Monday, October 4, 2010

40 Days, and the work of the devil

If you've ever wondered what the sounds of the voices of those condemned to spend eternity in Hell might sound like, you might read this. Better yet, don't. I'll just tell you about it: it's a post on a forum by a woman who is planning her upcoming abortion, and pages and pages of comments from people essentially saying "Attagirl!" and "You go!" and "It's no big deal--good for you!" and the like. Some of them are even offering to drive her to the clinic, or otherwise help her kill her child.

The young woman is seventeen weeks pregnant.

Just for reference, here is a picture of a fetus at about sixteen weeks of development. And here is a description of fetal development at seventeen weeks:

Week 17 How Big is the Baby at 17 Weeks Pregnant?
Your baby is 5.1 inches by pregnancy week 17 and weighs almost 5 ounces! If you were to hold your baby, she would fit snuggly in the palm of your hand.

Your Baby's Growth and Development
Your baby during week 17 is very mobile, gleefully moving his joints here, there and everywhere and he will continue to do so as you continue your pregnancy week by week. The cartilage making up the skeleton in your baby's body is starting to transform into bone. At 17 weeks, your baby should be hearing things. Your baby will start putting on some layers of fat in the weeks to come, though at this point in time, your baby is made up of primarily water.

You may be feeling your baby move intermittently after pregnancy week 17, though as your pregnancy progresses, you will likely start feeling your baby move more and more.

There are many natural health practitioners that believe in the power of touch. Though your little one is still very small, your touch may do much to help him feel safe and warm inside the womb. If you haven't started already, you might consider rubbing your 'pooch' in calming circular motions. This will not only help comfort your little one, but will help initiate the bonding process with you and your baby throughout your pregnancy and after.

Unless, of course, you're coldly planning her execution at your neighborhood abortion mill--the touch of surgical tools cutting off your baby's arms and legs and delivering her in shattered pieces can't be considered the sort of touch that will make your baby feel safe and warm, or loved, or like anything but garbage.

But that's the thing about abortion. It is hatred, plain and simple. Every woman who has ever aborted her baby must hate what is growing inside of her in order to do this terrible deed. I know that for many of these woman, that hatred comes from a place of great fear and a lack of trust in God and in humanity--at a time when the hormones of pregnancy make emotions rise to disproportionate levels. I also know that many, many women spend years in psychological pain and anguish, suffering the aftermath of having chosen to hate someone whom women instinctively love and protect: their own precious, unique, helpless children.

But there are so many others who must hate the child for the child to die: the Supreme Court justices who decided, in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, that the lives of children in the womb don't count or matter at all; the abortionists who betray the Hippocratic Oath and kill and hurt instead of saving and healing; the parents who insist that their daughter isn't going to "ruin her life" with a baby she didn't plan for; the friends who encourage the pregnant mother to "fix the problem" and move on, just as if the baby were a painful tooth needing extraction; the child's father who threatens to leave if she doesn't "take care of it," and last, but not least, the total strangers on the Internet telling a woman who is planning to kill her baby that it's all good, and hey, they're willing to help...

This kind of hatred, which finds murder a banal diversion and sees human beings as worthless trash, can only emanate from the devil. Abortion, as I've said before, is the ultimate act of iconoclasm, in which the image and likeness of Almighty God is shattered and destroyed in the tiniest and most innocent of all people. Only diabolical rage at humanity's continued existence and glorious destiny in the life that is to come could possibly be responsible for such grave and hideous acts of evil.


scotch meg said...

What is as bad - and sadder - than hatred, is ignorance. I spent eight years volunteering for Birthright, and surrounded by students. And for all those years, ignorance, often deliberately created by prochoice propaganda, surrounded me.

So many young women really, truly, did not know about fetal development. So many really, truly, did not know to think of their baby as a baby.

It was tragic.

You might think that this is deliberately ignoring the facts - but remember that so many come from prochoice backgrounds. Their families, teachers and doctors have already taught them the falsehood that they are just talking about a "choice" of what to do with their "own" bodies. They can hear the abortion propaganda. It's very hard for them to hear the truth - and I mean hard just to have it penetrate into their awareness.

For these young women, it is incredibly painful to awaken, at some point post-abortion, to the reality that they had a child who is now dead, and they are responsible. Even if they didn't know what they were doing, they are responsible for the action. This is how we get to the painful point of "I Regret My Abortion" and "Silent No More."

