual lived life? It can't because there has been nothing. We can mourn the potential life that never had a chance, but it's all unknown future. I believe that's why we grieve far less for a miscarriage, we know that it was a potential life, that did not come to fruition.

I can see how and why it is impossible for you to choose a middle ground, but ultimately it's not only your choice or my choice. That's the issue. It's the choice of an entire nation of people. Some also disagree with the death penalty on the grounds of the sanctity of life. But that's a debate as well. And it is legal in some states. I don't see how we can avoid a middle ground given that unlike the death penalty, an abortion can occur before there is anything that actually resembles and functions as a human being, so I believe it's best to work towards something, rather than nothing.

I'm not saying it is easy or right under all ideological frameworks. But the issue is not going away. And to me, if it's a choice between the "kill them right up until they're born" Left / Dems, and the Right / Repubs where there are moderates from both sides who are willing to allow early term abortions, or abortions for rape, incest, etc. as a political concession. I'll take the right anytime. Especially if politically, the rest of the ideas on the Right survive politically. As important as abortion might be as a single issue, it pales in comparison to Violent Islam / North Korea and other key foreign and domestic issues that confront us today. Lastly, abortions are heavily favored by the left, so demographically, abortion may have a political impact, even if unintended.

Posted by: Jeff B. on October 11, 2006 10:08 AM
57. tc,

You ask for a religious point of view and then you proceed to debate it using medical arguments. If that is what you want to argue fine, but it is not going to resolve your spiritual dilemma.

Let's start with the issue of DNA. I think you are mischaracterizing the argument. My DNA is simply the blueprints of my phisical self. It is no more "me" than my finger prints or my signature. It is simply a marker that uniquely identifies that I am a separate person. The fact some each cell in my body contains that blueprint does not change that I am more than the sum of my cells. All DNA can be used for is to distinguish that a new life is uniquely different from another, a way of saying that what is inside the womb is NOT the same as the mother who carries it.

I don't have a specific answer for twinning at this time (I do not know if fraternal twins develop differently than maternal). However, I have no real issue with the timing of when the cells split into two separate "branches", ultimately the pattern for "two" (or more) was included in the orginal set of instructions, so you still have to ask yourself whether God knew and/or planned for that in the first place. How He intended for the cells to make the transition may not be known by us, but I still come back to whether I can make the determination that it is NOT life simply because I do not know. Again, I would not want to have to explain why I erred on the side of "when in doubt, it's ok to kill."

As for the contraceptive line of reasoning, I have to admit that 20 years ago I ridiculed the official Catholic stance on that issue but I have since come to appreciate the wisdom of their line of reasoning. I am not anti-contraception, and I think there is a huge difference between interrupting the movement of cells that are not self-developing verses interrupting the growth and devlopment of a unique and self-developing entity.

The "attachment" argument is valid only in that if the fertilized egg does not attach, it will not survive. There is still a big difference between letting the process alone verses the volitional interruption of that process. Remember, it is already a unique, self-developing entity, which separates it from the individual sperm and egg wich cannot develop on their own and thus cannot be construed as life under most any frame of reference.

The problem comes into play when trying to write a law that is morally acceptable to the majority. You won't find a majority that agrees with your position (or probably mine).

The problem comes with my being answerable to God for my actions. My goal is not to find a compromise that limits the killing to something that is agreeable to a majority of Americans. Now, that does not mean that I won't act to limit abortion if given the chance, even if it does not result in the total elimination. I do understand the politics involved and can vote on partial bans verses total, but I also know that it is not the laws that will ultimately determine the state of abortion in this country. Only the changing of hearts will affect this issue. When people first beleive that the life that starts at conception is worthy or protecting will we have protection for it. Any law banning abortion will have only the impact of creating greater crisis for those who are not given the full support of a society to nurture and care for that child. Until society decides that all life, begining at conception should be a priority and ACTS on that priority, we will not eliminate abortion. We may reduce it, but we will then trade one kind of tragedy for another that is little better.

