Monday, January 31, 2005

More on making abortion rare and common ground

Both Andrew Sullivan and Ellen Goodman have new pieces out on Hillary's speech.

Sullivan's piece is better than Goodman's. That, of course, isn't saying much. He actually seems to try to answer the question of why abortion should be rare. He fails, however, to explain why the intentional killing of some innocent human beings should be legal.

Sullivan says, "Democrats can still be and almost certainly should be for the right to legal abortion. But instead of beginning their conversation with that right, they might want to start it with acknowledgment of a wrong. Abortion is always wrong. How can we keep it legal while doing all we can to reduce its scope and damage?"

So Andrew, why is abortion "always wrong?"

Earlier in his piece, Sullivan describes abortion as "the act of ending human life in the womb." He later continues "Beyond the polarizing rhetoric, a simple message: saving one precious life at a time."

So it seems that to Sullivan abortion is wrong because it intentionally takes a precious human life but the intentionally taking/ending of 1.3 million human lives in the womb each year should remain legal. Abortion kills babies but killing babies should be legal. It makes absolutely no sense.

Sullivan also calls Senator Rick Santorum the "most extreme and intolerant pro-life absolutist." Isn't Sullivan being "intolerant" when he calls Santorum's views on abortion "extreme" and "intolerant?" Santorum is "extreme" and "intolerant" because he wants to legally protect human life in the womb while Sullivan is supposedly tolerant because he thinks that it should be legal to end precious human lives. I'll take "intolerant" any day of the week if we're tolerating the killings of innocent human lives.

On to Goodman
Instead of reading Hillary's speech and seeing it as a possible and needed change for the Democrats, Goodman uses Hillary speech as a platform to attack prolifers. Her piece is basically an assertion tirade. She basically asserts that finding common ground with prolifers is impossible. Goodman never mentions that numerous pieces of common sense prolife legislation that she opposes like stopping tax dollars from paying for abortions, informed consent legislation, banning partial-birth abortion etc. Is it possible that not having the government pay for abortions might reduce the number of abortions?

She asserts that Plan B isn't an abortifacient when no one really knows whether it is or not. Planned Parenthood relies on one study to say that emergency contraception doesn't prevent implantation by saying, "A more recent study suggests that ECPs only work by preventing ovulation or fertilization, and have no effect on implantation (Croxatto, et al, 2003)." Suggests? Sounds really reaffirming.

It's interesting how Goodman bases her assertion about emergency contraception on one study but then claims "abortion increases breast cancer" is a lie when there are more than 20 studies that show an increased risk.

She continues, "Indeed, as David Grimes of Family Health International wrote, saying that emergency contraception would promote risky sexual behavior is like saying "that a fire extinguisher beneath the kitchen sink makes one a risky cook."

Goodman fails to mention that Grimes is a fairly infamous abortionist who's been in the pro-choice movement for decades. All we need to know is that he works for Family Health International. Thanks Ellen.

But must importantly Goodman never tells us why abortion should be rare. Or why some women who have abortions have feelings of "regret?" People who are strongly pro-choice just can't seem to answer this question.

Just found out that Amy Welborn has been kind enough to share her take here.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Planned Parenthood's President has resigned

Gloria Feldt has resigned as president of Planned Parenthood. No reason that I could see was provided.

It seems somewhat sudden - when Kate Michelman resigned from NARAL she announced her resignation long before it actually happened.

This is hopefully a good thing. During her 8+ years as President of Planned Parenthood, abortions performed by Planned Parenthood went up from around 140,000 per year to more than 240,000 per year.

Some interesting history about Planned Parenthood's leadership before Feldt took over here, here and here.

Why "never?"

William Saletan offers this piece in Slate regarding Hillary's speech on abortion. He points us to something that I seemed to have missed by saying,

"Note the concluding words: faith, responsibility, family. This is the other side of Clinton's message: against the ugliness of state control, she wants to raise the banner of morality as well as freedom. Pro-choicers have tried this for 40 years, but they always run into a fatal objection: Abortion is so ugly that nobody who supports it can look moral. To earn real credibility, they'd have to admit it's bad. They often walk up to that line, but they always blink.

Not this time. Abortion is "a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women," said Clinton. Then she went further: "There is no reason why government cannot do more to educate and inform and provide assistance so that the choice guaranteed under our constitution either does not ever have to be exercised or only in very rare circumstances."

Does not ever have to be exercised. I searched Google and Nexis for parts of that sentence tonight and got no hits. Is the press corps asleep? Hillary Clinton just endorsed a goal I've never heard a pro-choice leader endorse. Not safe, legal, and rare. Safe, legal, and never.

Once you embrace that truth—that the ideal number of abortions is zero—voters open their ears."
(emphasis mine)

Though I disagree with much of what Saletan says on abortion, he is someone that seems to think outside the pro-choice box and actually wants to reduce the # of abortions.

But I always find the thinking that abortion should occur rarely or now "never" to be odd coming from pro-choicers. I've never seen the one word question - "Why?" - answered adequately by pro-choicers.

Why should abortion be rare? From a prolife perspective the answer is easy - "because abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being" - but for a pro-choicer who doesn't recognize this reality or thinks that killing fetuses isn't morally wrong the answer isn't as easy. If abortion doesn't take the life of an innocent human being then why should it be rare? If abortion is a valid "choice" or medical procedure then why should we care if there are 1.3 million of them every year? Why is "zero" the goal? Why is abortion "bad?"

I think we're left with a few options. 1.) Those who advocate this approach realize that abortion is morally wrong but their thinking has been swallowed up by moral relativism to such a large degree that they don't think they should "force" their moral views on others.

2.) Those who advocate this approach don't really care if abortion is rare or not. Instead this is merely a technique to try to claim the middle ground in the abortion debate.

3.) Those who advocate this approach are confused about the degree to which abortion is morally wrong. For example, lying is morally wrong but most people don't think that Billy Bob telling a few fibs about how good an athlete he was in high school should land him in the state penitentiary. I think that a lot of pro-choice people think that abortion is wrong but not in the same sense that prolifers do. They see the unborn as "valuable" but not in the same way they think other human beings are valuable.

Or maybe this is a subset of option one.

Random links

Serge is talking about why human beings are valuable at Imago Dei.

The Detroit Free Press tells us that Terri Schiavo should have the right to die. They gloss over the fact there is a difference between letting someone die naturally and starving them to death.

This is my favorite quote, "In Terri Schiavo's case, her husband communicated his wife's wishes to doctors after years of pursuing methods to revive her. The situation got complicated when her parents objected. As time went on, they portrayed their son-in-law as money hungry for stopping Terri's treatment only after he won a malpractice case, and callous. They said he lost his right to have input in his wife's life when he took up with another woman. Sadly, such distractions can arise when personal tragedies end up in protracted court fights. Letting go is so painful."

Yes, letting go is painful when your daugther's husband has been living with another woman for years, has two children with this other woman, and won't divorce your daughter because he's after the money that he promised to use to rehabiliate her. Gosh.

Please tell me this is a parody site. Unfortunately, it's not. HT (TKS)

Austin Ruse informs us that Frances Kissling may grudgingly support Senator Brownback's bill on fetal pain.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Laura Berman promoting Hillary's baloney

Detroit News columnist Laura Berman is at it again. Her latest column comments on Hillary Clinton's speech to pro-choice advocates which I lazily linked to other posts about here.

Berman says, "Because nobody is "for" abortion in a cheerleading, rah-rah sort of way, the forces who would like to see it banned altogether have a psychological advantage they've deployed with skill, drawing their own line in the sand.

You're either with us, the cooing baby people, they suggest, or with them -- the bloody fetus folk. Take your pick."

Why is nobody for abortion in the rah-rah sort of way? Because it takes the life of an unborn child and scars women emotionally? Is it a psychological advantage for the prolife side or a truth advantage?

Berman continues, "In response to Clinton calling for a way to find "common ground," for example, Barbara Listing, the president of Michigan Right to Life, told me bluntly: "I doubt there is room for common ground. The opposition is very strong (against) the idea of restoring civil rights for the unborn child."

