November 30, 2020

A vision of life

Important words from Jake Meador at Mere Orthodoxy

Refuge (2020)

[T]he goal of the pro-life movement is not simply that Roe would be overturned but that ours would be a society friendly to life. As long as our laws allow for the killing of the unborn we cannot claim to be such a society. But the erasure of such laws will not, in itself, absolve us of the charge of being a society that is deeply inhumane and hostile to life. Justice is not appeased simply through the changing of civil law; it is appeased when we render to each what they are due. It is achieved, in other words, through repentance, through the acknowledging that we do not render to each what they are due and through a resolution to amend our ways so that we would do that.

And this is what makes the embrace of Trump as a pro-life champion so damaging to the movement: It substitutes politique for mystique and in so doing it diminishes the goals of the pro-life movement, reducing them from the lofty and inspiring ideal of creating a society hospitable to life down to simply overturning a badly argued Supreme Court ruling. And by reducing the ideal in this way it actually drains the life from the pro-life movement, rendering it equivalent to any other political advocacy group whose sole objective is narrowly political in nature.

At its best, the pro-life cause promotes not a particular political agenda item, but a comprehensive way of being in the world, a posture toward reality that is welcoming and exuberant, a vision of life that contradicts on every level the culture of death that has been ascendant in the west for the past century.

• From The Mystique of the Pro-Life Movement

Comments

  1. Christiane says

    prominent people became oh-so-pious AFTER certain issues became political . . . but no one is fooled by how the politicians played the game and manipulated the voters:

    a reality check from the past: the SBC’s stand BEFORE abortion became a hot political issue

    “Resolution On Abortion
    St. Louis, Missouri – 1971
    Tags: abortion, sanctity of life

    WHEREAS, Christians in the American society today are faced with difficult decisions about abortion; and

    WHEREAS, Some advocate that there be no abortion legislation, thus making the decision a purely private matter between a woman and her doctor; and

    WHEREAS, Others advocate no legal abortion, or would permit abortion only if the life of the mother is threatened;

    Therefore, be it RESOLVED, that this Convention express the belief that society has a responsibility to affirm through the laws of the state a high view of the sanctity of human life, including fetal life, in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves; and

    Be it further RESOLVED, That we call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother ”
    http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/13/resolution-on-abortion

    • Christiane, you are a Catholic. Do your beliefs about abortion line up with the teaching of your own church? As far as the SBC goes, 1971 is a long time ago now. That was before the conservative resurgence. There have also been a lot of medical advances, particularly in imaging, of the child in the womb, that have changed peoples minds.

      • The publicized views on abortion among conservative evangelicals began to change shortly after this, in the mid to late 70s, and it wasn’t really medical advances that did it. It was the fact that the moral majority and other conservatives saw an issue they could weaponize to gain political power. That approach basically started the culture wars. Serious scientific knowledge and moral nuance were rare among this crowd and certainly not the driving forces behind these changes. Further evidence of this was the initial reaction to the AIDS epidemic, but that is a whole other topic for another day.

      • are you a russian bot ?

        • Probably time to put that put-down in your back pocket, anon. Not sure it’s all the helpful.

    • Christiane, Did your family get back from China?

      • Christiane says

        YES ! My nephew’s new father-in-law is a government official in China and he arranged for my brother and the family to get a flight . . . I had thought they were flying into S.Fran but it was L.A. and yes, their temperatures were all taken upon landing . . . so there is some screening going on of incoming flights from China, which seems as it should be.

        All is well. Thank you for asking. I am so glad they’re home safe. They will rest for a while and separate and fly in all directions: DC and Charlottesville and Ohio . . .

        I’m told they had a wonderful time until the crisis began and have many photos of the wedding which was traditional and all the bride’s family was present . . . many pictures were taken and I’ll get to see them soon.

