A Debate on Abortion

About once a month I consider closing my Facebook account.  It's so easy to get sucked into wasting a lot of time pretending to foster a connection with 400 "friends".  But every month (so far) I decide to stay because of social media's evangelization potential.  Even Pope Benedict urged Catholics to have a presence on the internet; the New Evangelization demands it.

With that in mind, I tend to shake things up a bit on Facebook.  I've been "unfriended" more than once for this, but so be it.  I'm not going to use it just to tell the world what shoes I decided to wear today and post pictures of the unique cloud formation I saw on my way to work.  If people are willing to engage on the things that matter (which is rare), count me in.

Here is a debate I recently had regarding abortion.  During serious discussions regarding religion or politics, I often find that people tend not to answer a point or counter-point, but rather just move on to another argument.  That's what I thought "Julieta" was doing in this case, but apparently she thought the same thing about me.  "You're not open to hearing anything I say," she said.  Am I missing something?

[IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you have been involved with an abortion, this is NOT a condemnation of you.  No sin is too big for God's ocean of mercy!  Please see a priest and/or visit Project Rachel.]

  • Julieta If you are against abortion, the last thing you should be working for is making abortion illegal. Why? Because just like guns, drugs, and every other thing humans do, making something illegal doesn't stop it from happening. In fact, illegalizing abortion kills many, many full grown women, too. If you believe abortion is wrong, then it should your mission to work towards creating a world where no woman would ever make that decision. We currently do not live in that world.
  • Ryan Legal abortions kill many adult women now, and the founder of NARAL has admitted to grossly inflating the actual numbers of women dying from illegal abortions pre-Roe. I strongly agree with you that we live in a very disordered world, and we should all work towards creating a culture "where no woman would ever make that decision" (I would add "or man or parent would pressure a woman to make that decision."). In fact, that's part of what I do for a living. It's also true that making abortion illegal would not eliminate 100% of abortions, but why does it follow that we should keep it legal? I think we should work towards creating a culture where no man would ever want to abuse his wife. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't also want to make spousal abuse illegal, even if it "happens anyway." A culture-shift is needed for sure, but making it illegal would not only eliminate around one million abortions each year, it would also go a long way in re-forming the culture. Why can't it be both? Why can't we save babies by changing hearts and supporting pregnant women, as well as by passing laws that give ALL human beings, regardless of size, environment, or level of development, the legal right to life?
  • Julieta I come from a country where abortion was illegal. I do not need statistics as I learned directly from doctors working in the emergency rooms who saw the results of those policies and worked to change them. And legal abortions do not kill many women now... or if you think they do then be prepared to quadruple those rates. Abortion needs to be legal because in the USA we have separation of church and state. And if you are a religious person then you know that those protections were put there specifically to protect you and your beliefs. And we do not currently have laws that give children the right to anything. They are "protected" only after they have been abused, humiliated... broken. Many of the children who are born to women or girls unprepared emotionally, physically and financially to bear children will suffer enormously. They will be abused and abandoned... the foster system and the prisons are full of children like this, and they have NO RIGHTS. They are the leftovers, and make no mistake, they are damaged. But this does not matter. What matters is that each woman has the RIGHT to make that decision for herself, because she is a fully functional human being, who by law has the right to make decisions governing her own body. Forcing a woman to carry a child against her will is the worst kind of cruelty.

  • Ryan For the record, I looked up the statistics. According to the CDC, in 1972 (the year before Roe v Wade), 24 women died from legal abortions and 39 died from illegal ones. Since Roe, an average of 11 women (not to mention 1.3 million babies) per year die from (legal) abortions.

    While religious beliefs may strengthen one's conviction on this and many other issues, the case against abortion does not rely on religious beliefs at all. It can be based purely on science and a basic belief in the right to life. Even many atheists are strongly opposed to abortion.

    I don't understand how you can claim that "children have NO RIGHTS". So children, whether under the care of their parents or in the foster system, don't have the right to life? It's legal to kill them?

    I agree that women "have the right to make decisions governing her own body", but what does that have to do with the right to end the life of another human being?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but part of your argument seems to indicate that abortion is also the best option for the children themselves, that it's better to be killed than to live amidst such "hardship", and you believe there is no hope for them. In response, first, what about adoption, since there is a long waiting list of couples wishing to adopt newborns? Second, I'd be interested in your thoughts on this scenario: if the mother of a two-year-old suddenly falls into extreme "emotional, physical, and/or financial" hardship, should she have the right to kill her child, or should the law protect that two-year-old from being killed?

    Julieta There is no science that backs up the religious view, and there is NO ONE that is pro-abortion. People are pro-choice or anti-choice, That's it, but that doesn't matter. What matters is whether you view women simply as incubators or as people who have the right to control their own bodies. Last time I checked it takes two people to conceive a baby, but only one is reduced to being an incubator. And that's why the law is what it is.
  • Ryan The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition... Langman's Medical Embryology, 10th edition... Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 7th edition... Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition... Essentials of Human Embryology... Patten's Human Embryology... Biological Principles and Modern Practice of Obstetrics... Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant, 3rd edition
  • All of these (and many more) science textbooks teach that life begins at conception. (Even National Geographic confirms this.) In fact, can you find a single science textbook that says otherwise?