Her point was clear: "We have a very narrow focus," she said. The truth is there are no "rights" of the unborn child to restore -- those are new rights her political lobby would like to install. "

No rights to restore? New rights? How about the 100+ years when abortion was illegal, Laura? What about the numerous prenatal protection laws that currently exist and pro-choicers opposed?

"What I hope is that Clinton's fellow Democrats recognize the senator's shrewdness. Seeking "common ground" -- even if it's a strategy -- is a better way to reach consensus than exulting in being "narrow."

Note how Berman doesn't really care if Clinton is lying aka being "shrewd." If it's a strategy (pretending you care about the unborn when you really don't) that works - the Democrats should go for it, regardless of whether they really believe their own baloney. Who cares if "narrow" is right? Who needs to take a stand for what is morally right when we can "compromise?"

Interestingly, the prolife movement in Michigan has hoped to reach common ground on a variety of common sense measures such as informed consent, stopping tax dollars from paying for abortion, and protecting children who are born after "failed" abortions but these measures have been rejected time and again by pro-choice people like Berman.

Even a measure to help college women who want to keep their child and continue their education was opposed by Michigan's NARAL affiliate.

People like Berman are so inundated with the pro-choice philosophy and rhetoric that they can't take their heads out of the sand for a second to see who they're standing next to. Guess what, Laura? You're with the bloody fetus folk.

Safe and Effective or Unsafe and Ineffective?

Concerned Women for America has obtained the Adverse Events Reports filed regarding the abortion drugs in an RU-486 abortion and posted them here. I've just scanned through a few. Many of them show the heartlessness of abortionists.

Under the original FDA guidelines the second drug in the RU-486 cocktail (Misoprostol) was supposed to be administered orally by a doctor during a second visit. Instead it seems that many abortionists are administering the drug vaginally and in some instances having the patient administer the drug themselves vaginally (page 7).

It also seems that quite a few women who were pregnant past the 49 day cut off approved by the FDA were still given the drugs (page 1,2,3,5,6,7, and 8). I saw at least one woman at 10 weeks gestation. I've only looked at a few sets out of the over 50 different sets of 8 pages.

Most of the descriptions of the symptoms seem to by the abortionist. In my random clicking so far, I've only found one that was by the woman who suffered complications (pages 3, 4, and 5). The contrast is telling. She writes, "I was in excruciating physical pain, for at least 12 hours and I was bleeding extremely excessively. I was bleeding through my pants but was in so much pain I couldn't even clean myself. It was the worst physical pain I've ever experienced in my life."

She continues, "I couldn't speak, eat, drink, sit up, and had difficultly breathing. The only thing I could do was lie on the floor and pull my hair to deal with the pain." Later on she talks about the callousness of clinic staffers after her ordeal. Read the whole thing.

How many women have been hurt and lied to so the abortion industry can have a drug that kills unborn children and lets the abortionist get out of the messy business vacuuming these children out of the womb? These people make me physically ill.

Hat tip to LifeNews.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Embryology quote of the week

"Embryo: An organism in the earliest stage of development; in a man, from the time of conception to the end of the second month in the uterus."

(Dox, Ida G. et al. The Harper Collins Illustrated Medical Dictionary. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993, p. 146.

Previous quotes of the week here, here, here, here, here, and here

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines

Dawn Eden pointed me to this post by Jeff Geerling where he discusses his annoyance with some of the headlines for news stories about the March for Life.

Headlines included:
* "Anti-abortionists pledge to fight on"
* "Abortion foes march in capital"
* "Abortion foes rally in Washington"
* "Abortion Foes Get Call From Bush"

I thought I'd look for headlines regarding the pro-choice March for Women's Lives back in April of 2004.

This is what I found:

Thousands march in D.C. to protest 'war on women
Huge Abortion Rights Rally In D.C.
Huge abortion rights rally: Hundreds of thousands in D.C. pledge to take fight to polls
Women's Rally Draws Vast Crowd
D.C. rally on rights fills Mall

These article headlines before the March for Women's Lives:

Abortion rights backers head for Capitol Mall
Women's Marchers, City Gear Up for Mega-Rally

Notice how the size of the prolife rally is never mentioned in the headlines while words like "huge," "thousands," "vast," and "Mega" describe the pro-choice march. Prolifers are "abortion foes" while pro-choicers are "abortion rights backers."

What liberal media bias?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A semi-prolife Clinton?

Or maybe that's what Hillary wants the swing voters in Ohio thinking come 2008.

I was going to post something original on this article regarding Hillary's speech but some bloggers are already all over this. After Abortion, World Mag Blog, and 10 ft. 2 ft. from the prolife side. BushvChoice from the pro-choice side.

Michelle Malkin has more on the Senator's use of Glen Stassen's faulty use of faulty statistics. How many times does the faulty use of faulty statistics have to be refuted. Type "stassen" and "abortion" into any search engine and you get a ton of blogs and websites that refute him. But here we have a U.S. Senator (who probably has a fairly large staff) who is still using these faulty statistics. Come on Clinton staffers, get to work! I could make a joke about Monica here but I'll pass.

Vox Blogoli 2.1

Hugh Hewitt has posted the next subject of his Vox Blogoli here and I think I'll give it a try.

Hugh invites "comments on (following) passage, what it says about the author (Jonathon Rauch), The Atlantic, and the left's understanding of the Christian culture in America in 2005."

“On balance it is probably healthier if religious conservatives are inside the political system than if they operate as insurgents and provocateurs on the outside. Better they should write anti-abortion planks into the Republican platform than bomb abortion clinics. The same is true of the left. The clashes over civil rights and Vietnam turned into street warfare partly because activists were locked out of their own party establishments and had to fight, literally, to be heard. When Michael Moore receives a hero’s welcome at the Democratic National Convention, we moderates grumble; but if the parties engage fierce activists while marginalizing tame centrists, that is probably better for the social peace than the other way around.”

First, I find it odd that Rauch seemingly puts "social peace" and the happiness of activists as a priority for America's political parties over winning elections, improving America, defending America's citizens, etc. Maybe this is why the Democrats have been losing elections. They're too caught up in pleasing loud activists and not reaching out to people who comprise large percentages of our nation's population.

Second, why should "fierce activists" be engaged? Rauch would probably argue that this engagement would lead to less violence but I think that treating the opinions and views of people who use violence to gain attention as if they were worthy of engagement is much more dangerous. Doesn't treating people who aren't afraid of using violent force as if they were "mainstream" make violence and its use for political gain seem more "mainstream?"

Third, Rauch's treatment of religious conservatives makes you wonder if he actually knows anyone who is a religious conservative. The label of "insurgent" whether intentional or a slip of the pen shows how he truly views religious conservatives. Does he actually think that if Rick Santorum and Sam Brownback (or any other Christian conservative) weren't in politics, they'd be mixing up a concoction to blow up a local Planned Parenthood? Or would he think it better for "social peace" if Paul Hill, James Kopp, and Eric Rudolph wrote the Republican Party's abortion policy? Countless Christians work on the outside of our political system for various causes and aren't what anyone would consider "insurgents" or "provocateurs."

Rauch and others on the Left seem more comfortable pigeon-holing Christians into the category of intolerant extremists instead of actually trying to understand our views and why we hold them and then possibly engaging our arguments. Most Christians conservatives aren't against gay marriage because they are homophobic but because they believe that marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman. Christians conservatives don't want to make abortion illegal because they want to keep women barefoot and pregnant but because they the recognize that the unborn are living human beings who deserve protection.

In recent years, the Left for the most part has chosen to either ignore these views or only pay lip service to them. This treatment and lack of understanding (or even attempts at understading) of these views will only continue to hurt them come election time.

Third time a charm with Pastor Boyd?

Pastor Boyd has again been kind enough to respond to my e-mail. The previous posts regarding our discussion on abortion are here and here. Pastor Boyd's third e-mail to me is below in blue. My response to him will follow in plain text.

