The Abortion Debate Continues (respectfully)...

Sarah said...
haha, as usual, Peter, it seems as though I only get a chance to read your blog about once a month. Then it's a whirlwind of emotion where I agree and then vehemently disagree, and sometimes just shrug my shoulders and shake my head. But I always enjoy the exposure to a view so often completely different from my own. I try to always embrace opportunities to actually think.

The issue of abortion is, I think, an interesting one. Because the argument that you set up really has nothing to do with abortion. You are distressed by the reasons that women chose to abort babies and feel, obviously passionately, that if women were treated as 'equals,' if poverty was dealt with in a better manner (eliminated, perhaps, by government intervention, because you also apparently feel that it is the responsibility of the government rather than the church to care for the poor, which I find a rather interesting view), if, if, if... then abortion would be eliminated naturally.

And you're right.But the question is, just because all of those "if's" haven't been dealt with... does that make abortion okay? If, in fact, abortion is wrong... and I always feel that cold-blooded murder is wrong... then why is it only wrong when all other circumstances are fine? Just because we have not yet fixed the causes leading to abortion, we cannot justify the wrongness of abortion. It is still the murder of an innocent baby who had nothing to do with the circumstances of its conception. By your logic, it is okay for a poor, single minority woman to get an abortion, but wrong for a rich, married, white woman to do so.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that those who claim to be 'pro-life' do not take that stance seriously enough... their focus is usually far too narrow. But that does not release us from doing our best to care for the women and poor around us and for protecting the lives of the innocent whether or not they are yet born.

This is the holocaust of our generation.


Peter said...

Sarah, great to hear from you again. Regarding your “agreement… disagreement… and agreement,” I have the same problem with myself! Spencer Burke ( wrote in his book The Heretic’s Guide to Eternity that he is constantly changing his beliefs and opinions about things. He says there’s something wrong with him if he believes the same thing a year from now, that he believes today. Burke thinks beliefs should be constantly evolving, growing, testing themselves and adapting.

You may not agree, but it gives us freedom to say bold things, and grace when we realize we’re wrong (a regular occurence for me).

You are right, that my argument is less about abortion than it is about focus and priority. “If, if, if…” yup. I’m probably trying to weasel my way out of saying this: "I believe abortion is immoral."

But my reason for weaseling isn’t just that I’m afraid of offending women who are pro-choice. I don’t think abortion is wrong only when everything else is taken care of. My reason is that I don’t believe making abortion illegal is going to solve the problem of unwanted babies. It isn’t going to change Americans’ admittedly low ethic for human life (born, unborn, innocent or criminal, Texan, or everyone else).

I said something a few posts back about trying to get a meth addict healthy without taking away his meth. That’s what making abortion illegal is, in my mind. There is something much sicker in American society, and abortion is the effect, not the cause.

Desperation is the sickness, which is why I have more compassion for a runaway teen, a rape victim, and a battered wife. You said, “By your logic, it is okay for a poor, single minority woman to get an abortion, but wrong for a rich, married, white woman to do so.” Maybe, but those are superficial indicators. Victimization is rampant, and women (and children) are largely the ones who suffer. I’m not capable or willing (certainly not mature enough or wise enough) to determine who is rightfully a victim, and who is lazy or selfish.

Creation is groaning in expectation (suffering as she does, for redemption), and abortion is one of many holocausts in our generation. Darfur, Rwanda, Kosovo, Zimbabwe, China and Tibet... holocausts. Battered children and women are human rights outrages that should shake us to our very core. Instead, our pastors tell women to stay with abusive men, “preserve the family at all costs.” Our priorities are as stilted as the world we’re called to help redeem.

You said: “But that does not release us from doing our best to care for the women and poor around us and for protecting the lives of the innocent whether or not they are yet born.”

I agree, Sarah. And I WANT to agree with your conclusion. Perhaps I am jaded by many of the pro-life advocates I have known – too many, manipulative and often underhanded grassroots lobbyists.

Wherever I see genuine love and compassion, that’s where the truth is. That truth lives on both sides of this issue.

I don’t claim to have the full picture – my vision is clouded by political and cultural frustrations. I acknowledge that. I mean this: pray I have an ever-clearer understanding, informed by love and not outrage.

Thanks Sarah. Stay in touch,

Existential Punk said...

Where i think pro-lifers tend to miss the boat is a holistic approach to being pro-life. Many pro-lifers are fighting over the unborn, but are for the death penalty, pro war, and are not as outraged by the genocide in Rwanda and other countries around the world.

i do not see abortion as our generation's holocaust. Abortions ought to be less than more but sometimes are necessary.

Reading the Bible, i do not always see God being 'pro-life". WE ARE NOT GOD, CAN'T CLAIM TO KNOW AND UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING ABOUT God, and we do not walk in anyone else's shoes other than our own. So, to claim something wrong for another woman, which should be b/w herself, family, and God, not the rest of us, is claiming to be GOD and speak for GOD.

David Henson said...

Also, comparing abortion to the Holocaust is, well, simply inflammatory, over-emotional rhetoric that has little connection to history or perspective. The two don't compare. Even if you are using the word for its literal meaning, it still makes no sense.

If anyone is going to take "pro-life" perspectives seriously, it would be advisable to frame the discussion intelligently.

You could say you believe it to be the "Worse Injustice/Crime in the World," which is essentially what you are saying, but then you'd have to deal with a totalizing, American-centric idea in the midst of global poverty, hunger and genocide.

Peter said...

David, again, great perspective. I don't know if I've yet come out and said that, but you're right: "over-emotional" and "inflammatory." One of the articles I quoted last week talked about continuing the same failed efforts and policies out of stubbornness. Using "good vs. evil," "us vs. them" "crime-above-all-others" language does little except rile up the conservative base, and piss everyone else off for such nearsightedness. "Ameri-centric" is spot on. American newstations don't cover the atrocities our world suffers from.

All that, and I want to say how much I appreciate and respect Sarah, who posted her original comments, and don't want to scare her off. First, because I came from that worldview, and though I don't hold it any longer, I can't very well look down my nose at it. That would be hypocritical. Second, because not everyone is called to be an activist for EVERY issue. If God has put abortion on Sarah's heart as a cause she's passionate about - who am I to argue?

But my concern is that if every Christian took up the "Pro-Life" activism banner, we would have a lot more social problems in the world being unacknowledged and unaddressed.

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