Mirror of Justice

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"My Mother's Adoption: A Tale of Two Texans"

Powerful testimony.

...

Merfish writes with pride about her mom’s choice to kill her brother or sister  because he or she was a few years early for her parents’ taste. Today, I’m  writing with pride about my mom’s choice to save my brother’s life and give him  a loving, intact family that could provide him the life he deserved. Merfish’s  mom had to endure the judgmental attitudes of the abortionist. My mom had to  endure months of morning sickness and ten hours of labor and delivery. Then she  endured the pain of letting another woman, a woman who was ready to be a mom,  take her baby boy home.

...

Merfish’s mom married her dad shortly after her abortion. They finished  college and went on to have better-timed children and, presumably, successful  lives. My mom later met a dashing grad student at that commuter college. They  married, graduated, had two daughters, successful careers, and are now  approaching a secure retirement. Choosing life, no matter how inconvenient,  doesn’t have to end anyone’s chance at the American Dream.

Merfish’s mom taught her that the right to kill an inconvenient child is  sacred. Merfish ends her piece in The New York Times with a call for more such  “bravery.” My mom taught me that every child, no matter the inconvenience, is  sacred. She made a heroic sacrifice to give my brother the life he deserved; she  offered her suffering and sorrow to protect an innocent child’s rights instead  of her own. Memo to The New York Times: that’s bravery worth celebrating.

http://mirrorofjustice.blogs.com/mirrorofjustice/2013/07/my-mothers-adoption-a-tale-of-two-texans.html

Scaperlanda, Mike | Permalink

Comments

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"because he or she was a few years early for her parents’ taste"

I recently was reading a book about Catholic scholar who as a young man went to India to study and met a woman who he fell in love with and married. Her father converted to Islam but even before meeting the person who would become her husband she was thinking about becoming Catholic. A major influence were the nuns at her school, who she found loving people == she connected such love to Catholicism.

Then, we have the lack of empathy in this statement that is also I'm sorry somewhat a lie. Isn't that a breach of a commandment? I go to the op-ed and the "because" is ... "they were thoroughly unprepared to be parents." Not a matter of "taste" or anything. Also, many women just cannot give up their children for adoption. To them, it is immoral to trust the person to another, in fact a sin. They think at least an early abortion (see references to "abortion" pills / Plan B) is the better option. Many Christian religions agree. They don't each think that you "kill a brother or sister" by having an early term abortion.

Who decides when a "sacrifice" should be made? And, if we want a person to make one, perhaps we should have a bit more empathy and honesty on just what choice they made. People have limited number of children on average these days. It is more than "inconvenience" that people -- in part via birth control the Catholic Church rejects, including birth control pills that act in the way of Plan B -- don't have lots of children. They make many "brave" choices.

I respect the choices made by both women and both their stories, without misleading glosses, should be heard.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 10, 2013 10:52:00 AM

Well said, Joe.

I appreciate the difficulty of accepting abortions, and the difficult choices that sometimes lead to abortions. Katy French's kind of dishonest commentary reminds us that, on this topic, the "moral high-ground" is pretty much unoccupied.

sean s.

Posted by: sean samis | Jul 10, 2013 11:57:44 AM

Could one of you point me to an official statement from a religious group that giving a child up for adoption is immoral? I have never heard of a religious group that claims abortion is a better moral choice than adoption. I have seen Christian groups sympathize for the "hard choice" of abortion, but I have never heard anyone argue that, all things being equal, adoption is immoral abortion isn't.

Posted by: CLS | Jul 10, 2013 12:30:25 PM

CLS;

Religious beliefs do not require support of some group’s doctrine to be valid or legally protected. Individuals are entitled to decide for themselves what they believe is or is not immoral. What you request is irrelevant.

I personally don’t think adoption is at all immoral; but I do appreciate that deciding to “give away” one’s child would be enormously difficult.

The “testimony” referred to in this post misrepresents the situation it was supposed to be commenting on, turning a stupendously difficult situation into a matter of “taste”.

I don’t have any statistics at hand, but I bet that the vast majority of circumstances that lead to abortions are entirely solvable. And we as a nation have chosen to not solve those problems. So abortion remains a bad but legitimate choice. I cannot defend the choice to have an abortion, but until our moral leaders step up to the problem, I do defend the right to make that choice.

sean s.

Posted by: sean samis | Jul 10, 2013 1:53:20 PM

I agree. But you keep saying this as if there is a discrete group of people that holds that adoption is immoral or that it violates their religious beliefs, i.e. a sin. I have never heard of any denomination, or met anyone that holds this belief.

Yes, most abortions could likely be prevented and adoption is one means of working towards this goal.

