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Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22, 1973

Thirty-eight years ago today, the Supreme Court overruled all state laws that prohibit or restrict a woman's right to obtain an abortion during her first three months of pregnancy. The vote was 7 to 2.

Justice Harry A. Blackmun wrote the majority opinion in which Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and Justices William O. Douglas, William J. Brennan Jr., Potter Stewart, Thurgood Marshall and Lewis F. Powell Jr. joined.

Dissenting were Justices Byron R. White and William H. Rehnquist.

The majority rejected the idea that a fetus becomes a "person" upon conception and is thus entitled to the due process and equal protection guarantees of the Constitution. This view was pressed by opponents of liberalized abortion, including the Roman Catholic Church.

Justice Blackmun concluded that "the word 'person,' as used in the 14th Amendment, does not include the unborn," although states may acquire, "at some point in time" of pregnancy, an interest in the "potential human life" that the fetus represents, to permit regulation.

The justices, therefore, established an unusually detailed timetable for the relative legal rights of pregnant women and the states that would control their acts:
For the first three months of pregnancy the decision to have an abortion lies with the woman and her doctor; and the state's interest in her welfare is not "compelling" enough to warrant any interference.

For the next six months of pregnancy a state may "regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health," such as licensing and regulating the persons and facilities involved.

For the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, the period during which the fetus is judged to be capable of surviving if born, any state may prohibit abortions if it wishes, except where they may be necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.
With the new Republican, anti-abortion majority in the House and among state governors, a new level of anxiety has returned to the abortion debate.

In Florida and Kansas, legislators plan to reintroduce measures that were vetoed by previous governors but have the support of the new chief executives - like requiring a woman to view an ultrasound of the fetus before consenting to the abortion, curbing insurance coverage, and more stringent regulation of late-term abortions.

Although social issues were often played down in the campaigns, many of the newly elected governors and legislators are also solidly anti-abortion, causing advocates of abortion rights to brace for a year of even tougher battles than usual.

The biggest shift is in the state capitols, with 29 governors now considered to be solidly anti-abortion, compared with 21 last year. A spokesman for Naral Pro-Choice America said, “This is worrisome because the governors have been the firewall, they’ve vetoed a lot of bad anti-choice legislation.”

To my mind, pressing women to view ultrasounds before consenting to abortion is, perhaps, the worst of bad anti-choice legislation.

While several states encourage women seeking abortions to view an ultrasound, Oklahoma last year adopted what is, in my mind, a heinous, emotionally - manipulative requirement that doctors or technicians perform the procedure with the screen visible to the woman, and explain in detail what she is seeing.

The measure is under court challenge, but the Kentucky Senate has passed a similar bill, and variants are expected to come up in states including Indiana, Maryland, Montana, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

Can you imagine requiring a technician or doctor who is performing a vasectomy to do so with a screen visible to the man, and explain in detail what he is seeing?

Or, requiring any person to view any surgical procedure while it is happening?

No, I can't either. And, why is that, you ask? Why require a woman to view an abortion on a screen in "real time" with a "play by play" of all the action?

Because, for many people, just as the Supreme Court in 1973 based its decision, this is all about the definition of 'person hood'. It's just not about the person hood of the pregnant woman, but only, singularly that of the "unborn child".

For some citizens, it would seem that the "potential for life" has more value than the actual life of the pregnant woman.

Centuries of biblically-sanctioned sexism and misogyny - to my mind, "the original sin in The Garden" - have roots and branches in the pro-choice / anit-abortion debate.

This is the social aspect of this legal issue that will, no doubt, get worse over the next two years, as conservatives seem more interested in "symbolic victories" like reading the Constitution on the Floor of the House and defeating the Health Care Reform Bill.

They are flexing their muscles, pumping up the testosterone and "sending a message" about who is really in control.

If they can't overturn Roe v. Wade, why, they'll just make the "little woman" have to watch the procedure on a screen while it's happening so she'll change her little mind - which, of course, is her prerogative. We'll just help her with her "pro choice" stance and help her choose the "right thing".

On one level, it's a pathetic display of machismo which should only be met with the ridicule and scorn it deserves.

On the other hand, we'd be very wise to brace ourselves for more attacks on women's rights in general and reproductive rights in particular.