        I was quite worried, so now can rest also. 🙂

        • Thank God.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Morning drive-time talked about a planeload of American diplomats and dependents evacuated from Wuhan who were being routed to March AFB for several days of quarantine. They were originally supposed to go through Ontario Airport (which does have facilities for this) but there was apparently too much uproar about using a public civilian airport.

          There was also speculation about “three days quarantine — what if it takes up to two weeks to surface?” During which (according to a Chinese official) you’re a carrier.

          There is also a rumor (word of mouth and/or Internet, not radio) that there’s a Chinese Army Bioweapons lab in the Wuhan area and this was an accidental containment breach (like the opening scene of The Stand). While the incubation carrier time argues for weaponization, the lower contagion and lethality argue against it. You want a bioweapon to be as contagious as measles and as deadly as Ebola.

  2. I don’t believe that a blastocyst is a human person from the moment of conception, anymore than a severed human arm is. As a result, I’m in favor of a gradualist approach to legal protections for the developing embryo/fetus, and a balancing act between the reproductive rights of mother, including considerations of her health and well-being, and the right-to-life of the developing being in the womb. I don’t believe that balance has been achieved in America, and in some ways I think Roe vs. Wade made it more difficult to achieve it; it is now an either/or-good/evil fight to the finish between the warring factions, with the absolutists on either end controlling the discourse and political strategies.

    But if I did believe that the developing life in the womb was a human person from the moment of conception, Meador’s argument would not be convincing to me. It would seem like making making perfect the enemy of good.

    • Correction: ….anymore than a severed human arm is a person.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      This is somewhat reflective of the Jewish position on abortion: Nuanced, complicated, allowing for different positions.

      https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/529077/jewish/Judaism-and-Abortion.htm

    • At what point in your opinion does the fetus become a human person?

      • I don’t know. What I do know is that if you can sum up your position on a bumper sticker you probably haven’t thought about enough.

        • David Greene says

          +1

        • –> “What I do know is that if you can sum up your position on a bumper sticker you probably haven’t thought about enough.”

          Oh, I don’t know. I’ve been a Christian for 30+ years now and have thought about it A LOT, and I think it can still be summed up with the simple “Jesus Saves.”

      • Burro (Mule) says

        Very few people can do the heavy philosophical lifting to determine the personhood or non-personhood of embryos and fetuses. I know I am not equal to the task, and what term can be so fraught with meaning for an Orthodox Christian as the word ‘person’? The question of personhood not a question easily resolved by a society whose dominant view of the human person is that of an autonomous self-directed rights-bearer whose web of privileges and responsibilities with other autonomous self-directed rights-bearers is determined in skein of legalism. This legalism has, over the previous dozen or so decades, slowly dissolved away all the other institutions that supported the concept of personhood like an acidic drip on limestone.

        “Hi! I’m Ted, and this is my attorney. This is Grace, my wife, and her attorney. These are my kids, Ted, Jr. and Meghan, and their attorneys and the people in the back are our interstitial diversity advisors”

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Note that Ted and Grace and the kids are in rags while their attorneys are in $500 suits and their interstitial diversity advisors are wearing $300 Birkenstocks.

      • I would think it has something to do with when the central nervous system is sufficiently developed and connected to at least anticipate the functioning of an autonomous human body and mind. But I don’t think it is a question for one person to answer; it is a collaborative answer, involving society as a whole. But the idea that a blastocyst is a human person is absurd to me, and I would bet to most Americans; you can’t justify holding the mother’s autonomy hostage against the claims of such an undeveloped and barely differentiated biological entity.

        Now I have two questions for you: Do you think that abortion is permissible under any circumstances? If you do, what would those circumstances be?

        • That’s an equally hard question. I will say I don’t think that abortions simply to get out of having a child to deal with are permissible.