Posted by: CLS | Jul 10, 2013 2:25:55 PM

CLS,

As long as the choice is abortion or adoption, there will be abortions because adoption can be too difficult for some to choose.

So far as I am aware, it is rare for adoption to be unavailable, so ensuring adoption services are available is not a meaningful step toward ending abortion.

sean s.

Posted by: sean samis | Jul 10, 2013 2:34:51 PM

Like I said, abortion is one means of working towards that goal.

Posted by: CLS | Jul 10, 2013 3:14:26 PM

aodption*

Posted by: CLS | Jul 10, 2013 3:14:53 PM

I don't know the importance of focusing on a "denomination" here, but since adoption is readily available for many people who choose abortion, for those in particular, they believe it is a "better" choice or more moral than the alternative. I have seen many with this sentiment, including those who speak about their abortion as a moral choice, including those with a religious based morality.

Many denominations (e.g., The United Church of Christ) support giving the woman themselves the right "to follow the dictates of her own faith and beliefs," including choosing abortion. http://www.ucc.org/justice/advocacy_resources/pdfs/reproductive-health-and-justice/reproductive-health-and-justice.pdf

"The Abortion Myth: Feminism, Morality, and the Hard Choices Women Make" by Leslie Cannold provides testimonials of women, including one or more self-labeled pro-life, who think adoption (or if possible, removing an embryo and growing it in an artificial womb & having someone else care for the resulting baby) is more immoral, in part motivated by religious beliefs.

Justice Douglas in U.S. v. Vuitch noted this is not a "one sided" matter, including a quote: "There can be nothing more destructive to a child's spirit than being unwanted, and there are few things more disruptive to a woman's spirit than being forced without love or need into motherhood." This is true even when adoption was available.

Not sure what one of us "keeps on saying" that is incorrect. There are those who -- based on religious beliefs -- think abortion is more moral than alternatives, including adoption. A person might disagree, but the beliefs are out there. Ditto those who think contraceptives are important in part out of religious beliefs. Some around here find such beliefs strange or wrong, but that is a separate thing. I have read recently in fact Vatican II welcomes cross-faith understanding.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 10, 2013 3:17:25 PM

"There can be nothing more destructive to a child's spirit than being unwanted,"

I can think of something.

"Also, many women just cannot give up their children for adoption. To them, it is immoral to trust the person to another, in fact a sin."

The "If I can't have you, nobody will" approach to motherhood? How exactly is that a "brave" choice?

Posted by: Brian English | Jul 10, 2013 4:38:55 PM

Adults often have chosen death over loss of freedom or dignity, and adults often make choices for their children. So it’s hardly a surprise they’d make that choice for their unborn child. I do not agree with the choice, but my agreement is not required.

Whether choice to have an abortion is “brave” or not is of no consequence, it’s still their choice. And I suspect that most women know that at some point their abortion will come out; it takes at least a little courage to deal with the disapproval.

As before: abortions are mostly the result of fixable problems that we as a nation have decided not to fix. So abortions happen. That’s what we get from not dealing with it.

sean s.

Posted by: sean samis | Jul 10, 2013 4:50:40 PM

Some people think abortion is the more moral choice than adoption. So? Can't we say that they're wrong and that the moral high ground is adoption?

Posted by: Thales | Jul 10, 2013 6:01:46 PM

"Adults often have chosen death over loss of freedom or dignity, and adults often make choices for their children. So it’s hardly a surprise they’d make that choice for their unborn child."

So these "parents" are like the parents at Masada, bravely choosing death for their children over slavery and degradation? The only problem with that comparison is that the parents at Masada also ended up dead. It is much easier to choose death when you are not going to be the one who dies.

"As before: abortions are mostly the result of fixable problems that we as a nation have decided not to fix. So abortions happen. That’s what we get from not dealing with it."

So until all of society's problems are resolved, extinguishing innocent human lives is an acceptable alternative? Why should that dystopian view only apply to the unborn?

"Can't we say that they're wrong and that the moral high ground is adoption?"

Of course not. That would be very judgmental and might make people feel bad about themselves.

Posted by: Brian English | Jul 10, 2013 6:30:24 PM

"Some people think abortion is the more moral choice than adoption. So? Can't we say that they're wrong and that the moral high ground is adoption?"

I am unsure where I said otherwise. There are a myriad of issues of morality and religious belief for which there is room for debate. For instance, if someone thinks the United Church of Christ is wrong to accept abortion as a moral option vis-a-vis the Catholic Church, you can try to debate the person on the merits. I wouldn't use the spleen of Brian English ("might make people feel bad") and surely many on the pro-choice (whatever) side make judgments too.