The Guttmacher Institute reports that the abortion rate in the United States, which had declined steadily since a 1981 peak of more than 29 abortions per 1,000 women, stalled between 2005 and 2008, at slightly under 20 abortions per 1,000 women.

This is due, in part, to an increase in the use of early medication abortion, which uses a combination of two drugs in lieu of surgery. Early medication abortion has become an integral part of abortion care; 59% of all known abortion providers now offer this service.

I suspect that the medically-induced abortion rate will continue to increase sharply, which allows the new, heinous, emotionally manipulative requirements of surgical abortion to become a moot point.

Oh, of course, the attack will come from other venues - curbing insurance regulations so that the abortion medicine will be available but not compensated until health insurance policies. Meanwhile, Viagra and other medications for ED (Erectile Disfunction) will continue to be covered under most insurance policies.

Anybody else see a disconnect here?

Abortions have been with us since antiquity. They have only been legal in this country since 1973. Please God, they will continue to be safe and legal while we continue to work on the reasons women feel compelled to have an abortion in the first place:
Access to affordable, competent health care, including contraception services for women to prevent unintended pregnancies.

Working to end poverty, hunger and homelessness, which has an even more profound effect on women and children, making them easier 'prey' for abusive, manipulative men who do not provide health care or child support for their dependent children.

Stricter enforcement on requiring child support by absent parents.

Providing education for young girls and access to opportunities for advanced learning, trades and higher education.
Instead of putting our energies into ending abortion, doesn't it make more sense to work together to end the situations wherein women feel compelled to have an abortion?

I know. I know. Mrs. Palin says that society is not responsible for the actions of one person. She was, of course, reciting the Reagan mantra as she saw it applied to the tragedy in Tuscon.

She has a right to that opinion. However, the reverse of that is also true. In other words, if a woman chooses to have an abortion, society does not have the right to judge her and the law has no right to restrict that choice.

Of geese and gander, and all that . . . .

I thank God that women have the choice - the legal option - about what happens with their bodies. I grieve when that choice includes terminating a pregnancy. I pray that all those who want to see a significant decrease in the abortion rate will work with me on decreasing the reasons women have abortions.

Jesus trusted women. So does the highest law of the land.

After 38 years, it's high time we all did.


JCF said...

God bless you, Elizabeth.

Bless you, bless you, bless you!

What you say squares (IMO) 100% with "Scripture, Tradition and Reason" . . . and yet hardly anybody has the courage preach this GOOD news anymore.

It's like if you scream "From Conception!" loud enough and wave enough fetus pictures around (usually from the third trimester, though OVERWHELMINGLY, abortions are performed in the first), we who believe in the personhood of WOMEN are supposed to be cowed into silence. [Or just kill the abortion providers, to ensure ACTUAL silence. Holy George Tiller, martyr for Imago Dei made female, pray for us!]

I can't thank you enough for this, Elizabeth. Perhaps only in heaven, will you receive your reward due.

Frair John said...

So, from what you are saying, I can infer that my uncle, who has a condition that is high on the "to be aborted" list, has a humanity that is less than that of, say, his mother? After all, one of the reasons that there are fewer children born with myelomeningocele (my uncle) or Down's Syndrome (two cousins) is because parents are counseled to abort.
In both cases "person-hood" is denied at a basic level, and can be taken personally.
Since they can now detect the genetic details of my own non neuro-typical brian through tests, I suppose I should view myself now as "less than" since now my own life could be considered secondary to my Mother's freedom.
I suppose that one way of looking at Abortion is weather or not you're on the chopping block.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

C'mon, Friar John - You sound like you're scratching around for a fight when that's not what this post is about. I said no such thing about 'humanity' - valuing one 'human' life over another. The law is not about 'humanity'. It's about 'personhood'. The laws says that, in the first three months of pregnancy, the fetus is a fetus, not a 'person'.

I know several women who knew that the fetus they were carrying had Trisomy 21 (formerly known as Down's Syndrome) and still went through with the pregnancy. Indeed, we adopted one of those children - primarily because the woman couldn't deal with the judgment of those who thought she should have had an abortion. She got no support in raising that child and simply couldn't do it alone.

