Barack On Abortion

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Front Page Tough Questions VIP

I was disturbed to see this video from Barack Obama talking about his intentions regarding the abortion issue…

I learned about this video from http://theologica.blogspot.com/2008/08/obama-and-freedom-of-choice-act.html. Be sure to visit that blog and check out the information there on the Freedom of Choice Act. Morally disturbing.

What’s the real issue?

Apparently, we are facing the same questions now. What is the real issue when it comes to abortion? Those in the Pro-Choice camp say the issue hinges on the right of women to determine when they have children. In the video linked above, (at about 11 minutes) Barack Obama says that even the most conservative person will answer yes when asked if he wishes his daughter to have the same opportunities as men. He says the battle must be fought there, on those big questions. However, those in the Pro-Life camp say the issue revolves around the right of an innocent human life to not be unduly terminated. Those who advocate the repeal or weakening of Roe v. Wade say the life of the unborn must be protected (and of course, the woman could have taken the responsibility to limit her own reproduction through means prior to conception not least of which is abstinence).

So who is right. Which issue is this? A consideration of history will help.

Back in the days of the civil war, each side had an understanding of what they were fighting for. The North was fighting for the sake of the Union and the freedom of the slaves. The South was fighting for their right to govern themselves.

According to the North, it had to do with justice for all. According to the South, it had to do with freedom and the rights of the states.

So what was the real issue? It was an issue of rights.

This is only one example. World history, and personal experience consistently teach that each party in a conflict is fully convinced they are right and within their rights to hold their position. Each party is convinced the other party is infringing on their rights.

In other words, those who are within the conflict are incapable of settling the matter from the basis of who is right. The only way to avoid direct violence is to appeal to an authority outside the conflict.

In our country, that authority has been and will continue to be the federal government.

Whose rights will the government protect?

Civil War: Should we protect the rights of the states or the rights of the powerless slaves?

Civil Rights Movement: Should we protect the rights of the majority or the rights of the oppressed?

In both cases, the federal government stepped in and said (eventually), we will defend the rights of the powerless and oppressed. However, when it comes to Abortion, the question reached a new level of complexity. No longer is there a clear line of demarcation between the oppressor and the oppressed.

Historically, women have been powerless and oppressed. One reason is that women are the ones to bear our children, and both pregnancy and nursing significantly limit what a woman can do. Technology and medicine have alleviated some of those issues, but historically, pregnancy and nursing have kept women in the home while men go out and “do the real work.” In addition to that, the average woman is shorter and weaker than the average man, so physical abuse has been the norm for many societies throughout history.

In other words, women have been oppressed and their rights have been infringed, and much of it surrounds the fact that pregnancy and nursing takes a woman out of the working world for months or years on end. If a woman is not in charge of her choices regarding pregnancy, she is at the mercy of others and therefore less free.

It is a clear cut argument. In order for a woman to be on the same level as a man in every aspect of society, pregnancy and child rearing must become a non-issue. So what happens if a woman accidentally gets pregnant? At that moment, she becomes less valuable to her workplace. Her ability to work will be limited and there will be months if not years where she will be absent from the workplace. To offset this, legislation has been enacted to preserve a woman’s job after a reasonable “Medical Leave,” and many women work quite productively throughout their pregnancies.

However, that legislation doesn’t change the fundamental reality that women are regularly far more responsible for child rearing than men are, and even one child irrevocably changes that woman’s life.

Therefore, in order to give women equal rights with men, they must have full and complete control over the biological realities of their bodies.

So, on one side of the issue, it appears to be one of women’s rights.

However, a new reality has emerged since the dawning of Roe v. Wade. More than 48,589,993 otherwise healthy infants were terminated through elective abortions between 1973 and 1997. Did they have rights? Were they humans? Were they alive?

If the unborn are living human beings, then they should have at least as many rights as the newly born or the nearly dead. They may be thoroughly dependent on another person, they may be completely helpless on their own, they may be a total inconvenience on people who didn’t ask for the responsibility, and they may not even be consciously aware of all the work that is being done for them, but if they are living humans, they have inherent rights, not the least of which is the right to life. Finally, all scientists agree that the fertilized egg is two things: (1). Fully human, with distinctly different DNA than the mother, and therefore, a distinctly different human from the mother. (2). Alive as much as any other living organism is. Therefore, the fertilized egg is a living human and should have all the rights of other living humans.

Whose side are you on?

So people have been taking sides on this issue for thirty years, and the tone of our government has been to take the side of women’s rights instead of the rights of the unborn. Why is that? Well, the government of the US has wisely through the years learned to take up the cause of the oppressed. This is a noble thing, and federal regulations have equalized the playing field in many respects between those who historically were oppressed and those who were the oppressors.

However, the unborn are oppressed in staggeringly large numbers (48,589,993
abortions from 1973 to 1997 equals nearly ten times the Jews who died in the holocaust, and nearly 20% of our total population). Why is the government not standing up against this violation of human rights?

// OPINION ALERT // OPINION ALERT //

The only thing different in this human rights case and any other human rights case throughout history is that the unborn have no voice. The slaves were oppressed, but they had a voice. Writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom’s Cabin) gave them that voice. In the Civil Rights movement, men like Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a voice to those oppressed by segregation. In the Women’s Rights movement, many voices have continued to speak up since the 1966 formation of NOW.

But the unborn have no voice. Others have attempted to speak up for the unborn and on their behalf, but the unborn have no voice of their own. Additionally, the voices on the side of women’s rights can make a very rational argument on why reproductive decisions are a fundamental right of every woman, while the voices for the unborn always seem to sound simplistic (“Don’t kill babies”), traditional (“Pregnancy is a woman’s gift”), religious(“God made that baby”), or misogynistic (“She made her choice, got pregnant, and now she has to deal with the consequences”).