The "so what" is that sometimes when it is pointed out there is a moral dispute, it is ridiculed or curious people ask what sort of denominations accept that. It is like "value voters" in 2004, as if each side don't have "value voters." The term was applied to certain types of values.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 10, 2013 9:45:43 PM

ETA: I have been challenged from the pro-choice side here in making this partially a religious/moral belief but it is one.

See, e.g., Ronald Dworkin's book on life and death issues or this quote from Planned Parenthood v. Casey: "Men and women of good conscience can disagree, and we suppose some always shall disagree, about the profound moral and spiritual implications of terminating a pregnancy, even in its earliest stage."

It's why it is a deep CATHOLIC issue, but some people (including individual Catholics) have different answers to the moral and religious questions. It is ultimately a matter of determining the answer. Society deeply is divided and the choice is left to individual choice to a large degree. Other issues, including bodily integrity factor in, but the deep divide including among religious faiths is one reason why one side is not given legal supremacy.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 10, 2013 9:54:57 PM

The notion that adoption constitutes "loss of freedom or dignity" for a child is not only ridiculous but insulting to every person who has been adopted and to every parent who has raised an adopted child--my wife and me included. It is no surprise that those who defend the slaughter of unwanted children resent those who choose a more humane alternative for their offspring, but their increasingly irrational bitterness suggests they may soon try to use the power of law to make adoption even more difficult and infrequent than it is at present.

Posted by: ron chandonia | Jul 10, 2013 9:58:43 PM

Ron Chandonia is to honored for adopting a child, but people who have adopted children also include those who do not see abortion as 'slaughter.' The various choices, including same sex couples adopting children, is part of choice as a whole. The right to choose FURTHERS adoption. The fact a Dan Savage can adopt (via as I recall a type of open adoption) encourages alternatives for some people.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 10, 2013 10:38:13 PM

"ETA: I have been challenged from the pro-choice side here in making this partially a religious/moral belief but it is one."

Take religion out of it. It is Embryology 101 that a new member of the human species is created at conception. Deciding whether that individual can be destroyed is certainly a moral question, but the question itself still exists, even from a purely materialistic point of view. And I don't think throwing up our hands and saying, "Well, people have different opinions so they get to choose" is an adequate response. The unborn child is not able to defend his or her interests.

"It is like "value voters" in 2004, as if each side don't have "value voters." The term was applied to certain types of values."

But people can have bad values.

For instance, it is absolutely deplorable that when virtually every European country (and we are always being told how much better the US would be if we were more like Europe)bans abortion after 10-14 weeks, a grandstanding politician and her paid mob in Texas are hailed as heroes for blocking a law that only seeks a 20-week ban. Who are the extremists in this picture?

"The right to choose FURTHERS adoption."

How exactly does choosing to destroy an unborn child further adoption?

Posted by: Brian English | Jul 11, 2013 10:33:04 AM

(1) Re: “Can't we say that they're wrong...?”

Of course you can. And they can say you’re wrong. The problem isn’t what is said but what is done.

(2) Re: “Can't we say ... that the moral high ground is adoption?”

Sure, but adoption is only a little bit of the moral high ground. Respecting the decisions of others in their own lives is on the moral high ground too. And recognizing that **If You Interfere in the Lives of Others, Then You Are Obligated to Own the Costs of the Solution You Impose** is on the moral high ground too; that’s a really big piece of that real estate.

(3) Re: “It is much easier to choose death when you are not going to be the one who dies.”

And it’s much easier to oppose abortion if you aren’t going to take any responsibility for the child.

(4) Re: “So until all of society's problems are resolved, [blah blah blah]”

This is a typical complaint; it “justifies” inaction. We hate abortion but it’s just exhausting to think about all that other stuff; we’re not willing to do that heavy lifting. So we pretend to be horrified when our apathy leads to abortions. We’re not willing to do what it takes and condemn women who are willing to do what they believe they need to do.

(5) Re: “I don't think throwing up our hands and saying, ‘Well, people have different opinions so they get to choose’ is an adequate response.”

An opinion you are entitled to, but then who decides? When describing liberty interests (religious or otherwise) people DO GET TO CHOOSE based on their own opinions. So in general it’s a perfectly adequate answer. Telling women in difficult circumstances that they no longer have a choice is not an adequate answer either. We could give them better options, but that’s just too hard! See Item (4).

(6) Re: “a grandstanding politician ... blocking a law that only seeks a 20-week ban.”

Actually the Texas bill does much more than that, and will close most of the abortion clinics in the state by imposing pointless requirements falsely represented as “improving safety”. If all it was about was a “20-week ban”, it would have been a different fight.

(7) Re: “The unborn child is not able to defend his or her interests.”