Finally, a note on this comment: My bet is you take a start and you would reduce a significant percentage. It is this line of thought that creates that readical zealousness of the pro-choice groups to fight even against partial birth aboriton. They know about that strategy: the "camel's nose under the tent" if you will. They do not want to risk any chance that abortion can be limited, because to limit it in one fashion is to open the door to limit it in others, so many will oppose any limits, even if they don't logically have a reason to oppose limiting certain restrictions.

The issue of Abrotion is a volatile mess because we do not, as a society, approach the issue from the proper perspective. It is a classic clash of freedom verses responsibility with tragic consequences.

-Eyago

Posted by: Eyago on October 11, 2006 11:04 AM
58. Eyago,
Thank you for the reasoned response. I do agree with many of the points you make and they have been part of my thinking in the past. At the same time, I think many follow the line of thinking of Life at conception blindly without really rationalizing why they think that way.

The issue of twins is only with identical twins. Fraternal twins start out as two separate impregnated eggs. The twins issue to me is relevant because my dad is an identical twin, but both he and his brother are unique individuals. Even though they started with the same blueprint, they are different and show different personalities (not nearly as much as normal brothers). To me, the argument for conception as the definitive point was postulated that at that point you have a unique individual. Well no you don't, in the case of twins. You may have the capability of one (or more) unique individuals, but it just the capability. It is no different than the egg and sperm separated have the capability.

I am almost to the point of stating that it is either the Catholic church's stand (i.e., no unnatural interruption of the process) or one has to go with a point of time after conception that the unique person is formed. The most likely candidates in my mind is the point of time when the egg attaches to the uterus or at the point of time with neurological activity starts to form (brain stem).

I agree that we are the sum of our whole, and part of that sum is our thoughts. So, I guess a question would be is a person a person if the brain doesn't form?

Posted by: tc on October 11, 2006 11:20 AM
59. Jeff B.

I think abortion should be rare because it's a substitute for responsibility.

That statement suggests to me that your position has little to do with the rights of the unborn. To hold this position implies that you want to use power of the government to enforce personal responsibility, a very un-libertarian thing to do, and that is often the biggest complaint that non-social conservative conservatives have against the religious conservatives. It seems that you are advocating the enforcement of morality though law, but a morality based on responsibility for action rather than on the life of the child. This is not a point of contention, just an observation of something that you might want to analyze regarding your arguments on this matter. Ultimately you have established what I was looking for regarding your position on the rights of the unborn.

My conclusion is that given that the genie is out of the bottle with abortion, we are better off setting an exact legal definition of when those rights begin for an unborn life, rather than trying to make abortion go away entirely, because that is simply not going to happen.

I cannot agree with you more on the first half of this statement. We DO need to establish exactly what the rights of the unborn are. Right now their rights are conditional and nebulous. Without clear constitutional interpretation or ammendment, we will constantly be fighting these battles.

I also agree on the scond half, but for a different reason, see post to TC above.

I think it is naive to call child rearing a temporary condition. There are those who would say that adoption is an option. And that is fine, but what about a person who feels strongly that they would never want a life that they created in the world if they were not the one to care for that life, even if it meant a termination of that life during pregnancy?

As the adoptive parent of 3 special needs children, I cannot disagree with you more on this point. It seems a curious dichotomy to have a person who feels so strongly about a child that if it were born they would never allow it to be raised by someone else, so strongly that they would rather it die. I praise the courage of the three families that gave up the children I now care for because they loved them so much that they would rather not have them to insure they had a better chance at life.

I also believe that a life un-lived is less of a loss than a life lived. Again, not that it's not a loss, but how could a life un-lived ever equate in value to an actual lived life? It can't because there has been nothing. We can mourn the potential life that never had a chance, but it's all unknown future.