You asked why I abhor abortion. Revulsion results when something you value is devalued. Since I place incredible value on the unborn, I abhor abortion. Whether it would be effective or not, my proposal for a political compromise was meant to minimize violence to the unborn.

I appreciate the time you've taken to thoughtfully respond to my e-mails. I know you probably won't have the time to respond but I have a few questions I would like to just throw out there. Why do you place incredible value on the unborn? I place incredible value on the unborn because I recognize that they are living human beings and I don't think it should be legal to intentionally kill innocent human beings regardless of their stage of development. Since you place incredible value on the unborn, why do you think it should be legal to kill them in the first trimester? I think I understand that you feel a compromise is the only and/or best way to move forward in the politically-charged abortion debate but in your heart do you think that first trimester abortions should be legal (regardless of whether that is feasible at the present time)?

If there's a more effective way to minimize abortions, I'm all for it. But the present stance of simply shouting our opinions as the other side shouts back doesn't seem to be working. (Abortions are up over the last three years after declining for a decade). One strategy -- the one that I think has most promise -- is to find some common ground between the two sides and build on it. You may disagree and feel that other strategies have more potential, which is fine. Honestly though, as much as I love this country, I don't have a lot of optimism for a political solution to this problem. I would rather that we as Christians spend our time and energy trying to support women with unwanted pregnancies and their unborn children on a personal level. Votes and laws are important, but they don't change hearts.

I agree that shouting opinions doesn't usually work. However, I think amiable dialogues (like the one we've been having) can go a long way in changing hearts and minds. I don't know if you've ever heard of an organization called Feminists for Life ( but I think you might like how they focus their energy on the abortion debate. Based on their focus, the state of Michigan has recently passed this legislation to help set up offices at colleges that help women (who want to keep their child and continue their education) find the available resources to choose life.

No one knows how many abortions have been performed in the last three years. My guess is that you've read a widely disseminated piece by Prof. Glen Stassen regarding abortion statistics. Professor Stassen used faulty statistics in a faulty way to come to his conclusion. National Right to Life has posted a lengthy response to Stassen original piece and Stassen's response to this rebuttal here. Stassen's response can be found here.

I also responded to Stassen's original piece with this post.

Laws may not change hearts right away but I think they can in the long run. Segregation is one issue where hearts have been changed over time thru law (a Supreme Court ruling). I personally think Christians can spend time both supporting women in unplanned pregnancies and working for laws that defend the unborn. Can't we do both?

I would like to thank you for the critical feedback on my proposal, especially the article you referenced. As I mentioned in my original essay, I'm very open to learning about whatever research is available. But again, the principle behind my proposal is simply that we might be able to move beyond the impasse we are presently in as a society and minimize abortions if we can somehow stretch our present agreement about "the end of life/personhood" (however it's defined by the medical community) and in some way apply it to "the beginning of life/personhood."

You are welcome and I appreciate the time you've taken to read what I've provided.

I hope I've adequately distinguished between my own personal opinions about politics and my moral convictions about our role as Christians. I've said it before in other contexts and I will again: I wish my personal opinions about politics had never gotten mixed into this discussion. What's most important is what we can do as Christians on a personal level (apart from the political system) to impact the lives of those around us who are hurting -- in this case pregnant women and their unborn children. And while I truly appreciate your efforts in this arena, unfortunately our dialogue has taken more of my time than I intended, so I'd like to bow out of the discussion. I hope and pray (as I believe you do) that some day we won't have abortions to worry about at all!


Greg Boyd

P.S: Someone drew my attention to your blog. I had no idea our conversation had become public! :) I would like to ask you to post this note in its totality as you have with the others. In the future, I'd also ask that you request my permission before publicly posting my e-mails -- I write them with the assumption that they are part of a confidential discussion. Thanks!

I apologize if I've offended you in any way by posting your previous e-mails on my blog and recognize that I probably should have asked/informed you before posting. I view my blog as more of a form of thought release than anything else. My blog usually doesn't get much traffic but my post did catch the attention of bloggers who are more widely read.

I've enjoyed our discussion and I hope you have as well. I will pray with you that abortion soon becomes something that our world doesn't need to worry about.

Monday, January 24, 2005

"American" Civil Liberties Union and "Moral" Clarity

The Detroit Free Press has allowed its readers into the meaning of "moral" clarity, at least according to the leader of Michigan's chapter of the ACLU. Kary Moss helps us try to understand how those on the other side think about morals here.

First, the piece shows a new strategy regarding how pro-choicers argue about abortion. Don't focus on abortion (at least at the start). Instead, belittle abstinence education (how could teaching kids that they should save sex for marriage be moral), talk about rape victims, tax payer dollars defending legislation (but don't mention what the legislation does), continously use the word "health" without ever explaining the meaning of it, etc. Second, if you do talk about abortion, completely ignore the possibility that there is something in the womb. Just forget that the unborn exist. Treat abortion like a tooth removal.

A few tidbits, I'd like to comment on:

" Indeed, what is moral about forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy when she is unable to care for a child? When she wants to finish high school or isn't financially or emotionally ready to become a parent?"

Here's a few - right off the top of my head - 1. Saving the life of the child (in my crazy world saving the lives of innocent human beings is moral) 2. Saving the woman from dealing with the death of her child 3. Providing the opportunity for the pregnant woman to place her child in the loving arms of a couple looking to adopt

"The moral value that I cherish is a world in which every child is a wanted child. The moral value that I cherish is a world in which physicians and health care workers can offer the best medical treatment needed and possible to their patients."

Is every born child necessarily 'wanted' by their parents? If some born children aren't 'wanted,' does that mean that their parents should be able to kill them? By 'best medical treatment' do you mean abortion? Their patients? Do you mean the woman they've never seen before and possibly won't see again, who they had their nurse prep, and who they spent maybe 15 minutes on? Could the unborn be "patients" too?

"The moral value that I cherish is a world in which every woman is able to freely exercise her most basic right to make decisions about her body free from governmental interference and with the best medical information possible."

Her body? I wasn't aware that the unborn were part of her body. I thought they were distinct human beings with a completely different DNA code who are merely located inside their mother's body for a period of months. Best medical information possible? Is that why pro-choice advocates like you opposed informed consent laws.

I try not to despise pro-choice advocates. I want to love them and reach out to the goodness that is hopefully somewhere in them but people like Kary Moss make it tough.

I can't help myself. I need to come back and make some more comments on this ridiculous editorial.

More tidbits and comments:

"As he begins his second term, and following the weekend celebrations of the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we should ask whose moral values are we talking about?"

Celebrations? Do you mean the 100,000+ people who go to Washington, D.C. every year to protest the decisions. Do you mean the hundreds of events in local communities to mourn the deaths of 44 million unborn children since 1973? Or do you mean the few hundred (if that) people that come to NOW's rally in D.C.? What world does this woman live in? A world where she and her friends have a cocktail party on January 22 every year to celebrate their abortions umm.. choices?

"There is no conclusive evidence that abstinence-only programs work, although there is evidence that they deter sexually active teens from using appropriate protection. Despite this reality, and despite testimony from parents of school-aged children rejecting this approach, the Michigan Legislature recently passed legislation that dismantles a comprehensive sex-education curriculum used in public schools."

Odd that she mentions the "testimony" of a few parents but doesn't rely on any polls concerning parents and abstinence education. Why? Because parents favor abstinence education. Why doesn't she provide any conclusive statistics on how well comprehensive sex education works? Especially if there isn't any conclusive evidence on abstinence education.

Telling Isn't It - Terri's Law Shot Down

On the day of the March for Life, the US Supreme Court has decided to reject the state of Florida's appeal to keep Terri's Law in place. The Court didn't even comment.

Blogging on Roe v. Wade's and Doe v. Bolton's Anniversary

Numerous bloggers have commented and generously linked to other blogs regarding the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade including Michelle Malkin, Captain Ed, La Shawn Barber, Prolife Blogs and Blogicus.

