We may be seeing the house of cards starting to fall. Recent polls indicating a growing nationwide affinity to the pro-life position prompted self-described "atheist and a secular kinda guy" Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi to announce in a column yesterday he's lining up with the new majority:
After a life of being pro-choice, I began to seriously ponder the question. I oppose the death penalty because there is a slim chance that an innocent person might be executed and I don't believe the state should have the authority to take a citizen's life.?
So don't I owe an nascent human life at least the same deference? Just in case?
You may not consider a fetus a "human life" in early pregnancy, though it has its own DNA and medical science continues to find ways to keep the fetus viable outside the womb earlier and earlier.
But it's difficult to understand how those who harp about the importance of "science" in public policy can draw an arbitrary timeline in the pregnancy, defining when human life is worth saving and when it can be terminated.
The more I thought about it, the creepier the issue got....
I'm sure it was difficult for Harsanyi to write that column, beginning to distance himself from his culture on its cornerstone point. Then again, gaining a sense that one's belief is not only noble but popular may embolden more, hence my thought we may be seeing the house of cards start to fall. Harsanyi is not quite there, but he's on his way:
Now, I happen to believe... that the right to life and liberty is the foundation of a moral society. Then again, I also believe a government ban on abortion would only criminalize the procedure and do little to mitigate the amount of abortions.
I wrote this as a comment response to Harsanyi:
There is no law that has not been broken. But we do not stop making them. It would appear that laws against child porn have done little to mitigate child porn, but we do not abandon the law and forsake the children.
At any rate, I think your premise is faulty. Laws restricting abortion have indeed mitigated it - from parental notice before a minor aborts to 24-hour waiting periods before abortions. It stands to reason that making abortion illegal will lower the number of abortions.
[HT: Dougy, moderator Chris]
"You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free" - Jesus ChristPosted by: HisMan at May 28, 2009 10:17 AM
"But it's difficult to understand how those who harp about the importance of "science" in public policy can draw an arbitrary timeline in the pregnancy, defining when human life is worth saving and when it can be terminated."
This is an excellent point, one that must continue to be pushed.Posted by: Bobby Bambino at May 28, 2009 10:41 AM
This is wonderful news! He made excellent points in his article.Posted by: Joanne at May 28, 2009 10:55 AM
How do you get from, "We do not know whether this is protectable human life," to "Therefore, we will not protect it?" Wouldn't the logic just as likely(some would say FAR more likely)be, "Since we do not know whether this is protectable human life, therefore we WILL protect it." Why does the judicial uncertainty about the humanity of the unborn lead to unbridled license to destroy it?
Posted by: Carla
at May 28, 2009 11:15 AM
John Piper 2003 The Darkness of Abortion and the Light of Truth
Thanks for the heads-up Jill!Posted by: Phil Onochie at May 28, 2009 11:23 AM
The difference between his hypothetical scenario for the death penalty and abortion is that he wants to protect an adult from the death penalty just in case they are innocent, while there is never a "just in case" alternative scenario in which the baby should be killed or a "just in case" scenario in which the baby should be protected. Babies should be protected always. But it's good to see some of the hypocrisy fading away... We frown on the death penalty even for murderers, while we say that a woman's right to kill her baby is essential for her liberty and health and well being.
There almost isn't a line to cross anymore between unborn and born - now people are promoting lowering the penalty for infanticide so that the U.S. can be more "civilized."Posted by: Amy Philo at May 28, 2009 12:12 PM
Laws restricting abortion have indeed mitigated it - from parental notice before a minor aborts to 24-hour waiting periods before abortions. It stands to reason that making abortion illegal will lower the number of abortions
I have to say after being a product of catholic schooling and not having dialogue with my paremts and church... I became a victim of abortion and most of my female friends in the same boat agree that if the Supreme Court had not deemed it "legal, safe and simple", we would have had our children and now our grandchildren surroundong us now. The Supreme Court can be wromg. In that case we would have not had the after effects of our our barren wombs, regrets, health issues and metal struggles, but oh yes, we have to honor our right to privacy and the right to kill our own child. And when that right has compromised our fertilty, then we always have the right to a fertility mill to recreate that baby.