It is a great and terrible sadness. And it does not come from hatred.

MightyMighty said...

I was an idiot and looked at the page you linked to.

I feel so sad after seeing the terrifying lack of remorse amongst the various women who talked about their abortions as the right choice. For whom? Certainly not for your son or daughter.

Things like this remind me to vamp up my prayer life. When I worked at a pro-life law firm one summer, I remember being aware that nothing but divine intervention will help us outlaw abortion in this country. The evil is too great, too prevalent, and too easy.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Since it is well known that I am pro-choice, I thought I should read the referenced post before commenting on it. I did, and it does not resemble the description posted here.

In particular, it is not a cheering section, "you go girl," or anything like that. Just about everyone does accept that she'd made her decision, and they sympathize with the difficulty, fear, uncertainty that is involved.

There should be difficulty, fear, uncertainty -- certainly nobody should abort when everything seems fine. I was particularly taken by this observation:

If he is emotionally fit enough to knock you up he should be emotionally fit enough to support you through this.

True enough, and if he really loved her, she might even feel confident in having the baby. I don't sense hatred. I do sense an underlying assumption that what she is carrying in not a child.

That is the real sticking point in this debate. I just barely agree that at 17 weeks, there is not a child in her womb. I'm pretty well convinced that between week 20 and 23, there is a child, and of course any legal boundaries should err on the conservative side. Arms, legs, muscle reflexes, cartilage that will be bone a little later, do not make a human being. A nervous system with a self-aware cortex does, and 17 weeks is awfully close.

Incidentally, for all the propaganda citing "Doe v. Bolton," the Bolton case was dismissed for lack of standing. Only Roe resulted in any ruling on the merits. The Supreme Court justices didn't "decide" that "the lives of children in the womb don't count." They diligently searched all available legal precedent, and couldn't find a single one that EVER recognized a fetus prior to birth as a "person" protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. They would have had to make that up out of whole cloth.

The reference to "diabolical rage" is a twisted sort of narcissism. It amounts to "I could never do such a thing, therefore anyone who can must be evil." There are women who have proclaimed abortion a positive good and a free ride. This woman, and those who responded to her, say nothing of the kind. There is no good to be accomplished by "outlawing abortion." Win the heart and mind of each and every pregnant woman, and you will have won the entire battle. Short of that, no law will do much good, and may do much harm.

Susan Kehoe said...

I just feel tremendous sorrow for this poor young woman. She has bought into so of the lies that our post modern culture sells.

She is smart enough to be pursuing an engineering degree. Yet she is under the delusion that her boy friend, who refuses to man up,loves her.

Let us pray to our Blessed Mother that she is able to accept God's great love and mercy so that she will spare her pre-born child from death.

Susan Kehoe said...

That is "she has brought into so MANY of the lies....

c matt said...

Arms, legs, muscle reflexes, cartilage that will be bone a little later, do not make a human being. A nervous system with a self-aware cortex does, and 17 weeks is awfully close.

You are simply factually incorrect. A human sperm fertilizing a human egg make a human being. That is simple medical/biological fact. What you are referring to is the development of an already existing human being. If you are pro-choice, at least have the gonads to admit that what you are choosing to abort is in fact a human being.

The more philosophical concept of "person" does not require, under legal precedent, any sentience at all. A piece of paper stamped and filed away in the Secretary of State's office is a person under the law. It has no nervous system nor a self-aware cortex. In fact, it can do nothing except through others. What makes it a person under the law is its separateness from other persons - in fact, should the owner of this piece of paper not maintain the separateness between himself and his paper person, the law will no longer recognize it either. From the moment of conception, a separate human being exists from the mother (again, that is biological fact). Just because 5 robed imbeciles cannot see that does not change the reality. As the saying goes, if that is the law, then the law is an ass. And in this case, it is not just an ass, it is diabolically wrong.

Anonymous said...

Siarlys, a human being is a human being at every stage of life. Were you not human when you were a fertilized egg? You certainly were not a dog or an eelpout - which also begin life as fertilized egga and will never become human no matter how long they incubate. You were a newly conceived human, in perfectly normal condition for a human at that stage of life.