          • If abortion is at all points in pregnancy equivalent to murder of a fully human person in its moral gravity, then it’s hard to see how any exceptions could be made for whatever reasons, just as there can be no exceptions to the rule that murder is always morally impermissible. To get to any exceptions, the human life in the womb has to be considered of less value than that of the mother, and/or not fully human; otherwise it is murder plain and simple. If you allow any exception, which your answer seems to indicate, then you must not consider the life in the womb, at that stage of development and/or under those circumstances that allow for the abortion, a fully human person, or you must believe that person has less value than the mother, which to my mind means you don’t consider it fully human as the mother. I don’t see how those who allow any exceptions, however limited, can get around this in their dialogue with those who allow more exceptions than they do.

            • I agree Robert. And that is why the crucial question is really when does “life” begin. Of course there is life at the moment of conception, but as of yet it isn’t a recognizable human life (and by recognizable I simply mean you can just look at it with the naked eye and say, “That’s a baby”). I was about to say I think abortion is permissible when the life of the mother is at stake. But then I realized just what you said, and I wondered what would I think of a mother who sacrificed her three year old child in order to save herself? If I say that abortion is moral in a life or death situation, then I am essentially saying the life of the child in the womb is of lesser value than the life of the mother. But on the other hand, those of you who allow for abortion are essentially saying, this is not a person, this is not a live human being, it is something else, and therefore we are allowed to kill it without legal consequence. And that goes back to my earlier question to you, when do you think life really begins, and at that point, do you think abortion should be permissible. If your answer is simply “I don’t know”, then I would think we would want to err on the side of caution and not kill the baby. Or if it is “It’s none of my business”, then what business of ours is it if parents decide to kill their children after they are born. After all, they are the ones who have the burden of caring for them, just as the pregnant woman has the burden of carrying the child. So really, at what point does that fetus become a person, and once it is a person, how can it be okay to kill him or her.

          • Roman Catholic moral theology prohibits abortion for any reason, at any point in the pregnancy. Though I disagree with the premises that theology starts from, that prohibition is consistent with the theology once you accept the premises. But that consistency does not obtain among the vast majority of evangelicals; exceptions are allowed, without any logical argument supporting them except the feeling that in certain cases, most notably in the case of pregnancy caused by rape, it just seems right to allow an abortion, even though the fetus is deemed to by fully human. It’s a moral theology based on sentiment rather than logic or reasoning, and as such, it is an inconsistent ethic.

    • David Cornwell says

      Well thought out. However, it will never be accepted by those who must define everything in black and white terms.

  3. Sick of judging says

    Wow. Judging again. Either ALL life is sacred or none, so if you kill to eat, think about that. If sentient beings are still euthanized in animal shelter, think about that. G-d made all life. Scripture supports this. And as said above, when do cells in mitosis become imbued with the spirit of life? When they can sustain themselves aside from the womb? If all growing cells are life, then apply this to malignant tumors….geez. This issue is between G-d and the individual. Leave it alone.

    • This. Very much this.

      • Christiane says

        I’ll second that.

        Enough of politics and misogyny. Time to let the Church be the Church and start helping people instead of supporting demagogues ‘using’ the abortion issue for votes. . . . .

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      The Jewish position on abortion I referenced earlier reflects this somewhat. Life has nuance. Simplistic thinking will almost always lead to negative effects, even disaster.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        And Evangelicals are infamous for the most simplistic of simplistic black/white thinking.
        Usually accompanied by “GOD SAITH!” proof-texts.

      • Agree, Klasie. It’s shouldn’t be an all-or-nothing issue, although that’s the way it’s framed by the extremists on both sides, who seem to nearly control the discourse and political strategies surrounding it.

    • If you’re sick of judging, you should stop.

  4. A few comments before the deluge starts.

    1. Accusing abortion rights folks of being part of a “culture of death” is probably not going to result in a meaningful conversation.

    2. Anti-abortionists don’t seem to grasp how important the concept of bodily autonomy is for many women. I would ask them to please at least think about this aspect of it.

    3. One obvious solution to abortion concerns is family planning. So how come so many anti-abortionists are against family planning?

    • Well, from the Catholic perspective, every sexual act must be engaged in with openness to the possibility of procreation. So for them, the breach in the wall was not abortion but the pill.

