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Saturday, July 21, 2007


Ed Hanks


Thank you for your thoughtful and measured response!

Many of these are things that I have considered, and decided in my own mind, in the past. It's something I've thought quite a bit about, over the years, and my beliefs on abortion have changed according to batting these issues back and forth. Ultimately, they brought me to the conclusion that the right to life must be paramount, and that the right to convenience (i.e. a supposed right to control ones' own body, even when another person is affected by that decision) cannot be substantiated.

For instance -- re: your "calculated" argument regarding the "net good" of comparing one person's (the child) rights versus another person's (the mother) rights to not be bothered by having to raise a child.

I will posit -- what if you have a child who has been orphaned and abused, such that society must take care of them and they are incapable of taking care of themselves. Should society, then, provide them with a slave to take care of them for life?

But, you say, we don't have to do that because we can just pay for a servant to do the same thing. However, I argue, that would be missing the point. By proposing that one person's life/personhood be subsumed to the rights of another to be cared for or comforted, that constructs a proper analogy between the convenience of the child/mother. If we propose to infringe another person's personhood to take care of another person, that is the only analogy that holds. Slavery, then, for the betterment of society?

Secondly, as to the war's importance vs. abortion. First, I would never vote for someone who wasn't good on both issues. For instance, many people I know like Ron Paul, who is strictly pro-life, but who wants to bring our troops home from all overseas bases -- a position I regard as insane. Winning the war is important -- VERY important! But consider...

There were, historically, many Germans who compromised their morals to support Hitler, because they believed that no matter how bad he was, he was the best way to challenge the increasing threat from within and from without (the USSR) of socialism and communism. They might prefer a more moderate democracy, but if that construct was insufficient to protect them from the Red Menace, it was not enough. They chose to support Hitler.

So what did they achieve, in the end? By compromising their morals in fear of what they perceived as a larger danger, their government and country were destroyed, and 6 million Jews (and 300 million others) died for it. Surely that had to include nearly 100 million Germans.

In Mark 8, the Bible asks, (36) What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

And I'm not one who generally uses the Bible to argue on the point of abortion. I'm a former secularist, myself, and I held pro-life views (if inexact) even as an atheist. There are plenty of secular ethical arguments to protect the right to life from fertilization to natural death. But, in the end, morality must come from God. Morality absent from God is always going to be imperfect because man is imperfect and our "personal morality" is relative and changing.

I appreciate that you're not adverse to a constitutional amendment to support the personhood of the child, as that is the way we must go on this issue.

In fact, there are many pro-life organizations and leaders today who have not yet grasped what you have!


AL Hurd

Ed, I must admit the Nazi analogy is rather off the mark (and somewhat silly to try and utilize in an argument about the United States.) My usual rule of thumb is the moment the words "Nazi" or "Hitler" enters a conversation, it is over and the person using those words loses. Thus in order to address the substance of your latest comments, I'd best leave any response to that out. ;)

As for the other portion dealing with "slaves" - any parent is in effect a slave to their child in that certain things must be done (whether one likes it or not) in order to raise the child effectively. This, however, is insufficient to ensure the child becomes a healthy and useful member of society. Again, there is more to this than simply the life of the child (and thus the right to life of said child.)

In the end, however, it remains a personal issue. One that cannot be dictated by society but rather suggested by morality and ethics that a person hopefully derives from the Almighty. While my own belief (and yours) sits easily with the definition of what constitutes a child and living person/human being, society apparently disagrees to some point, at least as far as making laws about such. Instead, we have a de facto law handed down from on high. Either way that decision works is unacceptable because it is unconstitutional.

However, once (and if) such court "law" is rescinded, the thought of what is involved in the process of abortion will remain in the public conscience and will continue to be something only answerable to each human being in time. Laws can certainly be made to address the issue, but I remain uncomfortable with Federal law entering this particular arena. As you have thought on this often over the years, so too have I. That's where my mind comes down on it.

I do not think we differ so much on what abortion is but rather how it is to be dealt with by society. In that difference, I don't see either of us moving one way or the other. But I certainly would be curious what you would have put into place to address the issue. I am thinking we would disagree there as well given how strongly you feel about this particular issue, but I remain open-minded enough to consider possibilities.


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