I am against outlawing abortion because I remember how many times illegal or home-abortions took the lives of pregnant women as well as the embryo/fetus. But I am not in favor of abortion at all and see no problem requiring a sonogram and a detailed description of the stage of development at the time of the pregnancy confirmation. Get each girl or woman a sonogram that shows the life inside the womb and then let her decide.

What are pro-choice people afraid of? If a woman sees the picture and then does not go ahead with "the procedure" how is that wrong? She changed her mind - so what?

I also believe that most Planned Parenthood supporters believe they are being compassionate. They are deluded and wrong, but not generally hateful, in my experience.


Anonymous said...

There is a gap of not understanding the difference that which Siarlys speaks of and the opinion of others, for which the tradition of beliefs provides a pledge of allegiance to those beliefs. That is simply the fact of the matter.

It is far easier to understand 'failure to thrive' from the point of view of the person that is failing to thrive, but what about the effect of emotional starvation and refusal to care for that biological process occurring on fertilization?

There is no one that can 'make' the mother of an unwanted 'fetus' properly provide adequate prenatal care. If, and when, that happens, than ALL fetuses have a right to life as human beings.

This is just one aspect of the 'right to life' stance that those of us with 'pro-choice' leanings believe in our hearts.

Perhaps no availability of choice and mandatory government support of parentally undesired births for whatever reason would result in less abortion measures, but to

Choosing death and choosing to end life of a viable fetus seem morally evil, but there are plenty of extenuating circumstances, so many so that no slogan covers all situations. One could only hope that a woman forced to deliver the products of conception would in time either learn to care for the baby, or that the baby would be cared for adequately by a surrogate mother, but providing the legality of criminal prosecution will not provide a more civilized society, until there is adequate support for all those born and for the unborn. A concept which unfortunately is not equally advocated in our culture.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

c matt, I've seen that argument before. It is partly a circular argument, and partly a deceptive one, often a self-deceptive one. First, you state that your premise is a biological fact. Because you have stated, as premise, not by proof, that it is a biological fact, therefore, no further argument is permissible. If you want to assert doctrine, be honest and call it doctrine. If you want to discuss science, support your hypothesis with data, not by playing self-serving word games.

I can best further respond to your flat assertion by answer anonymous.

Was I not a human being when I was a fertilized egg? I wasn't ever a fertilized egg. The fertilized egg you reference, was not me. It was a very important biological function in creating me, but it was not me. It did not cry. It did not feel. It did not have a name. It did not have blood or brain or tissue of any kind. It could easily have slipped out of my mother's uterus, if it happened to miss embedding itself in the wall. It would never have known what it missed. Neither would I. No doubt the first time a fertilized egg with one x and one y chromosome DID successfully embed in the uterine lining, the resulting offspring would have been named after my grandfather, as I was. That would have been, for all my parents would ever know, ME.

Now here is where the semantic manipulation comes in: there is no question that a human zygote is a HUMAN zygote, as distinct from a giraffe zygote, a fish zygote, a chimpanzee zygote, or a rabbit zygote. But it is not a human being, it is not a baby. It is a zygote.

Tollefson is quite adamant that the oaks and acorn analogy is misapplied. I think it is quite appropriate. An acorn is indeed an oak seed, not a maple seed, but thousands of acorns are scattered on the ground to rot, for every one that grows into an oak.

(Erin's most recent post is, perhaps, the most poignant counter-argument. I intend to speak to it -- I would hardly have any integrity if I avoided it -- but when I first read it, I decided I should not rush in to be the first to respond. I'm waiting for other viewpoints to have the first opportunity).

Rebecca in CA said...

Elizabeth, are you aware that many, many more women now are killed and injured by legal abortion, than were ever killed or injured through illegal abortions? Are you aware that Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the witnesses who testified in Roe v. Wade, later admitted that he and colleages simply made up a ridiculous number, which did not reflect the reality at all? And he is amazed to find that the media still quote this made-up number as though it were established fact.

KC said...

That's so sad.

c matt said...

First, you state that your premise is a biological fact. Because you have stated, as premise, not by proof, that it is a biological fact

I state it as such because it is biological fact. Any number of texts on embryology will confirm it for you (not to mention most 8th grade biology texts). You, on the other hand, simply dismiss the indisputable fact because, to paraphrase another pro-choice advocate, it is an inconvenient truth.

The fertilized egg you reference, was not me.