You walk dangerously close to the argument for euthenasia with this line of reasoning. When does someone come to the point where there is "actual value" in the life. Certainly an infant or small child has little more fulfilled potentinal than the unborn, the invalid, the mentally disabled. Lots of people can be marginalized with this kind of reasoning. I know you did not mean it this way, so I apologize for characterizing it this fashion, but that kind of reasoning opens a pandora's box that I just as soon not get opened.

-Eyago

Posted by: Eyago on October 11, 2006 11:53 AM
60. tc,

So, I guess a question would be is a person a person if the brain doesn't form?

The question is, does a soul exists because of a brain or irrespective of it. You seem still stuck on the medical argument rather than on the spiritual.

Imagine, if you will, you are face to face with God asking these questions. How do you think he would answer you? Remember that he may not simply answer with the yes or no, any more than Jesus answered with a simple yes or no when asked if one should pay taxes to Ceasar. He did not answer from an earthly perspective but from a spiritual one. He effectively said render unto God that which is His and don't let the wordly perspective cloud your judgement.

-Eyago

Posted by: Eyago on October 11, 2006 12:01 PM
61. Eyago,

I know how I would answer and I know how I have lived my life. There is a difference, however, and your pay unto Ceasar is an example. We can voice our opinions, but we cannot force Ceasar, who doesn't believe, to change his. We as a society are ruled as a representative society where the majority decides what is socially correct for society. This majority may stray from time to time and it is right for us to work hard to get it back on course, but we cannot demand belief where there will never be belief. We can only hope, pray, and live out our own lives according to our beliefs.

Abortion is a two-fold subject. How would one personally deal with the issue if faced with it, and how should society as a whole deal with it? I see a dichotomy there. My hope is that we make progress and as we make progress opinions may change so that we can make more progress. I am in agreement with the goal is zero. I disagree with the strong-arm tactics being taken by those who claim to be Christians. I see it as a goal that as abortions become rarer and other opportunities are discovered by those who so adamantly hold to it, the medical practice will cease to be viable. If it is no longer a medically viable option that has been replaced with better other choices, then it will cease. There are plenty of other, better choices we as individuals can make, we just have to start down the road to discovering them. We won't get there by putting absolutes on the arguments.

Do you think Jesus felt Ceasar would use the money for the good of the Kingdom? We should not expect society to follow our will. We can only hope that they see a better path noticing the path we are following. They can only follow our path if we live out what we preach. Lately that hasn't been happening.

Posted by: tc on October 11, 2006 12:34 PM
62. Palouse at 55

You miss the point that southern plantation owners used to argue that African slaves were a sub-human race and thus not completely human like us.

Posted by: RBW on October 11, 2006 01:13 PM
63. I know, but that is prima facie false. The question of when a potential human or embryo has human rights is debatable.

Posted by: Palouse on October 11, 2006 01:18 PM
64. First I would like ot thank Jeff B. and tc for a pleasant debate before I step upon he soapbox again. :)

for tc on 61:

Let me merge two points you make...

We can voice our opinions, but we cannot force Ceasar, who doesn't believe, to change his. We as a society are ruled as a representative society where the majority decides what is socially correct for society.
...
I disagree with the strong-arm tactics being taken by those who claim to be Christians.

What is different between the government of Jesus's day and ours is that WE are the government, so we cannot abdicate our responsibilities personally, using society or the government as an excuse. I do not believe you advocated this, I am just making my position clear. I do not know what "strong -arm" tactics you are referring to, but if Christians are operating inside the legal framework of our laws and processes to exercise political power, they are then acting as responsible members of the government by using the laws and processes of the government to enact laws. Is it any different than any other body attempting to affect public policy?

It is a tough decision how a Christian should act in our government. On the one hand, Christ did not appear to concern himself with governemnt and its laws. He focused on the individual and their heart, asking them to live their life according to God's will. But when a Christian is PART of the government, how then should he/she act? Can they simply focus on their personal life and leave the government to its own - to render unto Ceasar what is Ceasars? But what if they ARE ceasar?