Reproductive rights in general and abortion in particular are very emotional issues. As such, it's a very private matter - between a woman, her husband or the man who 'fathered' the pregnancy, her doctor and, hopefully, her family and clergy.

As the old saying goes, "If you don't want abortion, don't have one." I don't mean that to be flip or disrespectful to you. I simply mean to say that you and I have no place to judge - either way - what a woman decides to do about her pregnancy.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

JCF - Apparently, that last statement is truer than you imagined when you first wrote it.

walter said...

..I am certainly grateful At Elizabeth to be able to focus on the 22nd of January 1973 even though at the time I was about 15 years old and without my America’s experience. But the center of my reflection is beyond the decision made by the Supreme Court to legalize abortion under specific conditions. The center of the debate seems to have been if to consider the unborn-yet child a fetus or a person. You see I am very discerned from this debate in our present days, 2011. My God of Life Inherent speaks to Me in a certain and discerning way. The ultimate debate is not between a fetus or a person, but in the faith of Inclusive Catholicism motivated by the theology of Affirmative Mysticism, Freedom Theology which discerns the issue to be about Matter and the Actualizing Potential to become a Christian Person through the Baptism in the deeper awareness of the state of Sin under which this species come to this World. In the context of my reflection on the five perceptual senses-holy reading Schopenhauer and the five spiritual point for The Chicago Blue Grotto Tavern-holy reading Dr Paul, the born child is Matter-not yet inherently motivated by the Intuition of the Mind of God however having in his/her DNA the Actualizing Potential to become a Person. According to Me the reasoning is not about the divisive issue of either fetus or person but about the inclusive issue of Matter and Awareness-Intuition of the Mind of God, the God of Life Inherent.

So when I say that in my Spiritual Vocabulary there is not the term ‘abortion’ you may ask to me what I call then the experience on which we are debating? An interruption of pregnancy from a medical point of view which goes together with a pause in the spiritual development of our species from a spiritual point of view. Pro-choice to me means advocacy for the personal responsibility and the Freedom of whom medically and spiritually interrupts the pregnancy, a responsibility that may be highly facilitated by comprehending that we are all born in a state of Sin as the first creative interpreter of Christianity thought us and as we have been teaching the deepest application of the Pauline’ Doulos-to speak truth-to-power. The responsibility and the Freedom of which I speak may be facilitated only through genuine forgiveness; such forgiveness means the liberation of the creative energy accumulated in 38 years. Such energy may be experienced only through The Sacramental Intentional Silence of Dr Paul and The Incarnational Faith of Dr Elizabeth by the figure of Mary Magdalene as icon of the experience of the resurrected Christ. Let us forgive the mothers and the medical doctors whom in 38 years have interrupted pregnancies. In the name of the One who keeps us centered and focused and truthful, Jesus The Christ.

I hope that you will notice that our spiritual next of keen intentionally have defined The position pro-choice and not pro-abortion. The offer here means to destabilize a polemical debate from the side of anti-abortion that fights against who? There is not pro-abortion here by the Incarnational Faith through the genuine mournfulness of Dr Elizabeth. In the name of the One who keeps us centered and focused and truthful. ILove my Little Girl, ILove my Portuguese Girl, ILove my Traveling Mercies, ILove my Brother-ILove Fran at Freedom Theology-ILove yoou Libby by The Sacramental Moment, this one, right now whereby I am offering all I have experienced until now to my Little Girl, to my Portuguese Girl, to my Traveling Mercies, to my Brother-to Fran-to yoou Libby-ooh how truthful giving and empowering (ref. ..centered focused truthful) I am At my moments of Life Inherent.

Walter Vitale

Charlie Sutton said...

Maybe the Tucson shootings would not have happened did we not devalue human life by making the choice of whether an unborn child is a person or an "it" entirely up to the mother.

In the last 38 years, 45 million (I believe this is the correct figure) unborn children were slaughtered. I know that in many cases, conception occurred in difficult circumstances, financially, emotionally, and so on. But it is likely that those conceptions might well have never taken place were not the idea of an unborn child being a "blob of protoplasm" so convenient, nor the idea that the primary purpose of sexual relationships is recreation so widespread - with each reinforcing the other.

