The two critical questions in the abortion debate are: 1. When does human life begin? and 2. When is it permissible for the state to sanction the taking of that human life? My answer to question 1. At the time of conception. Regarding question 2. The state, government, sanctions, even encourages, the taking of life in wars, law enforcement and self defense. Some states allow for capital punishment. Is it okay for the state to sanction the taking of a human life to protect the life of the mother, when the conception results from rape, when the child is likely to grow up disadvantaged, or merely for convenience?
I believe that many, and perhaps most, of those who support abortion know that all, or at least some, of those aborted are indeed human and duck the human issue question because they do not want to admit, out loud or to themselves, that at least in some cases they support abortion for convenience.
Understanding issues like this is part of our overall Revolution 2.0™ goal of creating better lives for ourselves, our communities and for America.
That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode. Please listen or watch on YouTube, like, subscribe, and comment.
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Now go there…:).
Steven Andrew Jacobs, JD, Northwestern Prizker school of law, and PhD from the University of Chicago published a paper titled, “Biologists’ Consensus on When Life Begins” Here are the key excerpts: “A sample of 5,502 biologists from 1,058 academic institutions assessed statements representing the biological view that a human’s life begins at fertilization.” “Overall, 95% of all biologists affirmed the biological view that a human’s life begins at fertilization (5212 out of 5502).”
This is a highly controversial subject, but it should not be. Using simple common sense, it becomes so very clear cut. In the United States alone, we perform over 600K abortions each and every year.
With that in mind, don’t we need to know exactly when life begins; I mean with great precision? Without being able to pinpoint the moment when life starts, we are clearly left with an agonizing gray area. As in the gray area when the fetus might be a life, and then again, it might not be. Is it a non-viable tissue mass or is it a human? In this gray area, aren’t we obligated to give the benefit of the doubt to the fetus, and treat it like a living human? We can’t be willing to abort a fetus if it might be a living human any more than we would fire a shotgun into a darkened room, not knowing if anyone was there or not. No sane person would even think about doing that.
Now that we know that we need a precise moment, what is that moment? Using trimesters as a standard does not give us that precise moment. Cutting the cord is a precise moment, but we clearly have a child by then, so that does not help. Is it when the entire baby emerges, or just the head? And if we call the baby fully emerging from the mother the test for the precise moment, what is so special about the feet? And how do you handle your thinking with breech babies and C-sections? The only precise moment in the whole process is conception. That’s when human life begins. You don’t need to be a biologist to see this, but it does help that biologists strongly support this conclusion.
Perhaps the more important question of when it is appropriate for the state to sanction the taking of a human life. Wars, law enforcement and self-defense are accepted examples.
Now, what about the taking of a life for economic purposes, or simply for convenience or personal preference, as in it would be a 20-year burden to have this child? Or because the child might be mentally challenged? Or the wrong sex? What about when it is highly likely that the child will grow up with few–if any–advantages, and be born into the middle of a drug-infested, gangbanger neighborhood? Is it OK to kill the child under any of these circumstances? Because that’s exactly what we are doing now. We don’t want this baby, so we pretend that it is not a human. And when we convince ourselves that a class of beings is not human, we have given ourselves permission to do anything we want with them. Blacks were not seen as human, so it was OK to enslave them. Jews were declared not human, so concentration camps and mass exterminations were OK. And now the issue is the child in the womb. If it is judged to be not human, it is OK to exterminate it. But as we have shown it is a child, and if we, as individuals or a society, want to do away with it, let’s at least say out loud what we are doing.
The inconvenient truth, with no apologies to Al Gore, is that we are taking a human life for convenience. We should be ashamed of our attempt at absolving ourselves of our crimes with the pretense that it was not human in the first place.
Most of us have a very hard time imagining the twisted logic and moral void that would have been required to have see either blacks or Jews as non-human–and then act on that belief. We revere the abolitionists and the occasional Holocaust savior like Oskar Schindler, while we despise the Nazis and hate the slave owners. But which are we; are we good guys or are we participating in evil? Even if we are not directly involved in abortions, we are participants in that we allow them to proceed. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” –Edmund Burke, Irish statesman and philosopher.
Forget the Supreme Court and Roe v Wade; this is not a legal question, it is a moral one. And, as with all laws, abortion laws should arise from morals–our moral compasses as we like to talk about here at Revolution 2.0™. We should not be aligning our morals to comply with current law.
The argument that, “A woman can do anything she wants with her own body,” does not hold up. First, if it is a child, and that is the clear case I am making here, it is not her body. It is a separate person with his or her own DNA. Second, a woman cannot do whatever she wants with her body any more than I can. She is not allowed to punch someone in the nose even if her fist is part of her body. And I cannot take what I want from a store without paying, even if I do that with my own body.