The voice of women’s rights is far louder and far clearer than the voice of unborn rights.

And in any government of the people, the loudest voices win.

One Possible Solution

The battlefield has been defined as one for women’s rights just as the civil war battlefield was defined by the North as one of slavery. The South tried to redefine the battle, but lost anyway. Likewise, anyone who wants to be pro-life must realize that redefining the battle here and now will not work, and will instead appear to the rest of the world like a Confederate holding on to antiquated ideals.

Here’s my proposal for a solution, and it is simple: MEN, GET OFF YOUR REARS, BE THE MEN GOD CALLED YOU TO BE, AND LEARN TO LOVE WOMEN PROPERLY!

  1. Love your wives sacrificially, pursue their best, promote their best, and encourage them to achieve their best.
  2. Love your wife so much that if you are not married now, you will still honor your future wife by keeping your pants on now.
  3. Love your wife so much that whether you are married or not, you will stand up for the honor of the women around you and call other men to behave honorably toward them too.
  4. Love your wife so much that no matter what difficulties you come across, you will stay faithful to her alone.
  5. Love your wife so much that YOU MAKE THE CHOICE to be involved in the raising of your children.

Perhaps that was all a little too wordy, so if I wasn’t clear enough, let me be straightforward:

  • Pay women just as much.
  • Listen to women just as much.
  • No sex without marriage.
  • No sex unless one of you is sterile or you are both okay with pregnancy.
  • No divorce or threats of divorce.
  • No cheating.
  • No laziness.

Real men stand up for women.

Listen, if men were honorable enough to have sex only with their wives who were willing to be pregnant, abortions would decline dramatically! Abortion is a problem of no self-control, and I blame the men.

Just a final thought.

I wonder if Thomas Jefferson had a reason for putting “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in that order. Should the right to life supercede the right to liberty?

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2 comments

  1. Morris DuBose III

    I realize that this is an older post. But I’m new to your community, and trying to play catch up.

    The tenants of your post are compelling, by and large. The problem becomes that your solution makes little sense outside of the confines of a Western Evangelical Christian life. We can’t use the state to mandate the ethics that our religious convictions require. The church in the U.S. uses the state as a weapon against people whose beliefs do not match their own.

    To cite the state’s intervention in civil rights actions, is a dangerous track. It was the church in South Africa which made Apartheid possible. And it was the church that saw the murders and wars of the middle ages. They also worked hand in hand with the state to virtually destroy the Native American world predating this country. And the church hasn’t gotten better with age. Blindly defending the horrible acts perpetuated by the state of Israel against the people of Palestine. And, closer to home, there is a parallel to be drawn for the marginalization of people who espouse “alternative sexual lifestyles.”

    From a civil rights standpoint, the church doesn’t really have much in the line of street cred. And when morality is legislated, you have back alley abortions and black market pills.

    Life is more than a heartbeat.

    Just a thought:
    Would you give up the freedom to worship Christ, to live?
    If you use listed order as a basis for questioning intention, what happens when you apply that test to lists within the church or other cross sections of tradition.

    If you address two sides of an issue, you have no vision.
    Issues have more than two sides.

  2. Jeff Post author

    Thanks for the comments Morris.

    I’d like to understand what you are saying a little better. Specifically, I want to know why you think my proposed solution doesn’t make sense “outside the confines of a Western Evangelical Christian life.”

    My proposed solution has nothing to do with religious convictions but with a conviction that the problem of abortion starts as a problem with men not being able to control themselves. This isn’t about religion. It’s about the pragmatic consideration that the oppression of women is solved by men treating them properly. If every man kept his pants on, abortion wouldn’t be a women’s rights issue.

    Your second claim about legislating morality is one that I understand and one that I agree with to a point. I don’t believe we should “legislate religion” but legislating morality is what we do all the time. The government has said that murder is not just wrong but also illegal. Therefore, laws and morality have always gone hand in hand. Immoral laws should be eliminated. Moral laws should be enacted.

    So what role should the church have in all this? Well, first of all, I want to agree with you that the past history of religion has not always been one of moral uprightness. There have been many atrocities perpetrated in history and evil people have used many excuses for their evil. It just so happens that religion has been used as an excuse far too often. Nevertheless, you can’t blame religion as the cause of the evil unless there is something inherent to the faith that is taught which requires people to perpetrate that evil.

    For example, the teaching of Jesus is that we should love our enemies, that we should show people grace and forgiveness, that we should proclaim good news to the broken-hearted. However, people who claim to follow Jesus have attacked religious enemies, have offered judgment, have proclaimed legalism, and have put a burden on the broken. Religious people were doing the same things in Jesus’ day, and he railed against them repeatedly.

    All I’m trying to say is that just because people claiming to be followers of Jesus have done stupid and evil things, you can’t blame all followers of Jesus nor the church into which they are organized. It would be unjustified prejudice to negatively categorize an entire group of people based on the unfortunate acts of some members of that group.

    Therefore, I do believe the church has something to say about current societal issues because the church was the first agency in history to promote the cause of women (see Paul’s teaching on how husbands should treat their wives), the first in history to promote the welfare of children (Jesus, Peter, and Paul all taught the value of children), and the first agency in history to promote universal forgiveness and love for all.

    My question, motivated by my faith and also by my concern for the pragmatic realities of life, is this: How can we ensure the welfare of every life–born, unborn, poor, rich, male, female, black, white, urban, suburban, rural?

    In the case of women’s rights and the rights of the unborn, I believe the answer lies partially in men being responsible, honorable, and respectful men.

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