Oh yeah ... and we can exploit them too in a reality show. Never mind the fact that there are babies and children that really need to be adopted for the purely simple reason of being a parent. But we need to fulfilled and have our DNA recreated in the lab....yeah that makes sense.
Jill said: "There is no law that has not been broken. But we do not stop making them. It would appear that laws against child porn have done little to mitigate child porn, but we do not abandon the law and forsake the children."
Excellent point. If The US were to legalize porn based on "the right to privacy" as it has for abortion, there would be outrage. Kudos to David Hardanyi for his article.Posted by: Janet at May 28, 2009 1:35 PM
Pick up a dictionary sometime, Emma. It will tell you what "prolife" means.Posted by: Doyle Chadwick at May 28, 2009 2:45 PM
go away Emma. Your side is losing (lost).Posted by: angel at May 28, 2009 3:05 PM
So angel you believe someone can believe abortion should be legal on some cases and call themselves prolife?Posted by: Anonymous at May 28, 2009 3:08 PM
Emma, you are missing the point -- people are beginning to see abortion for what it is -- the killing of innocent human beings. We pray that in time these people will come around to fully embracing life. In the meantime, it is good news.Posted by: Eileen #2 at May 28, 2009 3:28 PM
Wow you are really running with this "pro life majority" claim aren't you! I see here that lifesitenews is even using it. Does this mean that pro life now includes those that believe abortion should be legal at least some of the time?
Posted by: Emma at May 28, 2009 2:16 PM
More blatant disregard for facts. Emma will only post opinions that support her claims . Concrete evidence? Who needs it!?Posted by: Kristen at May 28, 2009 3:55 PM
Sorry, that should be: so does this mean you can be Pro Life and believe that all or some abortions should LEGAL? Because that's what we're hearing with this.Posted by: Emma at May 28, 2009 4:49 PM
Speaking only for myself, Emma I would like to see all abortions become illegal AND unthinkable.Posted by: Carla at May 28, 2009 5:09 PM
Posted by: Emma at May 28, 2009 4:18 PM
Oh NOW you're posting percentages? Why not on the other thread? Oh yeah, because you couldn't find any to back up your unfounded claim.Posted by: Kristen at May 28, 2009 5:25 PM
Intellectual honesty is the key here. Congrats to David for searching until he found the truth.Posted by: Jerry at May 28, 2009 6:31 PM
This may not exactly be the answer you're looking for, but my impression of most pro-life folks is they place the highest emphasis on changing cultural notions rather than outlawing abortion. So I'm not sure if it IS accurate to say that pro-life necessarily means wanting all abortions illegal. Generally speaking, they view the legality of abortion to be the direct result of a wounded and misguided society. Simply overturning Roe v. Wade won't magically solve the complex social issue of unplanned pregnancy and abortion. I think most serious pro-life people realize this, and therefore focus on information about the humanity of the unborn and abortion's hurtful affect on women and promote positive alternatives (pregnancy prevention, adoption, parenting resources, etc). Abortion becoming illegal may be a large piece of the puzzle for the pro-life vision, an achievement they would hopefully consider the result of a significant cultural change, but I'm still not sure changing the law necessarily defines the pro-life position.
Did that make any sense at all?Posted by: Janette at May 28, 2009 8:10 PM
See why I have no time for you Kristen?
Posted by: Emma at May 28, 2009 5:40 PM
You have no time for me because you are a poor debater and cannot hold an intelligent conversation.