    And if abortion is perfectly just and morally fine, then why not be pro-abortion? And what would you think of the position, "I'm not pro-slavery, but I'm pro-choice, that is, for the right of the owner to control his plantation."?

    You never addressed what "the right to control their own bodies" has to do with the right to kill another human being?

    When men fail to take responsibility for the conception of a baby, we take them to court, garnish their wages, and call them "deadbeats" (rightfully so!). Why then, when a woman fails to take this same responsibility, you defend/celebrate her right to "eliminate" her responsibility and call her a "freedom fighter"?

    I certainly don't see how motherhood "reduces" the dignity of women. Incubator?! How dehumanizing! Since most women are "anti-choice", do they view themselves as "incubators"?

    I view women as the most beautiful creature on earth, the crescendo of creation. It is legalized abortion that helps reduce her to an object to be used by men rather than a precious gift to be loved. It is legalized abortion that helps let men get away with using women. It is legalized abortion that helps reduce sex to a sterile, selfish act of lust, rather than an expression of total, fruitful self-giving love. Women deserve better.

    Julieta You are very confused and most definitely need a logic class. No one is PRO-abortion. Most women are PRO-CHOICE. Motherhood does not reduce dignity, and I never said that. Please DO NOT put words in my mouth. What I said was that FORCING a woman to carry a baby she doesn't want and isn't ready for is CRUEL. It is. You are in dire need of a logic class. But I'm done discussing with you as you are clearly not open to hearing anything I say.
  • Ryan I looked up the latest Gallup Poll, and I stand corrected. Women identify as pro-choice by 50-41. However, only 21% of Americans overall think abortion should be legal in all circumstances. Nevertheless, I still ask, does that mean 41% of women (those "anti-choicers") think of themselves as incubators?
  • So is it cruel to force a dad to pay child support and take care of a child he doesn't want and isn't ready for? Is it cruel to force a mother to feed and take care of a 2-year-old she doesn't want and isn't ready for? Is it cruel to violently dismember a child or crush his skull?

    As for logic classes and not being "open to hearing anything you say", I find this charge curious. Anyone can look at this thread and see that I've addressed nearly every argument you've made (even if I misunderstood one or two of them, for which I apologize), while you have hardly addressed a single one of my points or answered a single one of my questions.

    Julieta Percentage of Americans believing something means nothing... or we'd still have slavery, segregation in schools and leaglized discrimination. These are but a few of the many "popular" ideas, none of which were moral that are no longer legal here. What is ethical is not a matter of public opinion all women who are anti-choice have every right to make that choice for themselves. That's the point. Being pro-choice does not mean that I force abortion upon any woman. It only means that until the day comes when no woman would ever make that choice, the ethical thing to do is keep it legal, regulated, safe and accessible to the women who, for lack of better terminology, have no other option. Your points do not address mine at all. But I don't expect you to see this either... You should also be very, very careful when it comes to erasing the separation of church and state. Because if it's okay for Christians to do it, it will also have to be okay for Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, and a whole range of other religions which you may or may not like. Those separations are there to protect those who practice religion.
  • Ryan When have I used Christianity in my arguments?
  • So you think it's immoral to own another human being, but it's moral to kill one?

    We don't "force abortion upon any woman"? I think the millions of baby girls killed each year (at a higher rate than boys) would definitely take exception to that statement! Why is adoption not "another option"? And what about the women in the same circumstances with older children? Should they be able to kill their children if they "have no other option"?

    Eric can we be against something but not use the law to force everybody else to conform to our norms? does it always have to "either/or, for/against"? as far as the abortion issue, why do most that are against abortion are for the death penalty? without protection by the law, the risks and harm always increase. just because one believes a woman has a right to choose does not mean they are for abortion and/or want to kill babies. early term abortions aren't even human like, so does that mean everybody that uses birth control is actually killing babies because they are killing the sperm or egg life.

    Ryan Welcome to the conversation, Eric. I'll take a stab at answering your questions.

    • "can we be against something but not use the law to force everybody else to conform to our norms?"
      Sure, in some cases. But that can't be applied to all matters of justice, otherwise we'd have no laws and no civil society. In fact, every law is an attempt to force everybody to conform to a certain "norm". What if I wanted to ignore red lights or beat my wife, aren't you all for forcing me to conform to your norm against that, for the sake of social order and justice?

      "does it always have to "either/or, for/against"?"
      I suppose it could be neutral if one hasn't made up his/her mind on a topic. Is there another option?

      "why do most that are against abortion are for the death penalty?"
      Do you have some statistics on that? I don't know a single one of all my pro-life friends who is "for the death penalty." That being said, "against abortion but for the death penalty" isn't necessarily a contradictory position. Capital punishment and the killing of the most innocent in the womb are very different things.

      "without protection by the law, the risks and harm always increase." I agree! Without protection by the law, the safest place on earth (the womb) has become the most dangerous (with only an 80% chance of making it out alive in America; 50% if you're African American!).