Then who was it? were you somehow switched with someone else in utero? Did the fertilized egg that was not you contain a different set of DNA from yours?

I understand why you refuse to accept the indisputable - it forces you to abandon your pro-choice position, or admit you are ok with women choosing to kill their children. At least be honest about it.

It could easily have slipped out of my mother's uterus, if it happened to miss embedding itself in the wall.

Which then means, by your own admission, you would not exist - someone else would. With a different set of DNA, different face, different eyes, etc. Or are you saying that you are only your name? A blond haired blue-eyed 5ft 6in female you with medium skin tone and an innate ability for math is the exact same you as a brown-haired brown eyed 6ft 1in male you with light skin and an innate ability for writing?

Talk about making assertions with absolutely no factual (or rational) backup!

c matt said...

Here's a good site for basic embryology overview from a group of Swiss universities.

Note that the unique human being (the embryonic entity) starts with fertilzation - from there on out it is just cell division and differentiation - no new entity is incorporated and development continues self-directed.

Now where is your evidence that a new entity is incorporated (your assertion without any proof) somehwere down the line that becomes "you"?

Nicole said...

"Hatred" is a big, fiery word that can sometimes be used to describe pro-abortion/pro-choice activity and attitudes, but I do not think it's the best description of the commenters of the linked post, unless perhaps you wish to describe the self-hatred that causes such reactions. The people there seem to be typically egocentric, and therefore hardened to anything that contradicts their own gratification, comfort, and high opinion of themselves. Deep down they hate themselves for it. So they are struggling to justify themselves and do the right thing but so, so woefully misled about what that is--their moral compass is not simply broken but purposefully distorted, and here is where I get to the two thoughts of Erin's post with which I wholeheartedly agree. This willfully blind, murderous culture emanates from the devil's hatred of mankind. Reading this string of comments reminded me of noting so much as the hellbound crowd in The Great Divorce.

Anonymous said...

I recently read that a newborn human has only 25% of an adult human brain. In essence, newborn is mostly a bundle of nerve endings encased in a soft skeleton with a skin and some organs.

Barely sounds human.

Should parents have the right to "terminate" a newborn? Peter Singer seems to think so. He thinks parents should have up to a year to decide whether or not a child lives.

Why only a year? Why not a lifetime, like the Romans gave parents to decide if their child should live?

Maybe one needs 50% or 65% of a brain to be human? At what percentage of development are we developed enough to be human?

The more I ponder this, the more amazed I am that I ever though abortion was a "right" in any case but those fairly rare ones (in our society, at least) in which a mother is facing her own demise if a pregnancy is continued. And even then, a birth can be induced and the "products of conception" can get medical care in hopes of increasing the survival odds.


Nameless Cynic said...

Wow. You do seem to feel that you're superior to those "sinners" on reddit. Without knowing their life stories, without any knowledge about them other than a 20-word-or-so response in a blog post.

I seem to recall that Pride is ranked among the Seven Deadly Sins.

(Kind of a shame that Willful Ignorance isn't, though.)

Oh, and permit me to introduce you to somebody who takes apart your post much better that I.

Nameless Cynic said...

Incidentally, Elizabeth,

Why only a year? Why not a lifetime, like the Romans gave parents to decide if their child should live?

Well, a year might be a trifle excessive, but when does the Bible say that life begins?

all throughout the Bible, "life" is equated with "breath." In Genesis 2:7, it says "the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." So you could take that to read that life begins when the baby takes its first breath.

Alternatively, in Leviticus 27:6, the Lord tells Moses how much people are worth, to establish the tithe, and children aren't worth anything until they're a month old (anything younger apparently has no value). In the same way, the Lord told Moses to count the "Levites" (Jews) in Numbers 3:15, but not to count anybody less than a month old. So apparently the baby isn't even human until then.

Red Cardigan said...

Oh, Nameless Cynic, you don't have to introduce me to the "Forever in Hell" blogger--I've been "featured" over there before. :) I always find the experience supremely amusing, I'm afraid.

And I don't know where you get that I'm judging anybody's *souls,* which is what we're not supposed to do. Actions are another story. Abortion is the direct and intentional killing of an innocent human during her prenatal existence. You can sugar-coat that all you like, but it's pretty damned (literally) hateful. Not to mention mean.

But then, you're apparently arguing that we ought to be able to kill one-month-olds, so I can't take your notions of morality seriously.