We should also remember that the Supreme Court decided Doe v. Bolton on the same day 32 years ago. In this decision, the Supreme Court defined health (scroll down on the link to the number 55 on the left) by saying:

"We agree with the District Court, 319 F.Supp., at 1058, that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors -- physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age -- relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health. This allows the attending physician the room he needs to make his best medical judgment. And it is room that operates for the benefit, not the disadvantage, of the pregnant woman."

You can't know the real meaning and consequences of the Roe v. Wade ruling without understanding how the Supreme Court defined "health" in Doe. When pro-choice advocate use the word "health" they don't mean ectopic pregnancy or uterine cancer. They mean any abortion. The above definition is so broad that "health" could be used for every abortion.

Roe states,

"a) For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician. Pp. 163, 164.

(b) For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health. Pp. 163, 164.

(c) For the stage subsequent to viability the State, in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life, may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother. Pp. 163-164; 164-165."

As long as a woman can find an abortionist willing to perform an abortion she can have an abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. She doesn't need to have what most of us would consider a health problem. She could decide she's too young or too old. She could decide she doesn't have the familial resources to care for a child.

My guess is the large majority of our country has no clue about Doe v. Bolton and how that ruling effects Roe v. Wade and abortion especially when we have the AP using completely inaccurate polling questions.

People need to know Doe in order to truly understand the horror of Roe.

An old piece by Tim Graham has more on the trimester baloney.

Friday, January 21, 2005

How Pro-Choicers Argue: Part Seven

Intro, Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six

Arbitrarily Defining Human Personhood
Using the term "person" is another way that pro-choicers avoid admitting that abortion is wrong. Many pro-choicers (usually the better arguers) will readily admit that the unborn are human beings or living members of the human species but will then assert that the unborn aren't persons and because of this it should be legal to kill them.

"Person" is a loaded word. Which means that for any number of pro-choicers, the term "person" could have the same number of different definitions. Make sure you ask, "What's the difference between a human being and a human person?"

At first, a good number of people aren't going to have an exact criteria for human personhood. This is because they haven't actually thought about it and are just repeating what they've heard or read from various pro-choice organizations. If they don't know right away, give them plenty of time and then ask them, "Isn't it odd that you're discriminating against the unborn because they supposedly aren't persons, yet you don't even have an answer for what makes a human being into a person."

Many pro-choicers will say that viability, the unborn's ability to survive outside the womb, is what makes a human being into a person. Others will say that mental processes such as self-awareness or the ability to reason is what matters. In the past, others used to say it was the color of your skin, your race, or your gender made you a "person" or was the deciding factor with regards to your rights. Unfortunately in recent history the term "person" and other terms like it such as "citizen" have been used almost exclusively to rationalize the enslavement, mistreatment or killing of other human beings.

It's what our country did with slaves. It's what Nazi Germany did with Jews. It's what many countries did and still do with women.

Any qualifications that disqualify unborn children from the arbitrary realm of human personhood, such as self-awareness, consciousness, ability to survive on their own, etc. will also disqualify other human beings like infants, people in reversible comas, those on respirators, etc. The fact is that all of these different definitions and categories for personhood are wholly arbitrary with no basis in fact or logic. Pro-choicers should have a very hard time convincing anyone why we should accept their arbitrary definitions of personhood and not the arbitrary definitions of the racist or sexist. Why should these qualifications be accepted instead of other arbitrary qualifications like height, weight, IQ, skin color, and gender?

Can't think of a good reason? Neither can they.

Pro-choicer will also use circular arguments to try to defend their arbitrary criteria saying, "the unborn aren't persons because they can't live outside the womb."

You can ask, Why should I accept this criteria for personhood?

"Because the ability to live outside the womb makes someone a person."

They'll unfortunately forget that a newborn couldn't survive outside the womb if no one was there to feed or clothe the child.

Pro-choicers will also use criteria that eliminates other human beings they consider persons like newborns or people with severe mental disabilities. Their criteria will at times also make certain animals into persons.

For example, some pro-choicers say self-awareness, consciousness, or the ability to reason are what makes us persons. Guess what? Infants aren't self-aware until about 3 months while many animals like dogs, apes, dolphins, etc. can form conscious memories and are aware of themselves, others and how they interact with the world around them.

So are these animals "persons" while the human infants aren't? If these animals are "persons" should we free these animal "persons" from zoos and give them the unalienable rights they deserve?

Other pro-choicers will continually change their definition of "personhood" if you point out how their criteria eliminates newborns and includes animals. They'll then begin to conform their definition of "personhood" so that only the unborn fit into the non-personhood category. At that point, you can say, "Isn't it obvious that your criteria for "personhood" is wholly arbitrary? You're simply using the word 'personhood' and changing its definition as a way to discriminate against the unborn."

Anyone can come up with a definition of "personhood." There is no reason why anyone should accept the definitions brought forth by the pro-choice movement.

Pastor Boyd responds again

Pastor Boyd has again been kind enough to respond to my second e-mail to him regarding his position on abortion. The first e-mail I sent him, his reply, and my reply to him can be found here.

Serge at Imago Dei (a daily must read) has been kind enough to post a strong response to the thinking in Pastor Boyd's position paper. For some reason, blood red is Serge's color of choice for Boyd's writing.

Pastor Boyd's second response to me follows in italic. My future third e-mail to him will be in red.

"Thanks for the feedback David. My concern POLITICALLY is that the polis
is divided with no clear way to move ahead. It seems the polis is stuck
in polarized factions, not really talking or negiotiating with each
other -- and such "stuck" gridlocks a) aren't good for the common good;
b) result in abortions happening that the majority on BOTH sides wish
didn't happen; and c) could result in further violence. I'm afriad if
pro-life folks who are not pacificist get consistent with some of their
rhetoric (e.g. this is a "holocaust"), it could result in more violence
if not war. I believe if compromise is possible, building on present
agreements, it is preferrable."

First, note how Pastor Boyd has completely ignored my question as to why he abhors abortion. My guess is he knows why he abhors abortion. He knows abortion takes the life of innocent human being created in the image of God, yet can't bring himself to admit it. Maybe he knows his position in untenable or maybe he really hasn't yet thought thru why he abhors abortion and its logical implications.

Thank you for your response, Pastor Boyd. I appreciate your time. I'm still wondering why you abhor abortion? That question remains unanswered.

The polis might be divided but that doesn't mean there isn't any clear way to move ahead. Approximately 150 years ago, the country was divided over slavery. Does that mean that there wasn't a clear way to move ahead? Approximately 50 years ago, our country was divided over segregation. Does that mean that there wasn't a clear way to move ahead?

Compromise is only preferable if the compromise is a good one. If prolife groups compromise and agree that first trimester abortions (abortions you abhor) should remain legal, how is that a good thing? About 90% of all abortions are performed in the first trimester. Human beings created in the image of God would still be killed by the thousands everyday. Plus, pro-choice groups will never agree that abortions in the second and third trimester should be made illegal. My guess is most prolifers would like second and third trimester abortions to be banned as long as they could continue to work on making first trimester abortions illegal as well.

More violence? Do you mean the approximately 3,500 unborn children who are killed each day or the sporadic violent actions of a few who aren't associated with mainstream prolife groups? Abortion is either the greatest holocaust in the history of man or it is a routine surgical procedure with the same relevance as an appendectomy. It comes down to the question "What are the unborn?" If the unborn aren't human beings, then pro-choicers are right and abortion should be legal. However, doesn't it make sense to legally protect the unborn if they are living human beings?

"If reversing the END of "legal person" to constitute the beginning of
"legal personhood" (however this reversal be construed) isn't a starting
point for moving ahead, what might be? I for one am ALL EARS. If there
IS NO point where we can begin to build, and both sides remained locked
in their absolutist nonnegiotiating position, then there is no hope
until SoMEONE WINS. And that usually means WAR.