      • Burro (Mule) says

        Masturbation and sodomy.

        I once complained to a Catholic friend that menopause turns all sex into gay sex. he replied that SS Joachim and Anna wouldn’t have seen it that way.

      • This is a coherent argument. Whether it is well founded is another matter, but it is coherent. It is not, however, the Evangelical argument. So what is? I honestly don’t know for sure. So far as I can tell, it treats abortion and contraception as if they were unrelated phenomena, each to be considered independently of the other. This has no hope of producing a coherent argument, suggesting as it does that the person making it doesn’t know where babies come from.

        • Tightly coherent arguments can also be subject to fragility. Pull one thread out, and the whole rug falls to pieces.

          • Absolutely! I don’t think that the Catholic argument is well founded. The underlying view of sex is not well supported. But accept the premises and the logic is sound enough.

  5. David Cornwell says

    I noticed a similar article in “The Week” for 24 Jan 2020 entitled “Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movement” by Damon Linker. A search on that title will take you to the article.

  6. I would like to hear more from commenters today about a main point of the article quoted.

    At its best, the pro-life cause promotes not a particular political agenda item, but a comprehensive way of being in the world, a posture toward reality that is welcoming and exuberant, a vision of life that contradicts on every level the culture of death that has been ascendant in the west for the past century.

    What does that look like?

    • It would attempt to strike a balance between the potential life of the embryo with the actual present life of the mother. And give aid to the mother to help her achieve both her potential and that of the future child.

      It would welcome refugees, who need the physical basics of life (food, shelter, clothing) and their need for safety, community, work, and hope – many of which might not be available back where they came from.

      It would have us be more respectful of the plants and animals we raise and use for food, decoration, raw materials, and companionship – as well as the ecological system that sustains them AND us.

      It would attempt to default to the pattern set by the example of Christ and the NT as a whole – “let mercy triumph over judgment.”

    • Christiane says

      Chaplain Mike,
      I’m for ‘welcoming new life’ as a national policy and I think, if people want to ‘use’ the government to do this, it might better to have programs like paid parental leave for the care of newborns rather than abolishing R v. W and sending desperate women to the back-alley butchers again as it was in the days before R v.W was passed.

      Scandinavian countries offer some models of ‘welcoming new life’ that are admirable. This ‘attitude’ seems so much more humane to me than some of the current misogynistic attitudes towards women expressed in extreme right wing politics/religion. Welcoming new life seems to me a much more positive approach than a return to back-alley abortions with all the brutality and tragedy that this brings with it.

      There’s a lot we could do in this country that is ‘positive’ and ‘pro’ new life, ‘socialist’ or not.

      I don’t see ‘the abortion issue’ in any other light than right wing politicians ‘using’ it to manipulate voters in order to gain power and control. It’s worked for them so far. But that’s just it: it’s worked FOR THEM.

    • What does pro-life look like?

      Well, it seems to me Jesus was totally, completely pro-life. I’m trying to think of an instance when he was not pro-life (well, maybe his own crucifixion, but even that was geared toward pro-life). Healing, miracles, raising from the dead, interactions with sinners, his own resurrection… all geared toward pro-life. In fact, I’d say this statement fits Jesus to a T:

      “…a comprehensive way of being in the world, a posture toward reality that is welcoming and exuberant, a vision of life that contradicts on every level the culture of death that has been ascendant in the west for the past century.”

      Now, the interesting thing is he was also pro-choice. Jesus to others: “Do you believe I’m pro-life? Will you follow me?”

      (Sadly, Christians have an odd view of pro-life that doesn’t seem so Jesus-like.)

