Posts Tagged Abortion
I think it is an uncontested fact that we hate to be lied to. I think we can say with absolute agreement that when given information about a product we are purchasing, we want accuracy, clarity, and non-interpretable language. In short we want truth and not advertising. We want reality and not fiction. We even pass laws requiring ingredients be listed on products so everyone can be informed. So I have to wonder why moral and social behavior is handled so differently.
New York recently passed a law that expanded abortion rights. The state had followed the guidelines of most of the country, which allowed abortion by choice up to 24 weeks and after that only by exception. That exception was based upon a doctor determining the physical or mental health of the mother was at risk. It did not really change it’s stand on that; it simply put into rule was previously the exception. The new law specifically states that abortion is now restricted to the 24 week window or it is necessary to protect the patients life or health. It removed any checks and balances on that decision to the doctor’s opinion.
I have to admit when reading the law I found it hard not to vomit. I also must admit that it is not only the allowance of this act but the interpretable language and advertising mentality that was the problem. The law appears worded to protect the government by placing the interpretation and thereby the responsibility for the action on the doctor and patient. It starts with a comment that is abhorrent at best. It reads “Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures performed in the United States”. I can safely say that can only be accurate for at most 50% of the patients involved because by virtue of the “procedure” at least 50% of the living beings die.
It is hard not to notice the immediate hypocrisy of this. New York has found capital punishment to be unconstitutional as it violates the rights of the criminal but has made it constitutional to kill an unborn child with the loophole of opinion. I guess the infants rights take a back seat to the criminals rights.
For many years the arguments about abortion centered on the definition of life. Originally they claimed the fetus was not living until it left the womb. It then moved back to a point where it was determined to be viable. The arguments changed at that point to individual rights and whether the state or for that matter any being or entity should have control over a woman’s body.
I honestly believe the most sickening part about this is the rhetoric involved that obfuscates the tragedy of the action. We have gone from discussing the value of life and are now hearing arguments about rights and freedoms and the perseverance through inner turmoil on a tough decision to have an abortion. Really? I am supposed to respect a person because they chose to kill a baby? We are being encouraged to celebrate free speech when people shout their abortion. Again, really? If a person wore a t-shirt shouting they had killed a baby, it would be considered a confession and an arrest-able offense. However if the optics change because we desensitize the world through logos, ad agency lingo, and rebranding, I am supposed to accept it? I think I need to vomit again.
I am doing my best not to be glib because the real conversation is truly about life and death. At the same time, I need to understand the Christian response. Many Christians raise their voice vilifying those who have had an abortion rather than doing anything to help. We focus on political candidates who can overturn laws as if that will stop the problem. We don’t want to address the real problem, which is that we argue against from the outside without ever considering what the problem looks like from the inside.
If I am not willing to find a way to truly help, should I be vocal about the problem at all? We should be sickened by this epidemic. We should see how it cries out against God and celebrates the hubris of mankind. But anytime I have ever recognized something like that, God is not asking me to re-tweet or re-share a meme. He is asking me to get involved with the tools that I have been given. I do not believe the bible teaches us to build a Christian utopia here on earth and call it God’s Kingdom. I have read the book and it doesn’t end that way. I do believe God is calling us to minister to the broken. And this circumstance is truly broken. I am reasonably certain the world knows we do not accept or approve of abortion. We can stop over sharing that. Now lets use the gifts God has given us to find a better answer. But beware, the devil is in the details.
Is it ever acceptable for one person to tell another person that their life is too problematic and ill timed that they need to no longer exist? A man sees a homeless person sitting by the doorstep of his apartment complex and can smell their odor each day he walks by. He gets to the point of not wanting to bring friends over or even live in the apartment because the odor is so strong. If he decided to kill the homeless person because they presented too many challenges to overcome living in that apartment, he would be a criminal and rightly seen as morally repugnant and legally culpable. Our country has clear laws regarding such actions. However if a woman chooses to be sexually active and chooses to have unprotected sex or uses contraception that fails resulting in pregnancy, she has the legal right to abort the child due to the inconvenience of having a baby and raising a child. The woman would be legally innocent but I have to ask if the act is any less morally repugnant?