This would be a powerful response if it weren’t for the fact that after children are born their interests continue but “pro-lifers” no longer seem to care what happens to them. As shocking as that seems, we all know that the folks who adamantly defend the child until birth are the same ones who object to welfare and social services and public schools; gutting those so they can keep taxes low. But we can’t do anything about that! See item (4).

(On a related note, I see the House Republicans yesterday stripped food-stamps out of the farm-bill they passed. I seem to recall Jesus saying something about feeding the hungry; hmm... The life of an unborn child is sacred; a hungry child’s life: apparently not so much.)

(8) Re: “virtually every European country (and we are always being told how much better the US would be if we were more like Europe) bans abortion after 10-14 weeks”.

And these same countries provide vastly easier access to abortions; the recent bills in Texas and other states are intended to make abortion inaccessible.

And we should remember that those same European countries provide vastly better (and cheaper) prenatal and obstetric care, neonatal care and child care so that most of the things that lead women to wanting an abortion are prevented. But we must not worry about that! It’s just too hard! See item (4).

sean s.

Posted by: sean samis | Jul 12, 2013 7:45:52 AM

Sean, now go through and substitute the word child abuse for abortion, since the act of intentionally putting to death a child in the womb is an act of child abuse.

Posted by: Nancy | Jul 12, 2013 10:14:05 AM

This does not change the fact that prenatal and obstetric care, neonatal care and child care should serve to sustain and affirm human life, but rather, there is no excuse for child abuse.

Posted by: Nancy | Jul 12, 2013 10:20:26 AM

Nancy,

Forcing women to carry to term babies they never wanted in the first place (rape) is an abuse of those women.

Forcing women to carry to term babies severely disabled, whose lives will be filled with deprivation, whose care will suck up all of their mothers’ time and finances is an abuse of both mother and child.

Forcing children to carry to term a babies because they were deprived of proper sex education, or deprived of access to contraception is an abuse.

Forcing women to carry to term babies they cannot afford to support, requiring them to watch their children’s lives waste away with hunger, violence, lack of education, and absence of hope is an abuse of mother and child.

Certainly most of these problems have solutions short of abortion, but those solutions are not within the power of the mothers or the parents to provide by their own means. We–Society–need to ensure them, but we don’t want to be bothered. So the abuse continues.

Roe v. Wade has been on the books for more than 40 years, we’ve had plenty of time to fix this problem, and if anything we’ve gone backward; feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, educating children has become LESS important to us than it was in the 1970’s.

Yes, Nancy: abortion is abuse. But not only by desperate women or their doctors. We all have blood on our hands. And if we are not willing to fix our own failures, then blaming the women and their abortionists is a lie. Getting in the way of mothers making their choices is not justified.

We need to get the log out of our own eyes before getting the mote out of the eye of others.

sean s.

Posted by: sean samis | Jul 12, 2013 11:13:51 AM

Sean keeps dishing up liberal bromides, but this one struck me as particularly ironic: "Roe v. Wade has been on the books for more than 40 years, we’ve had plenty of time to fix this problem, and if anything we’ve gone backward; feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, educating children has become LESS important to us than it was in the 1970’s."

Could it be, my friend, that we have become less caring because we now take it for granted that unwanted and burdensome members of our society can - and should - be discarded even before they see the light of day? Hint: Those who find this horrifying tend to do much more personally to serve the needy (including offering them adoptive homes) than those who defend the wholesale slaughter of babies who may cost their unwilling parents undue "time and finances."

Posted by: ron chandonia | Jul 12, 2013 11:40:13 AM

Brian English -- If it is recognized that this is a moral debate with people making decisions on both sides motivated in part by religious beliefs, that would be a major step. I do not claim we should just "throw up our hands."

But, Catholic doctrine supports free will, even when it leads us to do things wrong. Stopping free will is not the answer. The reference to "choice" goes to that, not some specific choice, like having an abortion. It is an overall choice, including freedom to choose on one's own to set up a range of adoption choices. Latin America countries often have very restrictive abortion laws. They have not been a good answer, including for the concerns raised by sean samis. Leaving the choice, including for abortion, is thus something many religions support, at least in various cases.

I have addressed in the thread referenced in the McConnell one I am aware of the development of an embryo to a fetus to born infant. As you note, the debate here is on the moral significance of abortion of let's say a week old human embryo (if it is an embryo at that point). The average American supports allowing that to be legal; in fact, the first trimester too. Others here would see that as "slaughter." A big moral and religious debate that is.

BTW, I appreciate Robert George's shoutout to Cornell West. Leaving open comments also promotes productive debate. But, such is his choice.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 12, 2013 12:07:05 PM

ETA: The matter seems obvious, but just to note it, yes, free will has limits, but society here has determined that until a certain stage of developing, weighing everything, a girl or women should have the choice to abortion.