If you want to reverse the criteria for brain death to see if the unborn are living human beings, then you'd be in favor of giving legal rights to the unborn from the moment of conception. For more information on this, I suggest a piece by neurobiologist Maureen Condic which can be found at this website -

Plus, your position seems to assume that the position of both sides (pro-choice, prolife) is somehow equal. About 150 years ago, I could have used the same argument to try to stay "neutral" or "compromise" with regards to whether slavery should have been legal or not. As people who abhor abortion, we need to work not only to make abortion illegal but also to help women in unplanned pregnancies. We can do both. This is not an either/or situation.

I'm not certain what you mean by "WAR?" If you mean a physical battle involving tanks and guns, I don't see how that is possible. If you mean a battle for the hearts and minds of society where one side is diametrically opposed to the other, that battle has been going on for the last 30+ plus years. It will continue. Which side will you be on? The one that hopes to save unborn children and offers real choices to women in unplanned pregnancy or the side that sees nothing wrong with abortion, which calls human beings created in the image of God things like "uterine contents?"

"Politics is all about compromise. So how might both sides compromise,
at this present time, to move ahead? That's my concern. (And as I said,
in my view, the kingdom approach doesn't have to wait for ANY of this to
be resolved to do what it is called to do)."

Sometimes politics is about compromise. Other times it is not. Sometimes it is about one side being right and the other side being wrong. In this debate, one side thinks that it should be legal to intentionally kill an innocent human being. That's not something I will compromise on. Why are you? In the past few years, prolife organizations have worked to pass legislation that would limit abortion/protect women/help the unborn and pro-choice groups and pro-choice legislators like John Kerry have been strongly opposed to common sense legislation like the ban on partial birth abortion, Laci and Conner's Law, parental consent measures, informed consent measures which include 24 hour waiting periods, stopping tax dollars from paying for abortion. The list goes on and on and on. They aren't compromising in the slightest.

Thanks again for your response. I would still like to know why you abhor abortion.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

How Pro-Choicers Argue: Part Six

Intro, Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five

Hiding Behind False Positions

Pro-choicers often hide behind positions that don't prove their position correct even if their argument was correct. One common example is the hard cases of abortion like rape, incest, and fetal anomaly when dealing with the abortion debate. Pro-choicers attempt to act like prolifers are extremists by pretending to take a middle of road position when in reality they don't hold that position.

They appeal to emotion instead of truth. We all feel sorry for women who have been raped or children who are victims of incest or couples who just found out that their unborn child has some debilitating disease. But how do those circumstances justify killing innocent human beings? They don't.

Why should people that have been victimized by one human or nature be able to victimize another innocent human being? Can you think of one other circumstance in our society where someone who has been victimized can go out and legally and intentionally victimize someone else who wasn't their attacker.

That's like someone saying, "People who have had their car stolen should be allowed to legally beat up their neighbor" or "people whose houses have been destroyed by a tornado should be allowed to legally steal someone else's credit card."

Ardent abortion supporters usually either believe that abortion should be legal through six months of pregnancy or through all nine months of pregnancy and that abortion is a fundamental right. They don't believe that abortion should only be allowed in cases of rape or incest. They need to defend the view that abortion should be legal up to the point they want with logical arguments and facts not solely appeals to emotion.

One way to show that hard cases are just an attempt to divert the debate from the true issue is to say, "For the sake of this debate I'll accept that abortion should be legal in cases of rape. Can you now join me in opposing legal abortion in cases where the woman hasn't been raped which comprise a large majority of abortions?"

They will, of course, say no. Then prolifers should say, "But then why did you bring it up except to mislead us into thinking you only support abortion because women who've been raped shouldn't have to bear an attacker's child?"

Another example of hiding behind a position that isn't their position is when they attack the development of the early embryo/zygote. These positions usually try to prove that the early embryo isn't human being but most of the time these efforts don't make any attempt at all to try to prove that a fetus or older embryo isn't a human being.

Example: "Embryos aren't human beings because they can survive being frozen."

Example 2: "Embryos aren't whole human beings because they have the ability to twin."

Now besides assuming the position pro-choicers need to prove, pro-choicers who assert these arguments are also hiding behind a position that they don't really believe. Why? Because only very young embryos can survive being frozen or have the ability to twin while older embryos and fetuses cannot. So even if the criteria of not being able to survive being frozen or twin is what makes one a human being was correct then that criteria would make fetuses and older embryos into human beings. This is something that pro-choicer arguers obviously don't believe.

Pro-choicers need to show us why abortion should be legal through all nine months or six months of pregnancy to win the debate. That is what they believe. They can't get away with just trying to prove that early embryos aren't human beings.

On to Part Seven

"I'm Gonna be a Famous Singer Someday"

Ummm.. No, you're not.

"I can sing another song if you want me to."

Please no, I beg you.

Sonspot basically sums up some of my feelings on American Idol. Last night, my wife and I were mostly watching "Lost" but on commercials would flip to AI. I've seen all the bad singers before but I'm always amazed that after watching hundreds of people embarass themselves on national television and be ridiculed by Simon, there are still hundreds of people out there who think they're good singers when they can't hit a single note.

I really wonder if some of these people are paid by Fox to do this or are people who intentionally sing bad and cause a ruckus to get on national television. Or do these people have no one in their lives to sit them down and tell them, "You're a bad singer. Your voice is terrible. You shouldn't waste hours sitting in line to make a fool of yourself."

On Inauguration Day

I thought I'd link to one of the best sites ever (note the sarcasm): One Term President.

How well do you think this t-shirt design is selling now? Maybe some MoveOn.orgers or Michael Moore fans will wear theirs while they protest the inauguration. Or maybe they'll just sit in closets for an eternity.

More great One Term President products here. I should check out the local Salvation Army to see if any are available.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

How Pro-Choicers Argue: Part Five

Intro, Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four

Trying to take the middle ground/neutral position

Examples: "I'm personally opposed to abortion but I don't think it should be illegal."

"I would never have an abortion but I think women should be able to decide for themselves."

Abortion either takes the life of an innocent human being or it does not. It is either the worst holocaust in the history of man or it is a mere surgical procedure that has the same moral relevance as removing an appendix or a tumor. There is no gray here. There is no middle ground. This is black and white.

We need to ask these people why they would never have an abortion. What's so wrong with abortion so you would never want one?

Why are you personally opposed to abortion?

The only reason to be personally opposed to abortion is because abortion takes the life of an innocent human being. No other reason makes very much sense. If abortion doesn't take the life of an innocent human being then it wouldn't really be morally problematic?

People making these arguments, in some ways, recognize the humanity of the unborn. They recognize that abortion kills children but for some reason, be it society's permissiveness of abortion, a friend's personal experience or whatever, they think that killing unborn children should be legal.

Opening their eyes to this logical inconsistency is what you need to do by taking the spin off their statements.

They are focusing on the ability to make a choice instead of on what that choice does Their attention needs to be focused on what abortion does and what the choice to have an abortion does to the unborn.

If they answer your question to why they are personally opposed to abortion with a statement like "because abortion kills children" you need to respond with a calm statement like "let me get this right, you personally oppose abortion because abortion kills children but you think that killing children should remain legal?"

This will take the spin off their rhetoric and force them to either acknowledge that they think it is okay to kill children and they should be opposed to abortion or recognize that their position doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

On to Part Six

Boxer gets knocked out

Captain's Quarters is providing a knockout punch to Senator Barbara Boxer's statements during Condolezza Rice's confirmation hearing.

How can this woman be a Senator? Doesn't she have aides that could write better stuff than this? Maybe she needs some new aides.

La Shawn Barber has more.

Aramando at the liberal blog Daily Kos states, "Certainly Senator Barbara Boxer held Dr. Rice to account as she told us she would yesterday afternoon." Do you mean made a fool of herself to anyone willing to check?

He also has an interview with Boxer that has some more of her usual banter including:

"California and other states have filed a lawsuit against that law because it totally interferes with their rights to protect a woman's right to choose."

She's talking about this legislation which stops health care providers from being forced to perform abortions.

Boxer made some ridiculous claims back then:

"The provision could affect millions of American women, according to Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, who warned Friday that she would use procedural tactics to slow Senate business to a crawl if the language was not altered."

Here's old debate between Senator Santorum and Senator Boxer via New Covenant.