Red Cardigan said...

Oh, and having now read the "Forever in Hell" blogger's post, let me ask something: if somebody's husband was having problems, and she thought she could protect her older two children by dismembering her six-month-old and burying her in the backyard, is that "love" too? Or is it only "love" to kill the babies you can't yet hold?

Quasar said...

It's a very human thing to draw lines in the sand.

We don't want there to be ambiguity or shades of grey: the world is so much... easier when everything is black and white, good and evil, isn't it?

So when we see a slow process, of one thing changing into another thing, we want to draw a line. We want to say: this is an oak sapling growing from an acorn, this is an oak tree, and this [draws line] is when it stops being one and becomes the other.

Some people draw the line right up one end of the spectrum: the acorn is an oak tree. Most people draw the line somewhere in the middle. The nut becomes a tree when it cracks open, or when it pushes a leaf above the surface, or when it reaches a certain height, or after it's first year. A very small number consider a fully-grown oak-tree to be worth as much as the acorns, that wither or are eaten without ever sprouting.

And you know what? They're all wrong.

There is no line.

An acorn is an acorn, an oak tree is an oak tree. A zygote is a zygote, a human baby is a human baby. And in between? They're neither: they're something in between.

Killing a small group of cells that if left for another 9 months will probably develop into a human baby is still killing a small group of cells, and should be treated as such.

Killing a developing embryo that is showing signs of life, but not consiousness, is killing a developing human creature that can't feel or respond, and should be treated as such.

Killing a fully developed human baby is killing a fully developed human baby, and should be treated as such.

But don't try to tell me the small group of cells is equivilent to the life of a human baby, and don't you bloody well dare try telling me that the innocent woman, concerned for her safety and wellbeing, and the safety and wellbeing of her children, making quite possibly the hardest decision of her life out of a horrible necessity, is the equivilent of a psychopathic child murderer.

Because if your determination to see the world in black and white has so blinded you to the possible motivations of those you belittle and demonize, if you are truly so incapable of the slightest empathy that you won't even give thought to the reasons actual people might make this terrifying choise, if you have willfully chosen to turn to ignorance and hatefully assume the worst of innocents... then the women having abortions aren't the true evil here.

Satan comes in the robes of the Godly, decieving all in his wake.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

cmatt, if you're still checking in here, the answer to "who was that zygote if it wasn't you" is very simple: it wasn't a "who" at all. It wasn't anybody. You might as well ask "who" all the unfertilized eggs that pass out of a woman's body each month were, or are, or would have been, or the millions of sperm that never got a chance to fertilize an egg.

We are the products of a very ruthless and indifferent biological process. The process isn't much different for salmon - very few of whom make it to adulthood and spawn, or chimpanzees. However, the end product is a human being, a unique being, quite probably a unique hybrid of animal and spirit, as C.S. Lewis backhandedly describes in The Screwtape Letters.

I don't need to check out your link. I have read the best arguments available from a very competent microbiologist. It was this very subject that made it impossible for me to continue discussions with Dr. Gerard Nadal, because be insisted on the same point you do. I said to him, and I say in response to your repeated assertions, that there is a huge difference between asserting that a human zygote is not a giraffe zygote, and asserting that a human zygote is a baby.

You blithely refer to "any eighth grade biology text book." I know the kind of phrases you refer to. Dr. Nadal is nothing if not thorough in finding and presenting such statements. All of them are true, and none of them sustain the premise that you, and he, have offered them to prove. Your tautology needs more than the assertion that "I say it is true because it is true." Dr. Nadal is not only a skilled microbiologist, he is also a faithful son of the Roman Catholic Church, literally and sincerely. He would never find any conclusion in the evidence which contradicted the moral precepts of the Magisterium.

Science does not, in any objective sense, sustain the pro-choice argument. It also does not sustain, as an irrefutable factual finding, the pro-life argument. It has become fashionable for anyone with a point of view that looks better if it is called scientific to claim the mantle of science. This is sad, because it only adds weight to the false presumption that science has all the answers. Even the church tries to scientifically prove what, if true, needs no such backing.

Your arguments are far more poignant, and a much closer call, than the absurdity of "creation science" and "intelligent design." But your position is scientific fact only in the minds of those predisposed to a pro-life position when examining the evidence.