If you actually READ my comment I wasn't negating your observation. I was simply pointing out that you use polls and percentages when it fits you but when they don't support your argument you refuse to provide proof for your statements. Willful ignorance.Posted by: Kristen at May 28, 2009 8:39 PM
The majority opinion in this country appears to be to ban abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. That will be too permissive for some people, and too stringent for other people, but that appears to be the majority view right now. And that would ban 95-98% of all abortions.Posted by: bmmg39 at May 28, 2009 8:58 PM
Rape or incest: 70% legal 21% illegal
Life of Mother: 73% legal 15% illegal
Pregnancy unwanted: 39% legal 50% illegalPosted by: Kristen at May 28, 2009 9:15 PM
Yes, Kristen, that's a very important fact. Today's law does not reflect the majority opinion of the public. The problem is that many people are ignorant of current law. Most people believe that abortions are not common and are much more regulated than it is. Thus, many people fail to recognize the importance of the abortion debate.
Most people are AGAINST the notion of terminating a pregnancy based solely on the idea of the baby being "unwanted." Today's law represents the extreme position that abortion should be legal for every single pregnancy, at practically every stage of development, using any means possible, and for any reason whatsoever.Posted by: segamon at May 28, 2009 10:01 PM
Well if the poll you cite figures from is the one bmmg is referring to kristen, there are two points to me made:
The majority also approved abortion when the mothers mental health is at risk (56%) or the baby had a fatal birth defect (63%). Furthermore, the question asked was not "are these these the only cases when you think abortion should be legal?" but rather, " should
abortion be allowed in this case?"
Another poll further down the list shows similar results.Posted by: Anonymous at May 28, 2009 10:02 PM
"The majority also approved abortion when the mothers mental health is at risk (56%) or the baby had a fatal birth defect (63%)."
Why not let nature take its course in the case of fatal birth defect? What if the diagnosis is incorrect? It happens.Posted by: Janet at May 29, 2009 9:39 PM
I guess the reason people on here are excited about the majority identifying themselves as pro-life, and aren't concerned with the particulars of what that means regarding legality or exceptions, is that it represents the cultural shift that I spoke of in my earlier post. True, they may debate amongst themselves about what it means to be truly pro-life, but that seems to be more of a 'members-only' concern, you know? Kind of like how political parties are pleased when more people vote their way, but save the arguments about party doctrine for when it's 'just them chickens.' So I don't think in this case is so much of a hypocrisy or dishonesty issue, but more about relevancy - sometimes the debate is about highlighting the evolution of public sentiment towards abortion, sometimes it's about the various views within the pro-life movement.
Sorry I'm so slow to respond. I'm a busy lady.Posted by: Janette at May 29, 2009 10:18 PM
" And people here are very adamant that prolife means all abortions should be illegal."
I would beg to differ. Janette explained it very well. I've been reading at Jill's for a few years now and I've also noticed that "pro-lifers" define themselves along a broad spectrum. Some feel very strongly in their views but to date there has been no consensus. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong.)
Since there is no consensus, from one poll to the next these same "inconsistencies" will occur, but they should balance each other out in the long run. Over time there should still be recognizable trends. You have every right to disagree. I don't see any "dishonesty" here.Posted by: Janet at May 30, 2009 10:48 AM
Emma, I personally believe that elective abortion should be illegal. That includes in the cases of rape or incest (though I'd have to say the the majority of people who are pro-life believe that in the case of rape or incest, it is acceptable to abort. I personally do not, but I'm not going to say those people aren't "pro-life." I believe they are, and they just need to step back and really *think* about that particular caveat in their belief structure). The majority of people do not believe abortion should be available for any reason throughout all nine months of pregnancy. The trend is toward pro-life, thanks to the truth now being revealed by ultrasound. Why is it that the majority of abortion-minded women who see their ultrasounds choose to carry to term? The truth is a powerful thing.
In saving the life (not to be confused with "health") of the mother, you do not have an "elective" procedure... you have as a result of trying to save one life, the unfortunate secondary result of the death of another human being who is dependent on that life. Not the same thing.