Hat tip: Between Two Worlds

The Opinion Journal has more on January 19. Including:

Ignorance is actually the more charitable explanation for Boxer's misrepresentation of the resolution's contents. If in fact she did read it, her own integrity is a matter of question.

And here's another apparent Boxer falsehood:

You never even mention indirectly the 1,366 American troops that have died. . . . And 25 percent of those dead are from my home state.

According to, the number of California servicemen who've died is 157, which is about 11.5% of the total, less than half the proportion Boxer claimed.

One Pastor's Erroneous Take on Abortion

JT at Between Two Worlds has been covering a story about a pastor of a large church in Minnesota. The senior pastor, Greg Boyd, was recently on a Christian radio show where he said he was disappointed that John Kerry lost the election and stated that he thought second and third trimester abortions should be made illegal but first trimester abortions should remain legal. The statement on abortion has seemed to spark the ire of a few people within his church. Greg has provided his abortion views on the church's web site here.

They have also posted a response from Lyle Larson, the church's Board of Overseers Chairperson.

I e-mailed Pastor Boyd a few questions. At first, I received the following automatic response and figured that's all I'd get.

"Thank you for your comment, question or concern. Due to the large number of e-mails he receives each day, Greg is no longer able to personally resond to each message. Also, your e-mail may be forwarded onto a more appropriate pastor or staff person for consideration. Thank you for your understanding and flexibility."

However, Pastor Boyd was kind enough to respond to my questions last night. My questions, his response and my return email will be below. My questions are numbered, Pastor Boyd's responses will be in italic, and I will respond after that.

1.) If abortion doesn't end the life of a human being created in the
image of God why do you abhor abortion, including first trimester
abortions? If abortion (in your opinion) does intentionally kill a
human being created in the image of God, why should it be legal? Are
you in favor of keeping/making other things that intentionally end the
life of an innocent human beings legal?

Greg: Do you think a person can abhor something only if they are sure it
is equivalent to the most abhorent thing -- killing a human being.
(actually, there are even more abhorrent things than this) Aren't there
levels to this?

Pastor Boyd completely dodges my questions and responds with a few of his own. My reponse will be, "I think someone can abhor something even if it isn't killing a human being. I abhor numerous evils such as rape, child abuse, torture, etc. that don't end the lives of innocent human beings. However, I asked you to explain why you abhor abortion. The only reason that makes sense to me as to why someone would abhor abortion is because abortion is an action that intentionally kills an innocent human being.

Someone might say that abortion hurts women physically and emotionally. While this is true, I would point out that football hurts people physically yet most people don't abhor football and that abortion hurts women emotionally because women who suffer emotionally after an abortion recognize that their action of abortion resulted in the death of their child, a human being created in the image of God. My previous questions still stand unanswered and I would honestly like to know (if you have the time) your answers to them."

2.) Since when does brain death have to do with "personhood" or levels
of "brainwaves?"

According to the Uniform Death Act (which defines death in legal codes
of states):

"1. For legal and medical purposes, a person is dead if he has
sustained an irreversible cessation of:

(a) Circulatory and respiratory functions; or

(b) All functions of his entire brain, including his brain stem."

Unborn children who are less the 3-months-old have not sustained an
irreversible cessation of all function of their entire brain, including
their brain stems. The way you presented brain death was either
intentionally deceptive or ignorant.

Greg: Perhaps. But the issue here isn't the end of personhood, but the
beginning of personhood. And you're right, no one I know of is
officially advocating reversing the criteria of loss of personhood to
make it the criteria for the beginning of personhood. Hence my
proposal. Perhaps if we did this we could bring the two polarized sides
closer together and work together to do what we all want: make abortion
as rare as opposite, and late abortions non-existent.

But you're equating the beginning of "personhood" with an incorrect view of the brain death. How is a living unborn child, who isn't brain dead by the definition provided above, a brain dead human being? I've pointed out that brainwaves have nothing to do with the definition of brain death. It is the "irreversible cessation of all functions of his entire brain, including his brain stem" which makes human beings dead. The Uniform Death Act also doesn't mean that a brain dead human being is a living human being that isn't a person. It means that they are a dead human being. The unborn aren't dead by any accurate biological definition.

By polarized sides, I'm guessing you don't mean those organization that advocate for abortion like Planned Parenthood and NARAL (as opposed to individuals who consider themselves pro-choice yet want to make abortion rare). Those organizations don't want to make abortion rare or make late term abortions non-existent.

3.) What happens at 11-12 weeks according to the neurologists you spoken
with that makes the unborn into living persons? I've personally never
heard one person claim that 11-12 weeks is when the unborn have a
certain level of brain activity that makes them "legal persons" by the
standard of the Uniform Death Act.

Greg: What happens between 11-12 weeks is, I am told (I'm no expert, I'm
going what others have told me) is that the level of electromagnetic
currents in the brain becomes higher than the threshold from "brain
dead". If you know that I'm wrong about this, please let me know.

You are wrong on this. As I wrote in my first e-mail, brain death doesn't have to do with electromagnetic currents in the brain - it has to do with the "irreversible cessation of all functions of his entire brain, including his brain stem." The unborn clearly do not fit into this category. I'm sorry if you've been misled on this but the criteria you've been given doesn't match up with what brain death really is.

BUT, finally, and more importantly David: I actually am far far more
invested in what the church can do to help make going full term feasible
for women than I am in how we I or anyone else resolves the difficult
issue of when exactly the unborn should be considered "legal persons."
I confess I don't have the certainty you and others seem to have that it
attains full personhood the moment of conception (if you infact believe
this). In the eyes of some, this makes me evil. But I'm just being
honest. Yet, I do nevertheless recognize the newly conceived zygote as
a marvelous, precious, creation of God. I may change my political
opinion about what is best for the polis (community) in the future
(politics). But I shall not change (I pray) my conviction that the
unborn child, and her mother, are worth sacrificing for and saving, if
at all possible.

I don't think you're evil. I strongly disagree with your position on abortion because to me it makes no logical sense. I have close friends who think abortion should remain legal. I don't think they are evil. I think that they have been misguided and their positions make no sense. I agree that the unborn child and her mother are worth sacrificing for. I also believe that the human zygote is a marvelous, precious, creation of God- made in His image and therefore deserves to be protected by law.

I think the legality of abortion has allowed both of our nations main political parties to sweep the enormous problem of unplanned pregnancy under the rug. Instead of supporting women and providing easy access to more resources that women in crisis pregnancies need, we've allowed legal abortion to "take care" of the problem. Instead of caring and providing for the women that need it most, we've allowed them to be pointed in the direction of someone who will take their $400 and the life of their unborn child, possibly scarring them forever. I hope that you change your position on abortion while at the same time continuing to work to help make going full term feasible for women in unplanned pregnancies.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Another Planned Parenthood cartoon

Planned Parenthood has another animated cartoon out. Bush is the manager of the "Gravel Rousers" (a team compromised of the Supreme Court justices). They are facing off against the "Roe Rangers" who aren't shown because presumably the viewer is supposed to want to join the "Roe Rangers" to stop Bush from packing the Supreme Court with right-wing idealogues who will overturn Roe and roll back a woman's right to choose.

The cartoon claims that the Gravel Rousers' "squad" is evenly split on the issue (Roe v. Wade). For one, you can't evenly split 9 people. That's just stupid. Second, it's just not true. Only 3 justices, Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas are opposed to the Roe ruling while 6 justices are in favor of keeping Roe on the books. That's a 2-1 ratio. Not quite "evenly split."

Are pro-choicers who visit this site that ignorant about the justices' views or do they know that Planned Parenthood is lying? If they know that Planned Parenthood is lying do they accept that lie as morally "ok" as long as it forwards their cause? Wouldn't it get tiring working for or supporting an organization that is continually dishonest?

These cartoons always have something funny though - this time I laughed when I saw that Anton Scalia has his hat on sideways like a little kid. Plus, I don't know how John Paul Stevens can play shortstop at the age of 84.