Devaluing unborn life means devaluing born life. Child abuse statistics have shot up in the last 38 years. I do not believe that is a coincidence.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Charlie - Your logic is so shaky and facile as to absolutely astound what I've known previously about your intelligence. Maybe the Tuscon shootings would have never happened because we continue to destroy a sanitary pad or a tampon or wash men's soiled boxers or briefs because it does not honor the potential for life.

I'm obviously overstretching to make a point - and, perhaps you were, as well. At least, I hope so. The point the Supreme Court struggled to make 38 years ago is, when does 'personhood' - not 'life' - 'personhood' begin? The overwhelming consensus in the medical and scientific communities is that it happens sometime after the 20th week of gestation. That is now the law of the land.

You may not like it. I may not like it. But, it's the law. And, I don't think it is the only contributing factor to the statistics about violence and abuse. The truth is that abortion has been with us since before recorded time. It will always be with us. It's just that now, in this country and in most civilized nations of the world, it is legal and - here's the important thing: SAFE. It gives a woman options over her life that have been denied her for centuries. It honors the life and intellect and future of the woman. I don't think that is an example of disrespect for life. Rather, I think it's a shining example of the respect we have for the life of a woman. Jesus trusted women. I think more of us need to follow His example.

JCF said...

Don't let them silence you, Elizabeth. FEAR has silenced the (sentient) will of too many women (and allied men). Abortion has never silenced ANY person! [Well, except the deadly, women-killing illegal ones---the kind of abortions that anti-choice activists want to send us back to.]

MarkBrunson said...

Well, how can you blame Charlie, Elizabeth, when we look back at the good-ol'-human-life-valuing days before abortion - you know, like the 1800's, when children were so valuable they were part of the workforce in coal mines, or during the Middle Ages, when the great white Roman Church was quite willing to send children off on crusade - those who didn't get captured and sold into slavery by Christian merchants? The good old days - and not so long ago - when forcibly marrying a twelve-year-old to a fifty-year-old wasn't just for the Third World, anymore, when the social and sexual status of children, in that life-affirming age, was that of small adults who'd better be able to care for and work for and fight for themselves!

If we could just turn back the clock, to when men of good Christian principals - men like Ivan Grozsny, or Richard the Lionheart, or Lorenzo di Medici, or Rodrigo Borgia - showed such great respect for human life!

Ah, for the good old days when back-alley abortionists plied their trade, killing both mother and baby, with a society in posession of full knowledge that these were the results of such moral "rectitude."

Ah, for good, solid, simple answers that give no pause and do not require us to think or stop in our ever-driving Christian principal of producing and consuming, expanding, delineating and warring.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Mark. We need our brothers to step up and tell the truth of our history so some of the other brothers might actually listen.

Charlie Sutton said...

Elizabeth, I did write the beginning of the comment with my tongue in my cheek. From my comment on one of your earlier posts, you know that I do not think that the level of intemperate speech in our culture lies behind the shooting in Tucson. I do know that there are those who say that abortion devalues human life, and that if human life is devalued, then treating the lives of others worth less is to be expected. I am not at all sure about the second premise, but I do think that abortion does devalue human life – it certainly does not enhance the value of human life.

I was wrong about the number of abortions over the past 38 years – it is 52 million.

Here is a link to one story on Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist who has been charged with murder because of how he treated his patients and how poor his “medical care” was. He did not appear to value human life, other than his own.

I did a Google search on “Hate speech and hate crimes.” I got a huge number of links. I have gone over about 14 pages of them, and so about 140 links. So far, what I have found is that the FCC, in response to an appeal to a Latino group to a study on the link between hate speech and hate crimes, so that the FCC would have a basis to regulate talk show content. The FCC did a study about 2006 or 2007, and reported that the link between hate speech and hate crimes is not strong, if it exists at all. I also found another study that found that some members of a particular group will commit violent acts to impress other members of the group. Inflammatory speech on the part of the leadership of that group will identify the group to hate and to attack, and may stir the more junior members to make an actual attack. That case, however, is very specific. It is not the level of discourse in general, but the discourse of a particular group.

