Monday, September 21, 2015

Pro-life/Pro-choice: It's not as simple as you think.

I know that I could get into trouble on this one, but I'm asking you to hear me out before you make your judgment.

The simple fact of this very controversial issue is that one side isn't listening to the other side. Each side frames their argument from a completely different perspective so that when side A looks at side B's argument through side A's perspective, it makes no sense and they call side B stupid, selfish, and what ever other names will degrade their moral character and intellectual level.

Pro-lifers say that life begins at conception and think that pro-choicers are stupid for not recognizing that. In their arguments, pro-lifers will say say things like, "Of course it's a human life! It's not a dog or other animal!" While that is true, it is not the basis for a pro-choice person's decision.

In the end, the argument (and the disagreement) comes down to -- At what point does the unborn embryo/fetus/life/baby have the rights of an individual person?

Some argue for the moment of conception and others for the moment of birth. The Supreme Court ruling puts it somewhere in between those two. Even in the Christian world it can get pretty controversial.

It wasn't until after the SCOTUS ruling in the 70s that most religious organizations formulated a stance against abortion. In the 50s and 60s, the stance was pretty much a pro-choice stance, giving over to personal conscience and belief. Only the Catholic church has remained constant in its life begins at conception stance.

Some say that birth control that does not prevent conception (contraceptives) but prevents pregnancy is abortive in nature and should be illegal or that certain employers that believe that way should be exempt from providing those methods of birth control. Some say that according to Leviticus 17:11, the life is in the blood and since science shows us that that doesn't happen until about day 17, IUDs, Plan B pills and other forms of birth control should be okay.

But again, the question goes back to -- At what point does a human embryo/fetus/unborn baby have the rights associated with a sentient being?
Is it at conception?
Is it at birth?
Is it an answer that can be derived from science?
If it is a theological answer, can it be one that can be proven and be one on which we as a society can agree?

There are Christians that read the Bible very literally and still manage to disagree on this issue. Many theologically sound followers of Jesus read (in several places, beginning in Genesis) that life begins with breath, that the life of a person is inspired by God when we draw breath--when we are born.

I know that the issue isn't going to go away.
I also know that it isn't (or at least shouldn't be) a political issue.
And I know that there are a lot of very strong feelings on both sides of the issue.

While some want to be left alone to make their own decisions based on their own beliefs, others want to speak on behalf of the unborn and represent the right to life that they believe the unborn have.

Which ever side of the issue you are on, lay out your case and know that the other side needs to hear your perspective and you need to frame your case so that they can understand it from their point of view. Believers need to know that unbelievers don't have a biblical set of values and even other believers may read the scriptures with a different understanding. Unbelievers need to know that religious beliefs are deeply ingrained and often permeate every aspect of a believers life.

When the simple reality gets to the point that nobody is going to change anybody's mind, then perhaps it is time to accept that and move on. I have many friends on both sides of the issue. The sad truth is that the pro-choicers do a much better job of laying out their arguments than the pro-lifers and the non-religious pro-choicers are often easier to get along with than the hardline religious right to lifers. Most of the time, the argument "That's just what I believe!" doesn't go very far in providing an adequate defense of your beliefs.

We can certainly push for a ban on funding to organizations like Planned Parenthood, but on what grounds? They are performing legal medical procedures that we happen to disagree with. Let me repeat that -- They are performing legal medical procedures that we happen to disagree with.

By the way, it's worth noting that there are both pro-life Democrats and pro-choice Republicans.

As I said in the title -- It's not as simple as you think.

Here, on the blog, I can moderate comments and try to keep it from getting ugly. If I post it on Facebook (like I usually do) well, I'm trusting you to be civil. You can feel free to link to it if you choose and then make your comments on your own timeline.

John <><


Anonymous said...

John, you never cease to amaze me with your talents. You are a fantastic writer and editorialist.

My personal belief is that abortion is wrong in all but some very, very rare cases. It is also my belief that the truth to this issue is way above my pay level. I am actually against most anti-abortion laws due to my belief that it is not up to me, I thank the Lord that I will never have to make that decision and I think making abortions illegal would do more harm than good. I wish that strong anti-abortionist would spend as much time doing something to help unwed mothers and others in bad situations. ( I do know some people who do).
I guess you could call me a Pro-Life in personal beliefs, Pro-Choice politically. Rick R.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

John, I can readily see that the two sides are arguing from different perspectives. Even the terms "pro-life" and "pro-choice" emphasize two different things. Is it possible to be both?

The question of when a human becomes a human is debatable. Or - when in the gestation period is life clear-cut? The zygotic stage? The embryonic stage? The fetal stage? When the person passes through the birth canal? When the fetus reaches viability? If so, when is that? The problem is, these are unanswered.

Is it inconsistent to be both pro-life and pro-choice?

And, is being pro-life inconsistent with supporting the death penalty or euthanasia?