If I was doing this cartoon for Planned Parenthood, I wouldn't have put all the Supreme Court justices on the same team. It doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. Instead of the pro-choice justices (who should have been on the Roe Rangers) I would have put some prolife Senators and maybe the always dependable Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson.

How on Earth am I a top #1000 blogger?

I guess it is all about the blog rolls.

Truth Laid Bear has me currently ranked at #968 with 139 unique inbound links. My traffic is still small and dwindling but notice the rise in traffic after Senor Carter at Evangelical Outpost linked to my 10 reasons why to despise Planned Parenthood.

Big thanks to Joe for helping me attempt to break out of the evangelical ghetto. I'll just have to keep trying.

Embryology Quote of the Week #6

"Fertilization is a sequence of events that begins with the contact of a sperm (spermatozoon) with a secondary oocyte (ovum) and ends with the fusion of their pronuclei (the haploid nuclei of the sperm and ovum) and the mingling of their chromosomes to form a new cell. This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being."

[Moore, Keith L. Essentials of Human Embryology. Toronto: B.C. Decker Inc, 1988, p.2]

Previous quotes of the week here, here, here, here, and here

Monday, January 17, 2005

Prolife Blogger Power

Dawn Eden at The Dawn Patrol sponsored a contest to provide a caption over the link of a woman (presumably a NARAL employee) holding a sign stating "I Am Pro-Choice America" while talking on a phone.

Because of the contest, NARAL has taken down the photos and had a lawyer call her.

Congratulations to the winner.

I find it somewhat sad that NARAL thinks that having employees pose for pictures holding a "I Am Pro-Choice America" sign and encouraging other people to do the same and post those posters in their offices will somehow convince others that being pro-choice is either 1.) cool 2.) the majority viewpoint or 3.) the correct viewpoint.

How Pro-choicers Argue Part Four

Intro, Part One, Part Two, Part Three

Circular arguments

Circular arguments are somewhat similar to assuming the position you need to prove but slightly different. When pro-choicers use this tactic they argue in a circle instead of providing an actual reason for their beliefs. Instead of simplying asserting a belief that they need to prove, they respond to questions with other assertions that simply assume the previous assertion instead of providing reasoning.

Example 1:
Joe Choice: "The unborn may be humans in the biological sense but they're not persons?"

Joe Life: "What's the difference between humans in the biological sense and persons?"

Pro-choice answers to this question will vary. Some will say being born makes a human being into a person, others will say the lack viability (the unborn's inability to breathe by themselves) makes them non-persons, others will say some kind of brain function such as self-awareness, consciousness, etc. makes human beings into persons.

Joe Life might then ask, "Why should anyone accept your criteria for what a person is over anyone else's criteria say the criteria of someone who says that blacks aren't persons because of their skin color or the criteria of someone who says that women aren't persons because of their gender?"

Joe Choice will probably then say something like, "Because born humans are persons" or "because all persons have a certain level of mental functioning."

But this is a circular argument. Pro-choicers say the "unborn aren't persons because of their lack of mental functioning." Why does mental functioning matter? "Because persons have a certain level of mental functioning." They are using their premise to prove their conclusion and then using their conclusion to prove their premise.

This is no different from someone saying, "Women aren't persons because only males are persons."

Or someone saying that "African-American aren't persons." Why? "Because only humans with light skin are persons."

Example 2: "Fetuses are only potential persons/humans beings?"

Then what are they actually? If the unborn are a potential something they must also be an actual something as well because to exist and be a potential something means they exist and therefore must also be an actual something. So prolifers will ask, "What kind of being are the unborn actually?" Some pro-choicers will then say something like "Human fetuses."

This is no different from someone claiming that human infants are only potential persons/human beings. Then what are they actually? Human infants. This argument is completely circular.

People that argue in a circle never provide a principle reason to why we should accept their positions. Why? Because they don't have one.

On to Part Five

11 year old boy takes school bus for a drive

Maybe this is wrong of me but I find this story in the Grand Rapids Press to be kind of funny.

No one was physically injured, unless you count mail boxes and telephone polls.

This part below just seemed like something that would have been in one of those "Problem Child" movies with John Ritter and that kid with the red hair.

"He walked off the bus at the wrong stop on Melmax Road and ran up a driveway, pursued by the bus driver and transportation aide. The boy went inside a garage and locked himself inside until an occupant of the home opened the door and he ran out again.

He then climbed back onto the small bus and locked out the driver and aide, Babbitt said. The driver was trying to open the rear emergency door when the boy hit the gas."

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Report Is In

NARAL's state by state report card for access to abortion services is in. America has a D-. Too bad our country doesn't have an F. Every year, state prolife groups fight to have the lowest grade on NARAL's report card.

My home state, Michigan got an F and were ranked the 45th worst. Personally, I think we deserve at least 47th. We're better than those Buckeyes. I mean, come on NARAL we supposedly have a "near-total ban on abortion".

How is Kentucky 50th? In Americans United for Life's last report, Kentucky was 12th overall and got a B. I can see why Mississippi is down there on NARAL's report considering they only have one abortion clinic in the entire state.

Are there any Kentucky prolifers willing to state their case for the honor of being #50 on NARAL's report card?

How Pro-choicers Argue: Part Three - Assuming what they Need to Prove

Intro, Part One, Part Two

Assuming what they need to prove

One of the most common pro-choice tactics is that their arguments assume what they need to prove: principally, that the unborn aren't human beings. Their arguments assume that the unborn aren't human beings even though that is the exact thing that they need to/are trying to prove.

Pro-choicers need to prove that the unborn aren't human beings but instead of proving this using science or logic they argue like they've already proven the unborn aren't human. They make blanket assertions without providing any reasons or evidence to why you should accept these assertions.

For almost all of these arguments you can usually just replace the unborn with a newborn infant. If the argument doesn't work for a newborn infant then it doesn't work for the unborn. Pro-choice people must prove that the unborn aren't human beings not just assert it in their argument and act like you're going to accept their assertion.

1. "Every child should be a wanted child."
Some one could also say, "every infant should be a wanted infant." Does that mean that we should be able to kill infants that aren't wanted? What about the homeless? They, for the most part, are unwanted. Can we kill them? This argument assumes that the unborn aren't human beings because we all recognize that we can't kill innocent human beings solely because they aren't wanted.

2. "Women will be forced into dangerous, back alley abortions if abortion is made illegal."
This argument might be a good argument if the unborn weren't human beings and if legal abortion was a good thing but that's exactly what pro-choicers are trying to prove. Would anyone ever argue, "Thieves will be forced into dangerous armed robberies if they aren't allowed to pickpocket legally." This argument also says that because some women might break a law prohibiting abortion that abortion should be legal. Pretty much every law is broken. Should we repeal these laws too?

3. "A woman has a right to control her own body."
This argument assumes that the unborn is a part of a woman's body and no other human being is involved or would suffer consequences which is exactly what they need to prove.

4. "No one knows when life begins so abortion should remain legal."
This argument is actually a defacto way of assuming that life begins at birth. I couldn't kill a 2 year-old and say, "No one knows when life begins" and get away with it. Instead of proving that human life begins at birth which is what they're trying to do, pro-choice people argue like it is an established fact.

In the first few days after September 11th, rescue workers used their hands and buckets not bulldozers and cranes to clear the wreckage of the World Trade Center because no one was sure if there was life underneath the wreckage. If we're not sure if there is life shouldn't we find out before we destroy something that could be a living human being? Don't we make sure that there are no humans inside a building before we implode it? Why? For the sole reason that there is a possibility that there could be human life inside.

On to Part Four

"Suffering" ethics in the Netherlands

Evangelical Outpost reports on the Royal Dutch Medical Association decision that Dutch doctors ought to be able to kill patients (euthanasia, not assisted suicide) who are "suffering through living." The Supreme Court of the Netherlands had previously "upheld a guilty verdict on a GP for helping his 86 year old patient die, even though he was not technically ill but obsessed with his physical decline and hopeless existence."