Most of the leads I found were either statements assuming a link between hate speech and hate crimes or references to the FCC study or the call of the Latino group for the study to be conducted. Maybe there are other studies on the possible link between virulent speech and hateful action. I will continue my searching for such studies this week.

I believe that the violence in our society has many sources. Some of it is rugged individualism. Some of it is a generation raised on Star Wars and “trust your feelings.” Emotions are useful indicators, but they are not good guides. I could go on. Ultimately, we are violent because we are sinners – trying to run our lives, seeking to enlist God’s power without acknowledging his goodness and authority, fearing others because, try as we may, we know we do not know enough and are not strong enough to get our way – and those others are often trying to get us to do things their way. The reasons given for abortions often (perhaps always) include circumstances that result from men and women using one another or behaving foolishly and short-sightedly. You know that I believe that sexual relationships should be reserved solely for marriage. Our society’s acceptance of sex as recreation has led to a field wide open for selfishness and abuse.

The only way I have been able to get out of the power game so that I can trust others and be trustworthy myself is because I trust God and his Word. How that trust came to be is a long story – but it was not because I was brilliant or naturally trusting.

Charlie Sutton said...

Mark has recorded a history of violence and selfishness. It is no surprise to me. The fault was not in Christian ideals but in imperfect men and women. And of course, from the early middle ages up to the Reformation, the Gospel of grace was buried under layers of superstition and politics.

Mark, if you can live a day perfectly according to your ideals, you are a better man than me.

Going back to abortion: a fetus is genetically human, and genetically distinct from its mother. Perhaps the Supreme Court was using “personhood” rather than “human life.” Perhaps they had to, given that the Constitution grants rights to persons. But why 20 weeks? That seems pretty arbitrary. What characteristics are needed to be a person? If they are anything other than genetically human, then not only are the unborn but the “post-born” in danger – for if they lose one or more of those characteristics for some reason, they may be seen to be losing their personhood, and so their protection.

My youngest sister had a boyfriend who gave her drugs so that he could have sex with her. She got pregnant. She was out of HS, but had no job and no training for a job. The boyfriend said, “Get rid of it.” But she valued life, and kept the baby, who is now a wonderful young woman, married, with children of her own. My sister got help and a lot of support from my parents and from her conservative church and from her larger family. This topic is not just theoretical to me.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Charlie - reproductive rights is far from a theoretical discussion - most especially for women.

You missed Mark's point, which I suspect you intended to do.

In terms of 'personhood' vs. 'human life' - that's the way the law is constructed. And, it's most assuredly NOT "arbitrary". As I've said, repeatedly, it's about the best information that medical science gives us.

When you can step back from the emotion of the issue and begin to understand what a woman faces with an unwanted/unexpected pregnancy, and can value HER life - especially when, unlike your sister, she has no support, you could begin to understand why abortion must remain legal and safe.

And, when you begin to understand why most women have abortions, you would commit yourself to putting down the judgmental rhetoric and work for systemic change.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You might find this link helpful:

A snippet:

These ideas lead almost directly to questions of personhood and how we view the fetus. Can you talk about that?

The question is whether or not -- while the fetus in all stages is something of great dignity and worth -- is it of the same moral status as a fully born newborn or as the mother?

My judgment is that I don’t see how it could be. If you’re going to support a law which diminishes the criminal penalty for the mother who has an abortion, then it must be because your intuition is that somehow or another abortion -- while obviously a bad thing, an intrinsic evil -- isn’t as weighty as actually murdering someone who is a full born human being.

Now, where do you draw the line regarding personhood? That’s of course always very difficult. But I think that the basic idea behind how I read Aquinas is that you cannot have a human soul until you have a fully functioning human body to receive, as it were, that soul.

I think that’s an important distinction to make and it’s reflected in church practice. While the church claims that with the embryo -- from gestation on through -- you have a full moral person, I have a hard time figuring that out because the church does not baptize miscarriages, doesn’t bury them, doesn’t seem to treat them as if they were fully functioning persons.

MarkBrunson said...

Charlie, I'm sorry but what you're doing there is wrapping a non-argument in a lot of words.

And . . . missing the point.

You are attacking people who are pro-choice by arguing that it devalues people, I am saying that no . . . the human condition devalues people. You've got a lot of issues to address there before abortion even begins to get the spotlight as a problem. You don't even have to worry about the spurious theology of Original Sin, you don't even need to believe in God to see that!