I think sean samis says a lot of good stuff though I am not quite Will from Newsroom. I'm more Laurence O'Donnell. Abortion can be reduced in a variety of ways and criminalization again is not the best answer -- it will just go underground again and will continue, partially since it never truly was fully criminal. There were always exceptions and opt outs.

It also will continue to be performed since girls and women will continue, even if our sex education and welfare policy made Sweden blush, to get pregnant before they are ready (including as young teens who will not be forced to carry to term) and willing to give birth, rape will continue, health issues will arise, fetal deformity and other tragedies will occur etc. And, since some think Plan B is an abortion, this includes those who take a pill during or right after fertilization. But, there is a lot that can be done to reduce abortions. There is room for working together. The OP doesn't help much.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 12, 2013 12:16:04 PM

BTW, regarding Joe's appreciation for Robert George's "shout out", there is a difference between debating the truth with those persons who have not yet been converted, and debating the truth with those who claim to already be converted, and it is that difference, that makes all the difference. We cannot transform The Truth, Christ transforms us, and thus they will know we are Christian if we Love one another according to The Truth of Love.

Posted by: Nancy | Jul 12, 2013 12:47:48 PM

Ron asked, “Could it be, my friend, that we have become less caring because we now take it for granted that unwanted and burdensome members of our society can - and should - be discarded even before they see the light of day?”

Perhaps, but since this less caring seems to be as common among opponents of abortion as its supporters, that would only make my point more valid: opponents of abortion actually don’t care about the unwanted and burdensome. A reasonable person then would conclude that their oft-stated concerns are a fraud. I don’t know if this is the case, but Ron’s question implies he thinks it might be.

My friend also speculated that “Those who find this horrifying tend to do much more personally to serve the needy (including offering them adoptive homes) than those who defend the wholesale slaughter of babies”.

Since these horrified persons tend to vote for politicians who gut services for the needy, this seems an unlikely situation. The Catholic Church threatens to excommunicate politicians who don’t oppose abortion, but I’ve never heard of the Church threatening to excommunicate a politician who opposed social welfare programs. Will the Catholic Church speak as loudly about the recent Congressional inaction on food stamps as it speaks about abortion? Smart money says ‘no’.

People offering adoptive homes do a wonderful thing, but taking in people after a preventable disaster is not as important as preventing the preventable disaster itself; and that’s what abortions are: merely one part of preventable disasters. It’s good to have adoption available, but preventing the disaster is a much better solution. Yet it seems quite controversial on this thread to suggest we should make that effort.

Perhaps my new friend Ron is on to something: even pro-lifers are just faking it. If that’s true, it’s just sad.

sean s.

Posted by: sean samis | Jul 12, 2013 1:08:43 PM

This thread began with two tales of decisions about which the respective writers were proud, even boastful. It seems to me obvious, Sean, which of the two tales shows an utter lack of "care about the unwanted and burdensome." I know it doesn't fit your social-conservatives-are-Satanic template, but evidence about the heroic personal sacrifices of committed pro-lifers abounds, as do examples of the very different priorities of those who share your mindset. In fact, you need look no farther for those than the Merfish story recounted in the Times.

Posted by: ron chandonia | Jul 12, 2013 2:11:26 PM

Ron,

You are correct about how this thread began, but like many threads, it has evolved; additional topics have come up and they are very revealing. Hostility to the idea of preventing abortions by fixing causal situations arose in the thread, and that is just as important as the lead-off story. We hate abortions and those who’ve had them, but we are not willing to do the heavy lifting to prevent them.

What Merfish’s mother chose was terrible; I hope I would not have made the same choice but I will never know. I cannot judge her, neither should you. We may judge a person's choice but not the person; we all have sin in us. If anyone judges the person, that is God's prerogative.

You refer to me as having a “social-conservatives-are-Satanic template”; you completely misunderstand me. The fault is everyone’s. I am not innocent; no one is. This is our nation and its callous indifference to the unwanted, inconvenient, and burdensome is our collective failure. For 40 years we've had the power to make Roe moot, but it’s apparently more satisfying to fight about the problem than to fix it. That is our collective vice.

sean s.

Posted by: sean samis | Jul 12, 2013 3:05:15 PM

"Sean keeps dishing up liberal bromides,"

I think he might have hit every single one. A very impressive collection of nonsense.

"Respecting the decisions of others in their own lives is on the moral high ground too."

You keep missing the point that a human life is being extinguished by that choice.

"And it’s much easier to oppose abortion if you aren’t going to take any responsibility for the child.

Parents are responsible for their children. Your solution is to obliterate the child, so that no one has to be responsible for him or her.

"This is a typical complaint; it “justifies” inaction."