And what about a woman’s reproductive rights? She has 100% control over her reproductive rights, as does a man, until the moment she has a separate person growing inside her. N. B. Unless the health of the mother is at stake, abortion is not healthcare; it is convenience care.
Let’s be honest, starting with ourselves. All of us have a quiet place in our head where we go to tell ourselves the truth. I call it my Brown Study. If we go there, we will have to admit that at least some of the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed every year involve the taking of a human life for convenience. To be clear, the primary purpose of this episode is not to attack or support abortion. It is an episode about being completely honest about what we support or what we attack.
If we actively support, or simply allow, abortions for convenience, let’s stand up and say it out loud. Let’s not hide behind the, “That is not a human life,” fallacy. We know that at the very least in some cases, thousands of cases every year, it is a human life. And if we are okay with killing it, as we are in wars, in law enforcement and in self defense, then it is time to have the courage to add this to the conversaton about abortion.
President Clinton’s vision of abortion being, “Safe, legal and rare,” was not ideal, but it was tolerable. Today’s version, “Safe, legal, convenient, and free,” is just wrong. Mr. Clinton’s stated goal turned out not to be a vision, but the camel’s nose under the tent.
We all have the personal responsibility to say what we mean, and as the saying continues goes, and mean what we say. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Speaking of personal responsibility, this principle does not stand alone; the two main and interdependent principles at Revolution 2.0 are:
1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
Where do you stand? What are you going to do? Remember, it does not matter where you stand if you don’t do anything. You can start by subscribing to these episodes, and encouraging others to subscribe with you.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:1.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
This is Will Luden. We’ll talk again soon.
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This is a matter of belief. And I firmly believe that independent life begins when the baby takes its first breaths. And Will, that is not for the sake of “convenience.” I was once pregnant with an accidentally conceived embryo and had a legal abortion in my 20’s. Fifteen years later, I had a series of miscarriages and it taught me not to assume that a pregnancy meant a baby. Eventually, we had our two sons. Each one was, as the sign on my chart said, an “HDP” — a highly desired pregnancy. (I’m not sure why the nurses needed to know that, but it reminded me of the sign above my Granny’s hospital bed which said “VHOH” for “very hard of hearing.” Did they really need to treat me differently?) As for my friend Will, maybe only a woman can understand this issue. Because only a woman can form a child within her body. And he will just have to accept that.
Hi Ann, I am genuinely sorry that you had all of those issues, and more than delighted that you have your two sons. And Happy Mother’s Day! We disagree about this issue, and I am content to leave it there. When it comes to understanding the issue, if only a woman can understand, does that mean that only those who have been in the military can understand defense budget issues, and only those who have faced enemy fire can understand what is going on in Ukraine?
Further about the beginning of life being a belief rather than a fact —
Jewish tradition teaches that a nefesh, or a full-status life, begins at birth. Other religious traditions believe life begins at other stages.
More about how this is a matter of belief, specifically Christian belief, which is not shared by all Americans —
This comes from an Op-Ed in today’s SF Chronicle, which was written by a Rabbi so he refers to the Torah, which is what Christians call “The Old Testament” —
“In Exodus chapter 21:22, we see a clear statement that a fetus is not a person: “When men fight, and one of them pushes a pregnant woman and a miscarriage results, but no other damage ensues, the one responsible shall be fined.” This stands in sharp contrast with the next verse, which makes clear that if the pregnant person themselves is injured, then the punishment is “a life for a life, an eye for an eye.””
“The Torah [aka the Old Testament of the Bible] couldn’t be more explicit: A fetus is not the same as a human life.”
“The Talmud, a central religious Jewish text written over 1,400 years ago makes this even clearer by stating that “a fetus is considered part of a pregnant woman’s body, equivalent to their thigh.””
“Even earlier, we hear in the foundational legal text the Mishnah, a Jewish text written 1,800 years ago, that if a pregnant person is set to be executed, that execution should not be delayed unless the person is literally in labor, for the fetus is not an independent life until it can breathe on its own.”
“In a different section of the Mishnah we are told explicitly that if “a person is having trouble giving birth (and their life is in danger) they must abort the fetus, because existing life always comes before potential life.”
Finally, “This is what rabbis mean when we say that “access to abortion is a religious requirement for Jews.” Because there are situations where Judaism doesn’t just allow abortion. In fact, tradition requires abortion when the life of the pregnant person is threatened.”
Because of the need to separate Church and State, the laws of the United States should not be Christian laws.
Ann, please note that anyone who read, listened to or watched this episode would know that religion was never brought up, directly or indirectly.
Itís difficult to find educated people in this particular topic, however, you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks
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