Joe posts a quote from Jos Dijkhuis, an emeritus professor of clinical psychology who said, "In more than half of cases we considered, doctors were not confronted with a classifiable disease. In practice the medical domain of doctors is far broader … We see a doctor’s task is to reduce suffering, therefore we can’t exclude these cases in advance. We must now look further to see if we can draw a line and if so where." (emphasis added)

I always thought a doctor's task was to heal and care for patients, not kill them when they have no illness and then label it as "reduc(ing) suffering." It seems that many Dutch doctors fail to realize that killing patients doesn't "reduce suffering" - it ends lives, abandoning patients in their time of most need. It's a final desertion of someone who is reaching out for help.

From the British Medical Journal's extract: "The report argues that no reason can be given to exclude situations of such suffering from a doctor’s area of competence."

How about that doctors shouldn't have the right to kill whoever they feel is "suffering through living?" Who does that include? Teenagers who are depressed? How about the enormous possibility of abuse? Or how about the fact that doctors aren't God?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

More on the adult stem cells and paralysis

The Detroit Free Press has continued its series on a Michigan teen's trip to Portugal to have a stem cell transplant to help her spinal cord injury here.

The Detroit News has an editorial on the surgery here. For some reason they have to put a plug for embryonic stem cell research into their editorial and show how little they know about the subject with this paragraph:

"Critics of embryonic cell research may use success in this arena to suggest work with fetal cells is unnecessary. But scientists have said those cells hold even greater promise than the adult cells, and that work should be permitted. In any case, stem cell surgery should be allowed to advance its full potential."

Note to the News: Fetal cells are different from embryonic stem cells. Human embryonic stem cells come from human embryos. Human fetal cells come from human fetuses. Is there an editor in the house?

Why must you say that fetal cells have greater promise than adult cells when you're writing an editorial on how Portuguese scientists are using adult stem cells to help people with spinal cord injuries while no one has come anywhere close to doing that with fetal and/or embryonic stem cells? Sheesh.

How Pro-Choicers Argue: Part Two

Intro, Part One

Part Two: Using moral relativism as a crutch

"That's just your opinion"

"Why are you trying to force your views on us?"

Instead of coming up with logical or scientific arguments to show why the unborn aren't human beings many pro-choicers will try to ignore scientific evidence and try to shove prolife arguments aside by saying, "that's just your opinion."

This is moral relativism at its worst. It is also very lazy.

Moral relativism is a type of worldview that says, "there are no absolute truths" and that "everyone should be able to make up their own truth."

Many individual pro-choicers and pro-choice organizations use moral relativism as a crutch, to support themselves and their lack of logic and reasoned arguments based in science.

Example #1 - Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and Abortion: Finding Your Own Truth

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is a pro-choice organization that attempts to use religion as a way of proving that abortion should be legal.

On their web site they use to have a page called "Abortion: Finding Your Own Truth." This was a piece for women who might be considering abortion. Some quotes include:

"Your voice of Truth resides in a place within you that is wise and loving, and knows when you choose to honor it. When you step away from your Truth, experience the pain of self betrayal."

"To discover your own unique Truth, you will want to explore all aspects of the question you face, in light of the current circumstances of your life. You will also want to look into your heart to understand your beliefs and feel what is right for you."

"Choosing to honor your Truth is not an act of selfishness. It is an act of caring about yourself and about others."

"If honoring your Truth means choosing abortion, you may want to say goodbye to the pregnancy and send the spirit of that life on its way with love. (emphasis added)"

Example #2 - Planned Parenthood's Ask Dr. Cullins

Planned Parenthood, America's largest abortion provider, has a web site with a section where visitors can ask Dr. Vanessa Cullins (a board certified ob/gyn and one of Planned Parenthood's Vice-Presidents) questions.

One visitor asked, "My friend says that life begins when the egg and sperm join together. I say that it begins when a baby takes it first breath. Which of us is right?"

This person realizes that either she is right and her friend is wrong or her friend is right and she is wrong.

Dr. Cullins "corrects" this person's question by avoiding the issue.

"All kinds of people - theologians, philosophers, scientists, lawyers, legislators, and many others - hold very different views about when life begins."

"The really hot question is, ‘When does being a person begin?' Most medical authorities and Planned Parenthood agree that it starts when a baby takes its first breath."

Does this mean that Planned Parenthood wouldn't have a problem with killing born children whose umbilical cords haven't been cut and who haven't been hit on their bottoms yet? I wonder how many babies Dr. Cullins has delivered.

Most medical authorities? That's a lie. Which medical authorities have position papers on the begining of personhood?

Dr. Cullins continues, "Some of our oldest religions have changed their views about this question many times over the centuries. Today, some people sincerely believe that being a person begins when the egg is fertilized. Some, just as sincerely, believe that it begins with birth. And lots of other believe that it begins somewhere in between."

She concludes by saying, "It would be wrong to force her (a pregnant woman) to observe someone else's religious belief."

Dr. Cullins dodges the original question and then tries to answer another question using moral relativism as her doctrine and attacks anyone who would disagree with legal abortion because believing that human personhood starts at conception could supposedly only be a religious belief.

Instead of using evidence to prove that life doesn't begin at conception, pro-choicers try to avoid facts and logic. One great response to this kind of argument is to ask, "Am I wrong? Is it not true that abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being?" This is tough for a moral relativist because they can't say that something is completely right or wrong for everyone.

The moral relativist would probably say something to the effect of, "Well, it maybe true for you but not for me." Then you should say something like, "Well, if I think its okay to kill toddlers because I don't think they are human beings, then is it ok for me to kill toddlers?"

Subjective Claims vs. Objective Claims

When pro-choicers say that "It is just your opinion that human life begins at conception" they are confusing subjective claims with objective claims. Objective claims are claims that can be proved or disproved using objective evidence. For example, claiming that President George Bush weighs 175 pounds is an objective claim. We can put the President on a scale and if he weighs 175 pounds then the claim is correct but if weighs 178 pounds then the claim is wrong.

Subjective claims are claims where one person or a group of people express their opinions about something that is a personal preference. For example, claiming that President Bush is an attractive man is a preference claim. Some people may find the President to be attractive while others may not but either claim is a subjective claim because they cannot be proven using objective evidence. Another example of this is if I stated, "Halle Berry is more attractive than Charlize Theron." This statement can't be proven with evidence. It's personal preference.

Prolifers claim that abortion kills an innocent human being. This is an objective claim. Pro-choicers who argue this way ("That's just your opinion") are treating your claim like it's a subjective claim, saying that the matter of whether something is a living human being is a matter of opinion not fact.

However, this is not a prolife opinion or feeling. Prolifers aren't saying "Justin Timberlake is cuter than Brad Pitt." Or that "McDonald's fries are better than fries from Burger King." Whether or not abortion kills an innocent human being is a matter of being right and wrong, true or not true, not a matter of opinion.

Paper ripping example

If John Doe is ripping a piece of paper up and then Jane Roe sees John ripping the paper and accuses John of killing an innocent human being, how will John argue with Jane? Will he tell Jane that it is just "her opinion" that ripping paper kills an innocent human being. No, of course not. He will probably look at the piece of paper and say, "What are you talking about? This is a piece of paper, not a human being?" He would probably then commence to prove to Jane that a piece of paper is not a human being by inspecting another piece of paper, looking for signs of life such as growth, cellular division, energy use, etc. He could also try to extract DNA from the paper to see what kind of being it is or what kind of being it used to be by looking at its chromosomes. John could also try to figure out if the parents of the paper were human beings. The evidence would clearly show that the piece of paper was not a human being and Jane would be wrong.

Jane made an objective claim about the paper being a human being. She was either right or wrong. Prolifers are making an objective claim about the unborn being human beings. They are either right or wrong. Pro-choicers often use moral relativism as a crutch because they can't use science to prove that the unborn aren't human beings On the other hand, in my example John had no need to use moral relativism because he could easily prove that a piece of paper isn't a human being.

Either abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being or it does not. Just because someone refuses to accept the scientific reality that life begins at conception doesn't mean that abortion can be wrong for someone else but is okay for them.

On to Part Three