No, it points out the absurdity of your position that the morality of abortion is directly linked to the poverty rate. At what poverty rate do you think it would no longer be necessary for women to extinguish their unborn children?

Also, are you seriously claiming that the vast majority of women who have abortions are living in severe poverty?

"Actually the Texas bill does much more than that, and will close most of the abortion clinics in the state by imposing pointless requirements falsely represented as “improving safety”."

The same standards that apply to any ambulatory surgical facility. You don't see any problems with these abortion clinics being incapable of even satisfying these minimal standards? So I guess both "safe" and "rare" have been discarded by the abortion zealots.

"This would be a powerful response if it weren’t for the fact that after children are born their interests continue but “pro-lifers” no longer seem to care what happens to them."

You would think that when faced with the mountain of evidence showing that religious conservatives give far more money to charity than liberals, and volunteer far more of their time than liberals, that liberals would be ashamed to hurl around these types of accusations. But I guess some people can't be shamed.

"(On a related note, I see the House Republicans yesterday stripped food-stamps out of the farm-bill they passed."

Do you seriously believe that food stamps have been completely eliminated? Why should food stamps have been included in a farm bill? It is about time that Congress stopped this nonsense of bundling together unrelated bills in order to prevent reforms.

"And these same countries provide vastly easier access to abortions;"

No they don't. Some also require mandatory counseling and waiting periods.

"And we should remember that those same European countries provide vastly better (and cheaper) prenatal and obstetric care, neonatal care and child care so that most of the things that lead women to wanting an abortion are prevented."

So according to your "the government makes everything wonderful" theory of life, shouldn't there be virtually no abortions in these countries?

"It’s good to have adoption available, but preventing the disaster is a much better solution."

Unborn children are a disaster? Behold, the Culture of Death in all its glory.

Posted by: Brian English | Jul 12, 2013 4:35:12 PM

"But, Catholic doctrine supports free will, even when it leads us to do things wrong."

It recognizes that we are free to choose good or evil, but does not condone us doing evil.

"Latin America countries often have very restrictive abortion laws. They have not been a good answer,"

It has been a good answer for all of those children who were not killed. Do you believe that those countries would be better places if those children had been destroyed before they saw the light of day?

"The average American supports allowing that to be legal; in fact, the first trimester too. Others here would see that as "slaughter." A big moral and religious debate that is."

So then why is there a huge brawl over banning abortions after 20 weeks?

"But, there is a lot that can be done to reduce abortions. There is room for working together."

We can agree on that.

Posted by: Brian English | Jul 12, 2013 4:50:02 PM

This whole discussion still strikes me as bizarre. Again, so what if someone thinks that abortion is morally better than adoption? Those people are sadly mistaken and misguided. We can pity them as sorely misguided, but we don't have to consider their position as having merit.

sean said "Of course you can. And they can say you’re wrong. The problem isn’t what is said but what is done."

What is to be done? We encourage and support the morally right choice of adoption, and we discourage the morally wrong choice of abortion. That's what we do.

(And did sean just say that adoption is taking someone in after a disaster that could have been prevented, while abortion is actually preventing the disaster? I hope he doesn't hold such a disturbing position, so I'll just presume he misspoke.)

Posted by: Thales | Jul 12, 2013 10:29:36 PM

If someone is strongly against abortion, it would to me be far from "bizarre" to fully understand that the "disaster" (e.g., a five day old abortion, according to some strong language in contraceptive mandate threads against Ella) is religious and/or morally motivated. To discourage people to change -- though as sean notes many of the ways to limit abortion are not being done -- you have to understand why they do things and have the knowledge and empathy to do so.

And, this understanding is not present. It still confuses people how contraceptives or abortions in some cases are understood by many people to be appropriate pursuant to their religious beliefs. The people are repeatedly, at times in strong and possibly angry language, said to be motivated by something else, such as selfishness, sexual freedom or whatever. This ignorance is problematic. It leads to misunderstanding, lack of empathy and again failure to try the best approach. As noted, being "sadly mistaken" is possible. "Sadly" is not the emotion that comes out in some of the angry denunciations.

This need not require a person to think a position has "merit." For instance, a person might not think opposition to SSM has merit. But, opposition based on honestly held religious beliefs v. simple ignorance and bigotry (vs. sympathy but belief it is not "marriage") are two different things. It would not be "bizarre" to underline the importance of understanding why. Why is it here?

Posted by: Joe | Jul 12, 2013 11:48:49 PM

If someone is strongly against abortion, it would to me be far from "bizarre" to fully understand that the "disaster" (e.g., a five day old abortion, according to some strong language in contraceptive mandate threads against Ella) is religious and/or morally motivated. To discourage people to change -- though as sean notes many of the ways to limit abortion are not being done -- you have to understand why they do things and have the knowledge and empathy to do so.