That's why anti-abortionists get no respect for their platform - it's intrinsically dishonest. You want to "fix" a cosmetic issue, while being quite comfortable to leave underlying issues of capitalist greed, self-gratification, lack of personal introspection, militarism - all just a handful of symptoms of underlying malaise of the soul - you are quite willing to ignore those.

Let's say you got what you wanted, and a year from now, the "wonderful young woman" who wasn't aborted is raped, or shot, or becomes a drug addict or is homeless and on the street - then what have you really achieved? Nothing, other than satisfying your own sense of moral outrage.

"Mark, if you can live a day perfectly according to your ideals, you are a better man than me."

Then what gives you the idea that you have the moral authority to contradict anyone else? While you're wringing hands over issues that are extrapolated in Scripture, you may want to actually look at some of the explicit instructions, RE: motes and beams.

I don't believe you are a bad person, simply not a very self-aware one, and that's the ignorance that destroys.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks again, Mark. There's not a doubt in my mind that Charlie is a good person and means well. Emotion mixed with religion resulting in moral outrage is such a blinding force. Motes and beams, indeed.

Charlie Sutton said...

Mark, thank you for taking off the veneer of sarcasm. I try to speak as clearly as I can in the brief space a blog gives; it makes discussion easier. Just to be clear: I am not attacking those who are pro-choice as individuals; I am saying that abortion is wrong and that because it is wrong, it harms more than the babies who die – the abortionist, the mother (studies show greater depression among those who have had an abortion & there evidence of increased risk of breast cancer) and society at large –although the effects there are far more diffuse.
Nor am I saying that abortion is the only evil in society. It is a great one, but not the greatest. There are many evils in capitalism – as in every economic system that has been tried. Those in capitalism are not as bad as those in other systems, however – & responsible people seek to ameliorate those evils. Greed is not good, nor is any other fault you mentioned.
Why would you say that abortion is a “cosmetic” issue? Is it because you think that those who oppose abortion on demand think that abortion is the only evil in society? I do not know where you would get that idea. It is not true of any pro-life person I know.
As I said before: a fetus is genetically human and is genetically distinct from its mother. A woman cannot say “It’s MY body” because, while a fetus is in a woman and of that woman, it is genetically distinct. The law obviously has decided on other criteria for personhood, but what are those criteria? Are they objective criteria (such as genetic makeup)? What is true in week 20 that was not true in week 19? If the criteria are subjective, then who judges them and on what basis?
Right now, legally, the only person who decides if the unborn child is human is the mother. If she wants the child, it is human. If she does not, even up to time it is in the birth canal, then it is not human and it can be put to death, with no legal liability.
And why, as people who are trying to change the law on other matters, do you think that this law is good and moral, just because it is the law?
Mark, I have enough self-awareness to know that I am a sinner and that I disobey God’s will every day. I do not want to but I do. You may not believe in Original Sin (& I am not sure that you understand what that doctrine asserts), but if it does not exist, whence come all the evils we see around us? Perhaps you are a Pelegian. However, that idea does not come from Jesus, the only perfect human being whoever lived: “Why do you call me good? There is none good but God.”
Planned Parenthood does not call an unborn child a child, but rather “the product of conception” or “uterine contents.” As you know, if you wish to be able to demean someone or take their life, first you have to dehumanize them. PP does not want expectant mothers to think of their unborn child as a child but as a thing.
I believe that abortion is one factor among many that has devalued life in our culture. And I believe that God’s moral law is not simply his whims, but the way he has structured human life to be lived productively & happily. To seek to live away from his moral law is to court death in all its forms.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Charlie - I'm going to let Mark speak for himself, but I do need to remark on a few of your statements.

1. Abortion doesn't "kill babies". Abortion removes a fetus from a woman's uterus.

2. Women who have children they do not want and can not care for suffer more than depression. The children they bear are also at alarming rates of violence and abuse.

3. Women who do not abort but place their child up for adoption suffer more than depression - and their children are haunted for their entire lives by the thought that their mother did not "want" them.