Why only a year? Why not a lifetime? There is a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. A Roman child condemned to death by its father, or grandfather, or whoever the family patriarch might be, knew he or she was condemned to die, could question why, resent it, even try (usually ineffectually) to escape. A baby may not possess speech, but it can feel pain, it can know its life is ending, it can resist. Three layers of tissue cannot. Even a three-inch embryo cannot.

The most effective caution, in my mind, is not genetic identity, but reports that ultrasounds of late-term abortions show the fetus moving to evade a probe. Now that is something that needs to be looked into very thoroughly.

Red Cardigan said...

Quasar, Satan doesn't have to bother with the robes of the Godly; the robes of those whose hearts are hardened toward evil are sufficient.

Abortion is evil. You may not want to see it, but it is. The human embryo, the human fetus, the human neonate, the human infant, the human toddler, the human teen--all are the same person, with the addition only of a few months and a few meals. When you kill the embryo you have forever killed a unique human individual, who would have had sandy-brown hair and blue eyes and a cheerful, laughing personality. He's just gone--and if you stomp on an acorn, that particular tree won't ever grow, either. The difference is that people have a greater intrinsic worth than trees, and a much greater individuality.

If you destroy the eggs of a bald eagle, you must pay a fine of $5000 (and you could spend a year in jail). The fine is the same if you kill an adult eagle. Why? If the eagle chick embryo inside the egg is nothing, why should anyone care if the eggs are destroyed? The law recognizes that if the eagle embryo is *not* interfered with, she will hatch in due time and take her place in the eagle community. And if you don't interfere with that human embryo, she is overwhelmingly likely to be born. But if you kill her--why, then, a unique human being is gone forever, just as if you smashed the eagle's egg a particular eagle is gone forever.

Siarlys, a human zygote is a specific, genetically distinct human being. She already contains the genetic coding that will, in a very short time, reveal her gender, her eventual hair and eye color, whether she will be gifted at music or an athlete or a poet--it's all there already, just as these characteristics were present when you implanted in the uterine wall of your mother's womb. Yes, that zygote was you--the only things added from that point on, beyond the initial burst of cellular division, have been some years and some food.

We don't always like to think this. But in the amazing DNA structure of each of us, everything that *is* us was already there. Time, experiences, education, etc. have all added to or enhanced those qualities, but I wouldn't be a writer if the capacity for it hadn't existed somewhere in the DNA coding responsible for my brain's verbal abilities. We say about people's talents, "Oh, he/she was born that way!" but we certainly don't mean that the person acquired his or her talents on his or her way down his or her mother's birth canal--we are speaking of the unique genetic reality of each of us, which was, indeed, present from the moment the human egg cell and human sperm cell first united.

Anonymous said...

Nameless Cynic:

Proof-texting the Bible to prove your point? Please. FWIW, I'm not only NOT a Biblical literalist, I'm not even Christian, so those arguments don't mean a thing to me.

Buddhist heart practices changed my sense of the "right" to kill an embryo. I can't even bring myself to kill insects except when absolutely necessary (carpenter ants could destroy the house). Even then it is a sorrow, and I do not feel justified at all.


Nameless Cynic said...

Well, now, I'm not the one saying you should kill one-month-olds. That's the Bible. You know, the Holy Writ, breathed out by God?

(Personally, I think that retroactive abortions should be available until age 20 in some cases, but people tell me I overreact.)

Your problem is, the Bible doesn't actually say that abortion is bad. That's people, trying to crowbar their opinions into the Bible. The only way to argue that the Bible is opposed to abortion involves intentional misreading and tying yourself up in theosophical knots.

Nameless Cynic said...


OK, fine. Gone pacifist, have you? Enjoy your roaches, I guess...

Your concept of inducing a birth when the mother's life is endangered is cute. Naive, but cute. Where do you draw the line? Babies have been born at twenty weeks. Not that they weren't faced with huge "birth" defects. How many millions of dollars are you willing to waste on a vaguely-viable fetus?

And make that "tax dollars," by the way, because you cannot legislate making a parent go broke trying to keep a blastocyst alive.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

As far as Leviticus goes, I have it on good authority from an Orthodox rabbi that when Leviticus was written, death in the first month after childbirth was so common that babies weren't counted until they had survived it. He also tells me that abortion was prohibited unless the mother's life was in danger, in which case, it is mandatory. It is not, in Jewish tradition (and therefore, in Old Testament meaning) murder, but it is bloodshed, and therefore, as he puts it, forbidden to gentiles who are NOT bound by the 613 Mitzvoth, as well as to Jews, who are.