And, this understanding is not present. It still confuses people how contraceptives or abortions in some cases are understood by many people to be appropriate pursuant to their religious beliefs. The people are repeatedly, at times in strong and possibly angry language, said to be motivated by something else, such as selfishness, sexual freedom or whatever. This ignorance is problematic. It leads to misunderstanding, lack of empathy and again failure to try the best approach. As noted, being "sadly mistaken" is possible. "Sadly" is not the emotion that comes out in some of the angry denunciations.

This need not require a person to think a position has "merit." For instance, a person might not think opposition to SSM has merit. But, opposition based on honestly held religious beliefs v. simple ignorance and bigotry (vs. sympathy but belief it is not "marriage") are two different things. It would not be "bizarre" to underline the importance of understanding why. Why is it here?

Posted by: Joe | Jul 12, 2013 11:48:49 PM

"And, this understanding is not present. It still confuses people how contraceptives or abortions in some cases are understood by many people to be appropriate pursuant to their religious beliefs."

We know as a scientific fact that a new human being is created at conception. The fact that some religions or some pseudo-scientific materialistic doctrine can be conjured up to justify the destruction of a human being is not confusing; we understand why people do it.

"The people are repeatedly, at times in strong and possibly angry language, said to be motivated by something else, such as selfishness, sexual freedom or whatever."

Isn't that what the vast majority of abortions come down to--this new human being is going to create problems for me, will cause me financial hardship, will cause me public embarrassment, will interfere with my career, wasn't what I bargained for from my drunken hook-up, etc.? What are the noble motives you ascribe to parents, or a parent (and it is often not the mother) who decide to extinguish this new human being?

"As noted, being "sadly mistaken" is possible. "Sadly" is not the emotion that comes out in some of the angry denunciations."

Pro-Lifers have a great deal of sympathy for those faced with unexpected pregnancies. That is why there are so many crisis pregnancy and pregnancy resource centers (entities Sean apparently has absolutely no knowledge of). We also have sympathy for parents who are suffering after abortion (google Rachel's Vineyard).

Posted by: Brian English | Jul 13, 2013 10:52:38 AM

"We know as a scientific fact that a new human being is created at conception. The fact that some religions or some pseudo-scientific materialistic doctrine can be conjured up to justify the destruction of a human being is not confusing; we understand why people do it."

The morality of the death penalty doesn't rise or fall on "scientific facts" of this sort, but things like belief in the sanctity of life and God's role alone in such final justice, so it is unclear how destruction of a fertilized human egg will be determined on such things. If someone wants to stop assisted reproduction, stem cell research involving fertilized eggs or use of Ella five days after conception after a woman is raped, they will have to voice more than "scientific facts" people on both sides are well aware of. As you noted in another context, religion is different from science. So, the "scientific fact" of a human fertilized egg is not the final question any more than vegetarians eating eggs but not chickens. because some believe one but not the other is immoral.

The use of "conjure up" (implying some mystical sketchy thing) underlines the lack of understanding here. It suggests certain beliefs aren't REALLY religious beliefs as such, but things "conjured up," probably in bad faith. Since a range of even mainstream faiths in quite good faith, wrongheaded as you might think the are, have such beliefs, this shows a lack of understanding. If you are going to convince the majority of the population, who is well aware of basic human embryology, that even a five day old fertlized egg of a rape victim must not be aborted, you are going to have to have more "understanding" than that. Finally, perhaps, since you have understanding, you will stop asserting that people taking contraception never have religious motivations for doing so, including prevention of the necessity of at the very least giving up their child for adoption.

"Isn't that what the vast majority of abortions come down to--this new human being is going to create problems for me, will cause me financial hardship, will cause me public embarrassment, will interfere with my career, wasn't what I bargained for from my drunken hook-up, etc.? What are the noble motives you ascribe to parents, or a parent (and it is often not the mother) who decide to extinguish this new human being?"

Isn't that what the vast majority of couples think when they take conception or try not to become pregnant in the first place? People these days usually have only a few children because they believe that is all they can properly handle and take care of. They don't think a "drunken hook-up" is the best start of a family, that lousy beginnings have resulted in unfortunate and tragic cases of unhappiness for all involved. So, they find it immoral to have a child in such cases or more than they can handle. We don't usually think such people merely selfish louts. We think they are carefully deciding to have the children when they can and when it is best for all involved. And, the same motivations occur when an accidential pregnancy arises. The majority of the population thinks, at least early in the pregnancy, that it is moral to use the same motivations to stop the process of pregnancy before a certain stage of development occurs. Now, if you think a fertilized egg being a human fertilized egg is the end of the question, so even taking Ella when you are a fifteen year old rape victim (who after all, cannot kill her live born infant), okay, but that is not the understanding of the majority of people.