It is interesting how two sides view this point. On the one hand we ahve the liberals thinking it is Christlike to force charity on the nation by using the goverment to care for the sick and poor but disdaining the use of goverment to support biblical morality while the conservatives chafe at the idea that goverment is the place for charity while trying to use goverment to enforce morality. Both sides seem to be picking and choosing governemnt's role and have ample justification for their own use of governmental power.

Just something to think abut, not something I intend to flesh out.

Do you think Jesus felt Ceasar would use the money for the good of the Kingdom?

I most certainly think Jesus KNEW that the money would be used in accordance to Ceasar's will irresepctive of God's will or any "good of the empire." It was irrelevant. Jesus dod not come to institute a goverment/corporate kingdom. He came to call the sheep. He wanted the heart of the individual. Our call is a personal call, and He probably knew that no set of laws would transform society. Even the perfect Law of God was not sufficient to keep man from his iniquities, how much less would man's laws achieve this goal?

We should not expect society to follow our will. We can only hope that they see a better path noticing the path we are following. They can only follow our path if we live out what we preach. Lately that hasn't been happening.

How true and unfortunate.

-Eyago

Posted by: Eyago on October 11, 2006 01:29 PM
65. In response to this -- "It's best to practice abstinence or birth control or whatever one believes is appropriate not to get into this dilemma, but that's often not the case. I don't see how it would be possible to prevent someone from using RU-486 to end that early potential life. And isn't RU-486 just an early abortion?"

1. Birthcontrol (IUDs, Pills, the patch, Norplant, Plan B/Morning After Pills) are, or can act as, abortifacients in some instances. They deny the embyo the ability to implant in the uterus. They can and do work post-conception, i.e. they can't logically be called contraceptives 100% of the time.
2. Birthcontrol leads to abortion rather than prevents it. It separates sex from procreation and makes abortion necessary. Abortionists know that BC will fail x number of times, for whatever reason, and anticipate the revenue from the abortions that will be required.
3. RU-486 is a chemical abortion used after a woman knows she is pregant. Chemical abortion is not a new or better form of abortion. It's a variation on a centuries old theme: ingest a poison or insert a poison into the vagina to kill the embryo or fetus. Hopfully the dosage is correct so that the woman isn't also killed. Unfortunately, Holly Patterson, and others, died after their RU-486 abortions.
4. Plan B/MAP/Emergency Contraception. See #1 above. A form of chemcial abortion or contraceptive depending on whether or not conception has occurred. Woman may or may not know she is pregnant.
5. If laws were only enacted when we knew they would be followed 100% of the time we wouldn't need laws. We have laws against running red lights and many people don't follow that law but I don't hear anyone suggesting that we get rid of it.

Posted by: Mary E on October 11, 2006 02:10 PM
66. Back to the original question regarding rape and incest...
I understand that many of the people posting on this issue who support abortion in the case of rape or incest do so from a place of compassion and concern for the woman involved. However, women in the real world who have conceived after sexual assault know that abortion did not "undo the rape", "make it better" or solve any of their problems surrounding the situation. Many women choose to keep their baby and many of those who aborted regret that decision. The research that has been done in this area supports the idea that carrying a child conceived in rape and incest to term is a woman's best option. The problem is that the abortion industry and some well meaning people think abortion is her best option.
Rather than learning that the world is a cruel ruthless place where the strong dominate the weak, a woman who brings her child to term learns that good can come out of bad and that she has the ability to ultimately triumph over her situation. Abortion tends to compound the trauma of rape because, well, abortion is so similar to rape. Abortion doesn't bring revenge or a feeling of vindication to a woman or empower her or build her self-esteem. It degrades her even further. Unfortunately, abortion is often urged on women who are already in a vulnerable spot by those who bring their own preconceived notions to the situation. It is ultimately anti-woman. Legal abortion allows rapists to continue to victimize women because they can use abortion to cover up their crime. Abortion favors those who prey on the vulnerable, not women.
I think it is also important to note that the supposed need for abortion after a rape was the hook that Sarah Weddington used to hang the Roe v. Wade case on and which the SC eventually bought. (Of course, Jane Roe was NOT raped but the abortion lobby never lets the facts get in the way.) The whole basis of Roe rests on the need for abortion because of rape. Notwithstanding Roe, I wonder how a court uphold a law allowing abortion only in the cases of rape or incest. It is illogical and that is probably why the SC threw the door open to all abortions. The exception makes the rule.
While I haven't researched it to the degree that I would have liked, it seems as though the term "rape" as you and I understand it is somewhat passe More and more I see the term "unwanted sex" used in laws here and there. By definition anyone seeking an abortion, what they perceive to be as the "undoing of a sexual act", is saying they had unwanted sex. Rape and incest exceptions, just like the "health" exception, are big enough to drive a Mac truck through.
Please don't let the abortion industry and radical feminists dictate the assumptions and therefore the conclusions of the debate. They don't speak for women who have been victims of sexual assault.

