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Confessions of a Pro-Lifer

May 27, 2012

It’s true, I find abortion abhorrent in virtually all circumstance and partial birth abortion particularly heinous (enough so that even seeing Michelle Obama’s face makes me want to wretch).  I don’t believe abortion will ever be outlawed, though I think it should be.  Our infrastructure to enable such a law isn’t up to the gargantuan task.  I’d PREFER that passing such a law not be necessary.  That those who consider abortion just ridding the body of unwanted cells would wake up to their own selfishness (when I see a post of woman who thinks hearing a separate heartbeat from her own doesn’t differentiate the baby as a separate life, I want to scream).

Still, I struggle greatly with two things.  The Texas law requiring an invasive sonogram would be a lot more palatable if it were an exterior ultrasound.  I’m checking to see if that would be viable (but since the pro-lifer fellow with the ultrasound unit makes an impact, I suspect it would be).  Doonesbury’s recent series on it makes some valid points (though not his assertion that abortion doctors can be trusted when they make millions off giving as little information as possible).  The spirit of the law I find acceptable; the execution not so much.

And then there’s birth control pills; I’m not talking about the current disinformation that recasts religious freedom as trampling “reproductive rights” whatever those are.  I’m talking about the fact that BC pills are NOT conception control pills.  I was shocked and saddened when I found out BC pills abort babies, not just prevented conception.  I was grateful that we were beyond that decision.

Should they be illegal, though, because they do abort?  I don’t know God’s thoughts on this, so I struggle.  If there’s no culpability because the pill never lets you know you were pregnant, is it wrong?  Or does the knowledge that it can abort hook you with responsibility.  Had we found out before snipping, we wouldn’t have used them.  While I think abortion is irresponsible (you play with fire and would rather kill than get burned?  No.)  Do pills fall into that?  Is someone being irresponsible by taking a pill, thereby not knowingly getting pregnant?  I’m not comfortable making that call (and don’t have to, thankfully).

I do know that BC pills to control painful cycles is screwed up.  One doesn’t cure a hormone imbalance by creating a worse hormone imbalance and expect to be healthy.  No wonder it causes cancer.

These are my struggles.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2012 12:21 pm

    I too would prefer that abortion not be necessary, but as you might imagine I remain firmly pro-choice. I think the root of the debate really stems from the lack of clarity surrounding when a human life begins. If one believes, as most pro-lifers seem to, that life begins at conception–and some states are now adopting laws that push that back to even before conception–then the abortion-is-murder argument is somewhat understandable.

    I’m a little more pragmatic, I guess, and do not regard an embryo as human life. Potential human life, yes–but not a human being. To make a shoddy analogy, in my driveway currently is a small stack of lumber. That wood could become many things–my intention for it is another backyard garden bed for the wife, but if I added more wood to the pile it could become anything from a swingset to a picnic table. Conceivably I could even add a bunch of other pieces and make a grand piano. It has potential, in other words. But if that wood were to spontaneously combust, I wouldn’t say I lost a grand piano, would I? I’d say I lost a little pile of wood, because that’s all it was. Similarly, a mass of mostly undifferentiated cells that couldn’t possibly be sustained outside the womb, much less continue developing, may have the potential to be a human, but is decidedly not. Personally I tend to draw the line of when human life starts at the point of viability–i.e., the point at which a fetus could be removed from the womb and still survive (whether with or without reasonable medical intervention). That date keeps moving up as medical science improves, and I could be convinced to change my definition further if it could be shown that a younger fetus can be said to consciously experience pain. But even so, pushing up the start of life to the moment cardiac tissue starts doing what it automatically does, or to conception (or, ridiculously, prior to conception)? I think not. As an aside, studies show that around 25% of embryos spontaneously abort in the 4 weeks after conception, usually without the woman ever even knowing she was pregnant. Is that murder on the mother’s part? Suicide of the embryo? What’s the theological ramification?

    Anyway, it’s a slippery slope. If abortion at any point of pregnancy is bad because it snuffs the potential for a human life, then that would mean that preventing conception itself is equally wrong, right? Indeed, you seem to be drifting towards that argument here, though I’d note that as far as I’m aware most hormonal contraception works by preventing ovulation, not by causing abortion. There ARE abortifacient contraceptives, yes, but they aren’t the most widely-used.