"Pro-Lifers have a great deal of sympathy for those faced with unexpected pregnancies. That is why there are so many crisis pregnancy and pregnancy resource centers (entities Sean apparently has absolutely no knowledge of). We also have sympathy for parents who are suffering after abortion (google Rachel's Vineyard). "

The term "sadly mistaken" still does not express the comments regarding how the people here are choosing to abortion for selfish reasons. People who do that are not merely "sadly mistaken" -- that implies unfortunate mistakes. This reply is non-responsive to that point. Sean also is likely aware of such places; it doesn't change the overall truth of his concerns about the overall lack of resources. The sentiment that society does not do enough to help the poor and so forth is not something the Catholic Church etc. is likely to disagree with.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 13, 2013 11:50:37 AM

"take conception" should be "take contraception"

One thing that factors in here is that few actually do give their children up for adoption. It is against human nature really to carry to term, labor for hours or even over a day, see the baby etc. and then give the baby up. It is a special sacrifice that few do, even when their situation is desperate. In some cases, also adoption is unlikely. Foster care etc. is more likely.

Again, if you think use of Ella is "slaughter" and such, abortion is not a suitable alternative here. But, if you think early term, an embryo is not a full human person with the right to life akin to a baby fully term or one further developed (e.g., traditional Islamic practice drew the line in the first few months; some faiths think the spirit enters at some early point of development, and before that a full person is not there), it would be different.

This being the belief of mainstream America, it's an uphill battle, one not really helped by focus on how selfish all these women are, how they are "conjuring" up beliefs etc. But, YMMV.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 13, 2013 12:12:55 PM

It is reasonable to assume that people of Good will can disagree when it comes to determining the best way to take care of the poor and suffering; a person who desires that which is Good for the other, would desire that all persons be treated with Dignity and respect in private as well as in public.

Posted by: Nancy | Jul 13, 2013 12:22:08 PM

" If someone wants to stop assisted reproduction, stem cell research involving fertilized eggs or use of Ella five days after conception after a woman is raped, they will have to voice more than "scientific facts" people on both sides are well aware of."

We are not talking about any of those things. We are talking about a bill that is trying to ban abortions generally after 20 weeks, and has been met with a firestorm of controversy. And let's not forget, the House of Representatives passed a 20 week ban, which the Senate refuses to take up and Obama has promised to veto. Explain to me why there should not be a ban at, at least, 20 weeks.

"The use of "conjure up" (implying some mystical sketchy thing) underlines the lack of understanding here."

No, it means that I understand that people have a temptation to interpret reality in order to support their lifestyles.

"Isn't that what the vast majority of couples think when they take conception or try not to become pregnant in the first place?"

You really are fixated on contraception. That is not what we are talking about. And no one is trying to pass laws to take away your beloved contraception. We are talking about what happens when your societal cure all fails, and we are faced with the presence of an inconvenient human being.

"The majority of the population thinks, at least early in the pregnancy, that it is moral to use the same motivations to stop the process of pregnancy before a certain stage of development occurs."

We are not talking about early stages. We are talking about 20 weeks. I am also asking why this country cannot have bans past 10-14 weeks like most of Europe.

"Sean also is likely aware of such places; it doesn't change the overall truth of his concerns about the overall lack of resources."

So if a child is going to grow up without "adequate resources" (whatever that means) it is okay to kill them before they are born?

"The sentiment that society does not do enough to help the poor and so forth is not something the Catholic Church etc. is likely to disagree with."

But most in the Church do not equate doing more for the poor with pouring more money into government sinkholes that breed lives of dependency and hopelessness. As I pointed out above, religious conservatives do far more for the poor using their own money and time, in contrast to those who think another government program is the answer.

" It is against human nature really to carry to term, labor for hours or even over a day, see the baby etc. and then give the baby up."

So we are back to the "If I can't have you, no one will" mentality. Isn't that a perfect example of selfishness? Isn't the entire abortion mentality about destroying what you see as an interference with your life? You may agonize about it; you may believe you are sparing the child a life of deprivation; but in the end, the child is dead and you are still alive.

"This being the belief of mainstream America, it's an uphill battle, one not really helped by focus on how selfish all these women are, how they are "conjuring" up beliefs etc. But, YMMV."

So my thinking is not in conformity with mainstream America? Thank you.

And it is not always the women. Many women are pressured by boyfriends, parents or husbands into abortion. Why do you think the highest support for abortion is found among young men?

Posted by: Brian English | Jul 14, 2013 12:18:23 PM