4. If you sincerely believe that abortion is "wrong", as you say and an "evil", albeit "not the only evil", why wouldn't you attack those who are pro-choice? I certainly would.

5. The study of genetics is fascinating. What happens from one day to the next is remarkable, much less what happens between week 19 and week 20. And, no, the woman is not the only one to decide. Her doctor has to agree to it, and adhere to strict medical and legal guidelines.

6. Planned Parenthood is not engaging in "spin" by referring to the fetus as "Particles of Conception" or "Uterine Contents." Those are standard medical terms. Look them up.

7. "Moral law," like civil law, has always been subject to interpretation, based on specific principles of ethical methodology. Just because the system upon which you base your beliefs differs from mine does not make you immoral. The reverse of that is also true.

I hope this is helpful to you.

MarkBrunson said...

You are completely unaware of yourself if you truly believe that merely ridding the world of abortion will change anything.

Your own emotionalism comes through in your torrent of words, largely addressing imaginary issues that have nothing to do with what I wrote. The problem is cosmetic because you do nothing to change the underlying problems - it is a symptom.

You, apparently, are unable to grasp this. This is largely because your awareness of your "sinfulness" is merely intellectual. You say it, but you are not aware of its depth or its source.

Try to keep any response on topic and brief, as its very hard to dig through a morasse of mere moralizing.

MarkBrunson said...

And, thank you, Elizabeth; your reasoned and reasonable responses are such that I couldn't possibly improve on them.

Charlie Sutton said...

Mark, I really can't say anything more. I do not understand what you write, and you do not understand what I write. We might as well leave it at that.

MarkBrunson said...

I understand perfectly what you write.

I don't know that your purposely misunderstand and deflect, but I understand it as showing your position is indefensible.

When you group who so love the "sanctity of life" start fighting to prevent murders of people like David Kato, work with police to find and stop right-wing "christian" terrorists and assassins, stand before "christian" guerrillas in Africa to keep them from killing or torturing Muslims, lead the way in ending poverty, famine, disease, work to make the world a place worth living in, then you have a right to complain.

Until then, you value fetuses, not life. Be honest with yourself.

Charlie Sutton said...

This way late, and so probably a profitless task, but I have had some responsibilities that have kept me away for a while.

Elizabeth, you have said a number of times that, if we begin with differing assumptions, we will wind up in differing places, as you reiterate in your last comment. That is certainly true. But if there is such a thing as overarching truth, then either both of us are ultimately wrong, or only one of us is ultimately correct. If there is no overarching truth, then we are really in trouble, for we are not dealing in truth but in passion.

Mark, the topic of Elizabeth's post was abortion, and so I addressed abortion. I believe abortion to be wrong except under the most extraordinary of circumstances, and I have given reasons why I think that is so.

I was not aware that, in your eyes, in order to speak on the subject, I also had to state my opposition many other wrongs. I do think that the Ugandan culture is taking the wrong tack on addressing same-sex sexual relationships, and I also am horrified of the horrors inflicted by the so-called "Lord's Resistance Army." But why I would be expected to state my opposition to such wrongs when the topic at hand was abortion is beyond me.

I do not engage in arm-chair psychology with people who comment on blogs. I do not know you, and you do not know me. I gave an objective argument; expecting to be engaged on the argument itself and not on my character. It is surprising, however, that often when I am commenting on progressive blogs what I get in response to my comments is personal rather than dealing with what I actually said.

By the way, when I mentioned my unaborted niece, you said, "Let's say you got what you wanted, and a year from now, the "wonderful young woman" who wasn't aborted is raped, or shot, or becomes a drug addict or is homeless and on the street - then what have you really achieved? Nothing, other than satisfying your own sense of moral outrage." Insofar as I can understand you in that sentence, it looks like those who are raped, become homeless, or become addicted are worthless, because rescuing them from the death of abortion lead to a tragic life; it would have better that they had never been born.

The fact is that conservative Christians, who oppose abortion, also fund and serve in many crisis pregnancy centers and related organizations that give support to pregnant women in difficult circumstances and assist them well beyond the birth of the child. Pro-abortion people like to say that this is not so, but it is. There may not be enough crisis pregnancy centers for all the need, but there are over 9,000 in the US, and that is not nothing.