Posted by: Mary E on October 11, 2006 03:20 PM
67. tc#49: "I have searched diligantly, but to no avail. The commonly quoted verse out of Psalms (that God knew us in our mother's womb), never states when God knew us. Therefore, one could believe that verse and still choose the many points along the timeline from conception to birth."

Actually, the verse is Jeremiah 1:5; "BEFORE [my emphasis] I formed you in the womb I knew you..."

In the New Testament we have this: "just as He chose us in Him BEFORE [again, my emphasis] the foundation of the world..." (Ephesians 1:4).

The Greek word for "world" is kosmos, which may include the entire physical universe. Thus, I would argue that God's "before" is an infinite length of time (Space Time Theorem asserts that time began at the instant the universe was created).

This begs the question: Who's frame of reference are we (Believers) going to trust? Ours or His?

In any event, I'm not in favor of legislating my moral, philosophical and/or theological position on the issue of abortion. Legal abortion seems to be the lesser of two evils in a fallen world.

Posted by: YourLifeIsMyFault on October 11, 2006 04:02 PM
68. Eyago,

You are reading way too much into my statement about abortion and responsibility. My point is that I do consider an unborn child a potential life. I consider it wrong to take a potential life lightly, but at the same time, I do not regard a potential life with the same weight as I do an actual life. Therefore, I don't personally condone abortion, but I am not willing to say that a potential life in its first few weeks as a tiny clump of cells deserves all of the rights of an actual life. Hopefully that clears it up. And I'm not for government intervention in abortion any more than I am for government intervention in driving. Personal responsibility is always needed, all the government can do is pass laws that set the limits. If we pass a law tomorrow that says that the freeway speed limit is 45 MPH, will people adhere? Probably not. It might even save some lives (although the analogy is flawed because it has been shown that a lower speed limit actually makes driving more dangerous) but you get the point. There's not going to be a nationwide definition of abortion as entirely illegal. It's just not going to happen. What say you to the rest of my statement regarding the political reality in which we live? Are you going to ignore the current situation? I doubt it. I don't see you as someone who is going to suddenly vote Democrat because you personally believe that a potential human has rights from conception on, and you'd like to see that value instilled all. What's your position? Allowing the government to make all abortions illegal seems pretty un-libertarian as well because it forces the non-religious to accept faith oriented concepts such as the soul.

As for actual value, that is the whole point. A person's right to their own life. I'm not for euthanasia, but I am for allowing a family to remove life support for a life that can't sustain itself and that has no awareness of its own value. And I'm also for assisted suicide. If an individual is capable of making the decision that their life is of no value, and is rational in that decision, I believe they should have the choice. And it's really a non-issue because people commit suicide all the time whether it is legal or not and they do so with the volitional consciousness that makes suicide incomparable to abortion.