Obviously we could all find something to quibble about in that, but if we're going to cite Biblical references, we should be complete and thorough.

As to genetic identity Erin, we're at an impasse, so I won't argue further. I know you passionately believe exactly what you said. I don't recognize the unique chemical blueprint as a human being, until the organism, the inter-related system of organs, which that blueprint is indeed coded for has grown into being. Epistemologically, you have a good argument.

Nameless Cynic said...

It is not, in Jewish tradition (and therefore, in Old Testament meaning) murder, but it is bloodshed, and therefore, as he puts it, forbidden to gentiles who are NOT bound by the 613 Mitzvoth, as well as to Jews, who are.

Oh, yes. Absolutely. Bloodshed is bad. Abortion is always bad.

Except when it isn't.

In Genesis 38:24, there's a pregnant woman convicted of prostitution. Though the leaders of Israel knew the woman was carrying a fetus, they still decided to burn her. Why does the fetus have to die for the mother's crimes?

And apparently, abortion is quite all right if it's performed on somebody you don't like, during wartime, or on someone who disagrees with your religion.

At that time Menahem, starting out from Tirzah, attacked Tiphsah and everyone in the city and its vicinity, because they refused to open their gates. He sacked Tiphsah and ripped open all the pregnant women. (2 Kings 15:16)

Give them, O LORD—
what will you give them?
Give them wombs that miscarry
and breasts that are dry.

(Hosea 9:14)

The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open. (Hosea 13:16)

Red Cardigan said...

You know, Nameless Cynic, I'm neither Jewish, nor is this a "sola scriptura" blog. So I don't know what you think you're accomplishing by your proof-texting and random Bible-quote slinging.

As a Catholic I accept both Scripture and Tradition as my bases for my moral principles. There is a link in my sidebar titled "The Church Has Always Taught That Abortion is Morally Evil." I recommend you check that out, for the origins of the Church's pro-life views.

But as a human being, my desire to protect the lives of other human beings is not just a religious belief. Do you believe the disabled, the elderly suffering from dementia, coma victims etc. should be killed? Some do, under the same criteria as abortion (e.g., the victim's "personhood" status is revoked because the victim is unaware and/or unconscious). But there are plenty of people in our society willing to say that not killing infants, or not killing the elderly or disabled, is just "religious" sentiment, and that a truly scientific society would have no problems ending the lives of its "inferior" members.

Perhaps you share this view. It wouldn't surprise me, given your other postings on this thread.

Nameless Cynic said...

Aww, Erin, aren't you cute? All people who aren't 100% opposed to abortion must hate themselves and the child inside them. Anybody who disagrees with me must be intent on murdering the sick and infirm.

Does that make it easier to live in your unhappy little world? By demonizing everybody who doesn't follow your narrow guidelines? "They aren't like me, so they must be Evil."

I'm opposed to hypocrisy. Like that one. Or like your fully-church supported hypocrisy.

"But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men." (Matthew 15:9)

Well, try it this way. From what I can tell by pingponging through your blog, you're opposed to Healthcare Reform, and will remain so as long as there's the breath of a chance that it will ever allow a non-viable fetus to fail to come to term. (Please note: mild exaggeration for comic effect.)

In the meantime, that means you're supporting the current system, under which, every year, ALREADY-BORN people (for example, those you just mentioned) suffer in pain or die because they can't afford even the minimal healthcare it would take to alleviate their symptoms. The elderly and the mentally deficient, unable to support themselves, linger on in sub-par facilities to eventually die of neglect, because you're focused on preventing the termination of a fetus with minimal brain activity.

You support the continued torment of self-aware, fully-cognizant people, most with the mental acuity to understand the pain and frustration they're going through, because you don't really care about them AFTER they're born.

I find great irony in you claiming to oppose torture, when you support this passive-aggressive form of it.

Red Cardigan said...

NC, I don't oppose healthcare reform. I oppose the Obamacare plan, sure, because it's going to raise costs for lots of people while failing to extend coverage to lots more (what, suddenly illegal immigrants don't deserve to have their basic needs met?) without improving the systemic problems re: access to health care which it utterly fails to address--oh, AND it will pay for abortions.