      "just because one believes a woman has a right to choose does not mean they are for abortion and/or want to kill babies"
      Why do people love to hide behind the slick marketing euphemism "pro-choice"? When else is this type of logic utilized? That's like saying, just because I'm for the plantation owner's right/choice to own slaves, doesn't mean I'm for slavery or want to own slaves. And if there's no ethical problem with abortion, then why not just be "pro-abortion"?

      "early term abortions aren't even human like"
      So the killing of a living human being is justified as long as the victim is not "human like"? Who determines what is "human like"? Are severely deformed or disabled human beings "human like"? How about unrecognizable burn victims? Don't all human beings, regardless of size or appearance, deserve legal protection from being killed?

      "so does that mean everybody that uses birth control is actually killing babies because they are killing the sperm or egg life."
      A sperm is not a human being, and neither is an egg. It is when sperm and egg unite (fertilization) that a new human being with unique DNA comes into existence. Despite what Jon Stewart or MSNBC might think, this is an irrefutable fact of biology. While most "birth control" tries to prevent fertilization/conception, many forms of it do indeed act as an abortifacient (at least) as a "back-up" line of "defense". (Some of these are what Hobby Lobby objects to.) So it is likely that most women on most forms of "birth control" will have a few abortions without even knowing it.

    • Eric Norms are not crimes big difference. Norms that dont cause harm are not the same as crime that does cause harm. Laws should not cause harm against people who have not harmed anyone. Locking up people for norms vs harmful crimes isn’t justice. 

    • There certainly is other options. Not being for or against doesnt mean one is neutral, we can take stances without forcing other to live our belief systems. Why can’t we work together on principles and agree to disagree and live and let live with things in disagreement.

      I don’t have statistics, just my personal study of friends, family, neighbors, etc over 40+ years. My opinion do have stats that say otherwise? Killing a womb could be highly debated whether that is really taking a life or not whereas, killing a live person is a big difference.

      Do you have stats on the 80% out alive? It’s debatable whether that is life. What about the alive woman that risks her life without protection of the law?

      That’s the opposition’s argument if you allow something than you are pro. Ridiculous! Nobody wants to kill babies and the mother knows what is best for individual situation than any government, institution or mob that wants to force the individual to their belief systems.

      The problem with all your references is you are considering a fertilized egg a human. Does an egg have the same rights as a chicken? That is highly debated by all people in this country and if it debated 51% should not have the right to use the government to force the other 49% to their belief system.

      A fertilized egg is not a human either, just like a sperm our unfertilized egg is not a human either so your point?

      also since we brought abortion into this and not war why do all the religious sects constantly want war?

    • Ryan "Norms that dont cause harm are not the same as crime that does cause harm"
      If killing an unborn child by an injection to the heart, dismemberment, crushing his/her skull, or burning with saline is not a "crime that does harm", then I don't know what is.

      "Why can’t we work together on principles and agree to disagree and live and let live with things in disagreement."
      If we lived by this mantra, then nobody would have ever fought against the injustices of slavery, segregation, etc. And we'd have no laws that "force" child molesters, rapists, and thieves to "live our belief systems".

      "Do you have stats on the 80% out alive?"
      Yes. The CDC and the Guttmacher Institute (research arm of Planned Parenthood) have tons of stats on abortion. 1 in 5 pregnancies overall in the US ends with abortion. This, of course, does not count all the chemical abortions mentioned above, which makes the numbers much worse. It's also much worse for African Americans. Abortion kills twice as many blacks each year than does all other causes COMBINED. Yikes. 

      "What about the alive woman that risks her life without protection of the law? "
      You'll have to explain this question. What women (I assume you're talking about adult females, not unborn females) don't have "protection of the law"?

      "Nobody wants to kill babies"
      With babies being killed in America to the tune of 3,300+ per day, I think it's safe to say this is a false statement.

      "the mother knows what is best for individual situation"
      Again, by this logic, then we should allow mothers to kill their children at any age. 2-year-olds, 5-year-olds, etc.

      "Does an egg have the same rights as a chicken?"
      I'm glad you brought this up! I don't know what rights a chicken has, but eagles are protected by law, with punishments including heavy fines, imprisonment, and even a felony. And guess what? Eagle eggs have the same protections! Go figure.

      "why do all the religious sects constantly want war?"
      This is a red herring, but I only know of one "religious sect" that "constantly wants war", and it's certainly not Catholicism.

      "[when life begins] is highly debated by all people in this country"
      As Julieta mentioned above, true justice is not determined by popular opinion. Neither is a simple biological fact. See above for the many science textbooks I listed that teach life begins at conception. Can you name a single science textbook that says otherwise? The only reason this question is "highly debated" is because people conveniently seek to deny the humanity of the unborn (in the face of obvious facts) in order to justify the slaughter, much in the same way that Nazis dehumanized Jews in order to justify the holocaust. 

      So it comes down to this, Eric. If you reject biology/science, when do you think life begins? And please provide evidence to back up this belief; otherwise, there is no reason you can justify forcing your unfounded (religious? philosophical?) belief upon millions of unborn children.


      You started your life in the womb. And you won't believe your eyes when you see these incredible images of human development before birth!

       The end.  No more responses from "Julieta" or "Eric".

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