This is why I believe a woman who is a victim of rape or incest has an absolute right to an abortion, for the pregnancy was entirely an act of force beyond her control. Even if one could guarantee a happy life of a child begat from rape, or a happy adoption, etc. I believe it is still monstrously unfair to subject a women to all of the implications of pregnancy when she was forced to accept them against her will. One can get in to all sorts of hypotheticals: What if the woman is a professional athlete training for the most important event of her life and she is raped and impregnated. Should she throw away all of the years of training and hard work she has put into her own life for the sake of an unwanted life that was forced upon her? I doubt you will find very many people, even religious people that would not see the profound injustice of not allowing such a person an abortion or at minimum a pill like RU-486. And it follows from there, why is a normal everyday woman less entitled to not wanting a pregnancy due to rape than a professional athlete? Rape is violent force. If someone is forced to rob a bank at gunpoint, are they guilty of bank robbery?

Lastly, I believe that there will continue to be a legal means of terminating pregnancy, whether it is what the pro-life electorate agrees to or not. So, again, I think it's far more appropriate to concentrate politically on the maximum term of a pregnancy for a legal abortion rather than going on with spiritual arguments which are based on faith and will never be the basis for a legal consensus.

I'd love to continue this thread, but it seems to be going around and around at this point. I very much appreciate the civil tone and I respect your beliefs are sincere and of good intention.

Posted by: Jeff B. on October 11, 2006 05:43 PM
69. Jeff B.

I was going to allow you the final word, but as I was up on my roof today scraping off the official state flower (moss), I had the chance to reflect on the weightier things of life, and one comment you made struck me as very much in need of comment.

Allowing the government to make all abortions illegal seems pretty un-libertarian as well because it forces the non-religious to accept faith oriented concepts such as the soul.

Do you realize that you just said, in effect, that the ONLY people who should be allowed to decide moral issues in this contry are the ones who do not believe in a soul? Do you really mean that only the most hard core athiests should be annointed to be the arbiters of all things moral because only they will be able to judge morality objectively, completely without the influence of spirituality?

I hope you do not get a chance to live in such a world.

-Eyago

Posted by: Eyago on October 12, 2006 08:47 PM
70. The anti-abortion camps entire premise is based on their PERSONAL RELIGIOUS BELIEFS that claim that life begins at conception. Those beliefs are not shared by a majority. Many other faiths believe that life begins at birth, or, in this modern age of prenatal medicine, at viability (approx 24 weeks).

If one claims life begins at conception, you might as well say that every sperm, every egg, is sacred.

Realize that almost nobody is "pro-death", or "pro-abortion". The "pro-choice" camp simply believes that because the morality of abortion is based on a RELIGOUS tenant, that life begins at conception, that it should be a personal choice of a woman, her partner, and her personal religious beliefs. Government has no right to interfere.

It always amazes me that the party that most cares about the "life" of the unborn doesn't seem to give a Sh*t about the life of the thousands of children who die every day of starvation, or of easily preventable diseases. Of the children even here in the US who suffer from hunger, and abuse.
"Christian" morality at its best...

Posted by: Proteus on October 16, 2006 09:19 AM
71. My beliefs line up with the pro-life side. Aside from that, a few observations:

"Pro-choice" supporters always use the example of rape/incest, yet that's a small portion of all abortions. Abortion is primarily used as a form of birth control. That's a fact.

Many pro-life advocates have decided that, as a matter of principle, they will not compromise on the issue of rape/incest. That's their choice. So, as Dr. Phil would say, how's that working out for you? Politically, I mean? Given the choice of half a loaf or none, how does hunger feel? Have you prevented any abortions?

If the battle is to be won, it has to be won because hearts and/or laws have been changed. Because we're a democratic republic, any law must have the support of a super-majority or it will be undone. Why a super-majority? Because the MSM is strongly pro-choice and they will frame the issue.

So, it seems to me you have to change hearts. Again...how's that been working out for you? Have you changed any minds here? Anywhere? Perhaps the opposite?

You are your own biggest enemies; that's why the pro-life side will continue to lose the political battle. You will continue to purge the ranks of the impure, shrinking your base of supporters. That's the opposite of what you should be doing.

So...what's your plan?

Posted by: South County on November 8, 2006 07:45 AM
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