And that, by the way, is the opinion of a growing number of vocal Democrats who just found out how much their health insurance is going up, not just of people on the political right (well, except for the concerns about paid abortions).

Sane, sensible health-care (not merely insurance) reform that would take care of the people in the situations you describe? I'm all for it--as I am also for charitable initiatives to alleviate their sufferings now.

Plans that merely make the government bigger while paying for (what must be to those of you who don't think it kills anyone) the reproductive equivalent of a cosmetic procedure? Nope.

Nameless Cynic said...

All of which shows that you rely on Fox News for your estimates on healthcare costs. Taxes go down - the problem is that Obama, trying to be bipartisan with a blatantly partisan Congress, took out the public option.

On the other hand, if insurance companies continue to game the system in their continuing quests for ever-higher CEO salaries, that may be next. (And will still save us money, incidentally.)

Red Cardigan said...

Actually, NC, I don't watch Fox News (don't have cable). My info comes from places like this:

and this:

and this:

That final link says health care costs will come down--in ten years. But possibly not for average consumers. It's still unclear.

Anyway, the truth is, I'm not that much of a partisan. I don't vote exclusively for Republicans and I would like to see some sanity in our health care system. I just don't happen to think that the present plan does that--it's just a whole new level of crazy.

I'm guessing that you might be more of a partisan than I am, though, since you had a knee-jerk presumption that any negativity about Obamacare had to be coming from GOP shills in the media. You might consider looking around--there are lots of people on both sides of the political aisle who are deeply concerned about how this will play out.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

The bottom line for me in the health care reform bill we have, is that I presently have no medical coverage (it disappeared with my last full time job in July 2009), but in 2014 I will be covered again.

I would probably agree with Erin in most of her criticisms, if we sat down for an afternoon to go over them point by point. I do, however, think the law we have is better than none. I do think that most of the congressional voices ruthlessly trying to derail the health care bill are accountable for it being such a mess. They could have participated in making it more comprehensive and more flexible.

Also, President Obama could have been more hands on, and worked to develop a series of specific bills, rather than one big horse-traded omnibus. On any one individual controversy, a substantial majority is usually available. On a whole series of controversies wrapped in a big package, there is generally a majority that is opposed for SOME reason.

Finally, it doesn't pay for abortion. It is structured in a tortuously complex way so that Erin's tax money doesn't pay for someone's abortion, but someone who wants to pay for coverage of abortion is not barred from doing so by Erin's scruples.

I'm not sure why any insurance company would cover abortions. It costs what it costs. If a woman wants the coverage, she is probably going to have the procedure one or more times. So, the premiums have to at least equal the cost. That's not what insurance is about. TANSTAAFL.

Nameless Cynic said...

Reason Magazine is a publication of the Reason Foundation, a libertarian foundation dedicated to the concepts of privatization and smaller government. So, you know, agenda.

Bloomberg and the Fiscal Times support business, privatization and the like - so, again, agenda.

You know you could go to the source, right? The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office.

As opposed to people who start out opposed to the idea in the first place.

Red Cardigan said...

NC, I reject the idea that any source not left-leaning is therefore suspect; you're terribly closed-minded, I'm afraid.

However, since you bring up the CBO, you have, of course, read the analysis of premiums from Nov. of last year on their main healthcare page? The one which says, well, yes, lots of people are going to pay more for their insurance, but more people will have insurance so it's all good?

Somehow a lot of Americans who already had health insurance missed the part about paying more for insurance (and having higher deductibles, higher out-of-pocket costs, etc.) when the plan was being discussed. In fact, a lot of working families thought they'd be getting *more* coverage for *less* money, when for a lot of us it's going to be the exact opposite.

Red Cardigan said...

And this thread has gotten pretty far off topic--I may not get back to it until Monday.

Nameless Cynic said...

Fascinating. I point out the open bias in your three choices of media, and your response is "I reject the idea that any source not left-leaning is therefore suspect; you're terribly closed-minded"

Wow. Think about that for a second.

But OK, you want to get back on topic. Here. Let me help.

You're a Catholic. The Bible, your Holy Writ, breathed out by God, supports abortion. Many church fathers do not, and have not.

"But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men." (Matthew 15:9)