I once considered myself "pro-life with exceptions." I'm not anymore, and it is a result of my experience with women in crisis pregnancy and rape situations, as well as really thinking through my stance. Now I am pro-life without exceptions. We do have a fairly wide spectrum of belief, whether you like it or not. I think many PCers are the same way... they'll call themselves "pro-choice" up until a certain point in gestation and then "it's not okay anymore."
They need to ask themselves why. Often, if they do, they come to the conclusion that life isn't arbitrary.Posted by: Kel at May 30, 2009 1:00 PM
I also would still consider someone to be pro-life if they wanted to keep it legal for extreme circumstances such as incest and rape. That's not my particular stance, but I would include "pro-life with rare exceptions" under the pro-life umbrella.
Now you've got me curious to see what others here think. Is it pro-life with no exceptions? Or can the exception people get into the green room, too?
Okay kel, so I stand corrected in your case. If someone said they were pro life but they thought abortion should be legal you would still consider them to be pro life.
Posted by: Emma at May 30, 2009 3:31 PM
I would consider them to be "pro-life leaning" if they believed abortion should be legal only in extreme circumstances such as rape or incest, as Janette has said. I am not saying that *I* believe it to be permissible in any case... it is not permissible, to me. Not at all.
I agree with Janette when she says, "That's not my particular stance, but I would include 'pro-life with rare exceptions' under the pro-life umbrella." It IS under the pro-life umbrella. I personally, however, am pro-life without exceptions, meaning under no circumstance do I believe elective abortion should be legal.
I do not see the need to ostracize persons who hold to the pro-life with extreme exceptions position, but I do see the need to further educate them as to the personhood and value of the unborn, regardless of circumstances surrounding conception.
Hopefully you can see where I'm coming from.
Posted by: Kel
at May 31, 2009 12:02 AM
I think you and I are on the exact same page, Kel. I understand that some people are hesitant to throw those exceptions out but very pleased that they recognize the humanity of the unborn and want almost all abortions stopped. And I still would encourage them to 'think backwards' and ask themselves 'if I believe abortion is wrong because it takes an innocent human life, why is it ok to take an innocent human life based on circumstances that are beyond that life's control?'
I can see a few reasons why people are hesitant to be completely pro-life. One reason is that a popular pro-life argument is that people should not violate the rights of others to avoid their responsibilities. This is a good thought, but it obviously doesn't apply to rape, so those that lean heavily on the responsibility argument don't have much logical ground to stand on and file it under 'exceptions.' But I view the responsibility argument as merely a supplemental argument that is not always relevant. Another reason I believe people are hesitant to be completely pro-life are the erroneous generalizatins about pro-life individuals: that to be pro-life is to be anti-women or a relgious zealot or a moral extremist. I think sometimes people want to keep a sense of credibility with the opposition so they aren't dismissed as a stereotype or ridiculed.
And of course I'm sure there are many that genuinely believe that very extreme and unfortunate circumstances are grounds for taking an unborn human life. Personally, I don't believe that a truly progressive civilization responds to violent acts with more violent acts. We recognize rape as absolutely horrific and if that act results in a pregnancy, we also recognize how truly agonizing and confusing that must be for the new mother. But we know that we cannot remove all unfairness from the human experience, especially not by perpetuating the unfairness through killing. It is not anti-woman to respond compassionately to both her needs and the needs of her unborn child.
I have often seen the pro-life including rape position portrayed as cold hearted. But I have also read many testimonials of post abortive rape victims who wish someone had encouraged her to bring her child to term. I have read testimonials of rape victims who found healing and comfort in parenting the child. I have met someone who was raped at 14 which resulted in her now 6 year old girl and the love between mother and daughter is overwhelmingly obvious. Opening our minds to offering full support to rape victims and their children and desiring the best possible outcome for both parties is anything but cold-hearted.
Sorry, I kind of got carried way there...Posted by: Janette at May 31, 2009 1:17 PM