The question of abortion is a moral question being argued in legal terms. The current legal battles are whether to reduce, limit, curtail, increase, expand, or strengthen the current legal parameters. The law currently allows abortion in all states so arguing it in legal terms is similar to searching for a reduced fare on a cruise liner that already sunk. We have given people the ability to kill on demand and allowed them to feel as if it is a women’s rights issue. The window is now open to extend this to euthanasia which looks like the next natural step. Slowing down the process legally won’t stop the problem. We need to be discussing the moral issue with people. The challenge for Christians is that if we convince people to act morally without given them Christ, we are effectively being cruel. With that said, we still need to be able to answer the moral question and be able to defend it viably.
The arguments for abortion early on focused greatly on the question of when does life begin. Is the fetus a human being or is it a parasite. This presented two major problems. The first is that the definition of parasite not only described the fetus but also most children and teens. There has never been a doubt that offspring act in a parasitical fashion until they reach a level of maturity. The science for determining if it is a human being however weighed more and more in the favor of Pro-Life. Evidence showed that fetuses reacted to pain, had brain patterns, heart beats, and even develop patterns of right or left handed behavior.
Ten to fifteen years ago the arguments started shifting to human rights and the human being status of the fetus began to be widely accepted. This brought on new questions. Does the baby have a legal right to life and does the state or anyone other than the mother have the ability to regulate what happens in the life of the mother? A famous argument was provided by Judith Jarvis Thomson regarding a virtuoso violinist with kidney failure. She posits the question that if you were kidnapped and attached to a machine that was allowing the violinist’s body to use your kidneys and were asked to stay there for 9 months to allow the violinist to heal, would you consider that a violation of your rights? If you were given the option to voluntarily disconnect knowing that would kill the violinist, would you? The problem with this argument and those like it is that a person being kidnapped is a victim whose rights are clearly being violated. A woman choosing to have sex is never a victim and is expressing her rights over her own body by having sex. The only circumstance were this analogy becomes valid is if the woman was a victim of rape. The cases of rape resulting in pregnancy were less than 1% according to several studies over the last several years. This statistic has been disputed in the same manner of all statistics. If the test population is not wide enough, it will not accurately support the results. Whereas these concerns hold some validity, even if the percentage was as high as 5%, that would still mean that over a million abortions were performed each year that were corrective actions to regretted choices. I honestly feel that if the only abortions performed were due to rape, the abortion debate would be over.
The real concern is the moral choice to end a life based upon convenience. If two people choose consensually to engage in sex, are they not responsible for their choices? How is it moral to give them a way out of that responsibility by mere virtue of it causing them difficulty in the future? How is it morally acceptable to end a life for convenience? Over 50 million babies have been killed over the last 40 years in the United States alone. How can this be morally acceptable to our society so that people can escape the responsibility of a bad choice? The arguments for abortion rob humanity of its soul. How can we ever consider ourselves moral, if we allow atrocity to be engaged in freely without speaking up? I do not think the law will ever change; how much it is utilized by people can. Lobbying to change the laws will not change the hearts of people that are willing to make an immoral choice. The problem isn’t going to be solved in the rhetoric, it will need a savior. The question Christians need to ask themselves is whether or not that is the message they present. Are we betraying Christ’s grace by blaming the people rather than providing the gospel in a way they can hear it? If our message to people having abortions is filled with words that attack the person and not the problem, I think maybe we are. If people are acting in an immoral way, they do so because that is what they know. It is up to us to teach them something different through love. Christ’s commission to us was to spread the gospel throughout the world. That did not mean to just deliver the package and leave. It meant to explain the gospel in a way it can be understood. If we want this problem to get better, we need to be better at doing that.