    So then the basic question becomes whether one believes a woman should be in control of her reproductive abilities. If you do believe that, then the methods of doing so–from the rhythm method and NFP, through mechanical and hormonal contraception, and on to abortion–are all just shades of grey bent towards the same goal. If you don’t believe a woman has the right to control her reproduction and would like to prevent them from doing so.. well, firstly, I imagine there are millions, if not billions, of women on the planet who would quite strongly beg to differ with you, but also, how shall we deal with the extensive natural and societal ramifications of such a mandate?

  2. May 30, 2012 6:18 pm

    Remind me never to go hunting with you. 🙂

    Consider: You, your shotgun and dozens of other hunters are in the woods hunting for Bambi when you see a bush shaking and a hint of brown. Do you shoot? Unless you’re Dick Cheney or equally judgment impaired, you don’t. When is a fetus a life? There’s enough uncertainty that killing a fetus is like shooting Earl behind the bushes.

    I also think your wood analogy falls short. Try this one instead. You get an inflatable snowman at Wal-Mart, take it out of the box and unroll it. You place it in the yard, hook up the power cord and plug it in, but you don’t flip the switch because it isn’t dark yet. At twilight you come out and it’s been shredded. Do you think, “oh, my undifferentiated plastic is torn up” or do you thing, “one of the neighborhood vandals destroyed my inflatable snowman!” and dash an email off to McKee asking for justice for your inflatable snowman.

    At no point in history has a fetus with a human mom and dad become anything other than a human if allowed to come to term (X-Men aside).

    I am frankly stunned that you think I’m drifting toward outlawing contraception. Sperm and egg must come together for conception. Before that, prevent away. I do think women should have control of their reproduction. It’s not like we don’t know how pregnancy occurs. If you don’t want to get pregnant, first, consider celibacy until you do. Barring that, use a non-aborting birth control.

    Now, do I think women should have the right to destroy human life? No. Do I think the government should force religious-owned organizations to offer services that violate their faith? No, clearly unconstitutional.

    I think the slippery slope belongs to abortion. If abortion is okay because “it isn’t a baby” then using the fetal cells is okay. If there is a financial reason for fetal cells, then abortion will get later and later (not to mention the idiot who things abortion should be legal for several months after birth). Then, if only pristine DNA is protected, then Downs babies might be killed after birth. And senile old grandma can get the ax.

    Finally, a fetus can feel pain very early. And, I could be wrong, but I think many birth control pills include an abortifacient, though I hope I’m wrong.

  3. May 31, 2012 6:16 pm

    It has potential for life… it IS alive. Call it a fetus or whatever, but that fetus is alive. Even if it isn’t aware, it’s alive.

    I read an article about how abortion is performed more on girl-babies than boy-babies even here in the US. That’s disturbing.

    Me neither, to be honest. I’ve thought about it, but would it be of value? Dunno. (Guns, that is.) Can’t justify the cost to own something I hope never to use and probably wouldn’t if I had the opportunity.

    • June 1, 2012 9:23 am

      Again, there’s the rub–does the potential for life equate to life itself? That (which is itself just a restatement of “When does a human life begin?”) is maybe the bottom line in the pro-life vs. pro-choice debate, and I don’t feel qualified to offer anything but my opinion that they aren’t the same thing. Here’s another slant on it: Does the fact that something would develop in a certain way if allowed to do so also bequeath the right to so develop? if so, we may need to rethink the morality of radiation and chemotherapy in treating cancer. (I should probably note that my tongue is firmly in cheek here.)

      Yeah, with small children (or any children, for that matter) in the house I think the risks of having firearms around outweigh the potential benefit in terms of deterring home invaders and that sort of thing. But in case of zombie apocalypse, a well-secured sniper rifle would be most beneficial. 🙂

  4. June 4, 2012 8:04 pm

    Again, though, when in doubt, lean to life, not death. When it comes to the law, we’re probably closer than I’d care to admit (outlaw it without first changing heart and behavior and we’d be swamped with crisis pregnancies… and yes, I hate that pragmatic immorality in my character).

    As for the guns, I worked briefly as a police officer and had an engagement gone the other way, I would have had to shoot a drunk guy threatening his girlfriend. When we took him in, he was a cheerful drunk who meant no real harm. He doesn’t know how close he came and I didn’t feel like coming that close again, hence the brief period as a cop. I thought about that a lot after the Zimmerman/Martin thing and find I feel for both sides. Having said that, threaten my wife or children and I’d have no problem planting that guy, but I’d rather take strides for such a situation not to happen than to be waiting for it to happen.

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