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      Actually Mike, I will challenge you on one issue: The culture of death being ascendant. Historical analysis will show that we have always been (east and west, north and south) a culture of death. If anything, that has been abating somewhat over the last 200 years or so. Statistical studies of violence show that the World Wars notwithstanding, the 20 th century was more peaceful than most before. And I dare say we have come some way since the horrors of WW2 and what followed after.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says
      • Thank you, Klasie, I agree with you about this. In writing that phrase I think Mr. Meador is using some evangelical overkill. While there certainly are (and always have been) alarming features in our culture that promote death and disintegration, I don’t buy into the evangelical narrative of decline that has been such a prominent part of the movement and other conservative movements like them. I’ve run some pieces about how the world and life has never been better, longer, and less subject to poverty, disease, war, and other deathly factors for more people than ever before.

        Unfortunately, most “movements” have to set themselves against whatever Bond villian they think will help them gain the most support in order to survive and advance.

      • Agree, Klasie. The “culture of death” charge against the 20th century, in opposition to what the accuser must view as earlier life-affirming centuries, is unjustified. There was plenty of death culture in every earlier era, from time immemorial.

      • And yet even as a secularist myself, I think the culture of death accusation has sometimes hit the mark – though we are probably more of a death-avoidance culture than anything else, as Chaplain Mike can probably attest to on a daily basis as he interacts with people new to end of life issues.

        I have in mind the strong current of pro-euthanasia thought in Movement Secular Humanism in the late 1990s. They could not get enough Kevorkian. Man. Of. The. Year. Celebrations of brave elderly parents deciding on the days of their death. And so forth. Yes, there are nuances to these issues, concerns about lingering and unbearable suffering that are wholly legitimate. But the whole vibe was, frankly, pretty creepy. It doesn’t seem as strong there these days.

    • For me, a comprehensive pro-life approach would mean a lot of things:

      Reducing violence
      Reforming the criminal justice system to be primarily restorative rather than retributive
      Gun controls
      More stringent drivers license requirements
      Serious efforts to avoid and avert wars
      Clean water and air
      Addressing climate change
      More public transit (safer than driving) and alternative, clean transportation
      Working to eliminate extreme poverty so even the very poor have food, water and shelter
      Eliminating discrimination built into financial and governmental structures and systems
      Welcoming refugees
      Reducing the vast disparities in wealth that have increased so greatly in the last couple decades.
      Working to reduce abortion

      I think Catholic social teaching gets us some of the way to a more whole view of what it is to be pro-life, but not without some problems.

      I don’t have much hope that the American church in its current state will adopt a more whole approach to the issue.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      It goes without saying that anyone who opposes abortion yet supports the death penalty is due for some hardcore ethical dissonance.

      • The way I heard it explained in seminary was through the lens of legal justice – a human life *can* be taken, but only by the state after a trial. A woman is obviously not in a position to try her unborn child and justly sentence it to death, so abortion must be illegal. However, if an adult commits murder, and are convicted of the crime, then their life (per the Noahic law) is justly forfeit.

        Like the Catholic argument that sex necessitates procreation above, it is logically tight. How well it stands up to outside scrutiny I leave to the rest of the commentariat.

        • Burro (Mule) says

          Not a fan of legal justice and not a fan of the State.

          Who do people belong to? Who is diminished by their wrongful death?

          How a ban on capital punishment would work out in a more personal world – substitute the Crown for the State – I don’t know. There should be consequences for slaying one of the King’s subjects and thus diminishing his Majesty, or for disturbing the King’s Peace.

          Of course, before anybody is the King’s man, he is God’s man, so extract him from any position where he may cause further harm and let God choose the time to accept payment.

          • There should be consequences for slaying one of the King’s subjects and thus diminishing his Majesty, or for disturbing the King’s Peace.

            William Blake is reported to have said, “Damn the king.’ Did it diminish His Majesty?

        • Roman Catholic moral casuistry in recent decades has sometimes said that, although the state has the right to take life for capital crimes and to defend its citizens against criminals, the modern state should not exercise that right, because it has the means to incarcerate criminals for life rather than execute them. In this moral construction, part of the state’s right to inflict capital punishment is born out necessity when it lacks the means to incarcerate capital criminals for life. My understanding is that societies in previous eras mostly did not use the prison model for dealing with criminals, and that incarceration as the primary form of punishment, rather than corporal punishment, is a relatively recent development. Modern states being richer, at least in the developed world, have an obligation to use their greater resources to imprison rather than execute, according to this Catholic moral argument.

          • Christiane says

            You have stated the Church’s position well, Robert F.

            I will never understand the politics of fundamentalist-evangelicals who want ‘right to life’ for fetuses, and yet strongly support capital punishment with a VENGEANCE. . . . .

            what they don’t get is that a guilty person MIGHT, if they live longer incarcerated, have a chance to repent and make peace with God.

            But there is something mean-spirited in all of the thinking of extreme far-right fundamentalist-evangelicals that is revealed in their lack of integrity on how they view ‘the right to life’ . . . they don’t make sense in a Christian context, no.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              I will never understand the politics of fundamentalist-evangelicals who want ‘right to life’ for fetuses, and yet strongly support capital punishment with a VENGEANCE. . . . .

              It’s one of those Mystery Linkages of the Universe, like gun control linked with pro-abortion.

              I’ve also observed Christians as capital punishment groupies. All I can figure is its an obsession(?) to PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! (as long as they’re not on the receiving end; Eternal Hell is for Thee, NOT Me).

    • You could have framed this blog entry without using the name Trump. But you are so obsessed that you can not stop

      • Clay Crouch says

        Obsessed? That’s the pot calling the kettle black. Why don’t you join the conversation instead of whining about post-evangelicals commenting on a blog for and about post-evangelicals. Better yet, start your own blog. If this were one of your alt-right sites, your ears would have been pinned back a long time ago.

        BTW it’s spelled chaplain.

      • Meador’s complete argument involves Mr Trump directly. For in his accepting his leadership, the pro-life movement has chosen political gain over a full embrace of the culture of life, which Trump does not and never has represented.

        • Mije, how the hell can you even remotely know that? What a crock!

          This blog used to feed my soul. Now, it only feeds something else entirely, something that repulses me! Trump comes out fully against abortion, but he doesn’t do it in a “pure” enough fashion to satisfy some? Bull! The culture of death kills innocent babies and damages the lives of their mothers, but we need a more nuanced version of that? Complete and utter crap! See the sub-plot in Saving Private Ryan for an example of how well a more “nuanced” concept of war turned out for there!

          And, yes, Jesus was fully pro-life! And he asked us to follow him, follow his example, not split hairs on useless theological arguments like the Pharisees did. He called them hypocrites for a good reason! They argued over whether he could heal on a sabbath. He just went ahead and healed. To hell with their “nuance!” Nuance kills!

          The content of this blog has moved far, far away from what Michael Spencer started so many years ago. I don’t even recognize it anymore. I used to read it “religiously” (pun intended) every day. Nowadays, I only come to it once or twice a week, if that. After today, I doubt I’ll be back at all.

          • Sorry Jeff. We’ll miss you. I would be interested in hearing how we’ve “moved” from Michael. Michael’s views were constantly changing and shifting — in fact, the whole point of the blog was about his journey in the post-evangelical wilderness. He’s the one who foretold the collapse of evangelicalism but I’m not sure even he could have foreseen that people who claim Jesus would unite themselves with someone like celebrity playboy, utterly amoral, and self-promoting power-monger Donald Trump.

            That’s the problem. One can remain pro-life (and hopefully in a fuller sense than the simple anti-abortion kind) and still not think that making deals with devils is wise.

            • Yeah, because Jesus never associated with flawed human beings—oh, wait, he did! And you calling Trump a devil just makes my point. Michael Spencer would never do that.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                I spy with my little eye… a Mark of the Trump on forehead or right hand.

                Eagle & I have long scratched our heads as to how Christians are the most fanatical of Trump fanatics, pushing each other out of line to be first to Bend the Knee and Take His Mark. I even recently read that Voting for Trump in 2020 is the Litmus Test of your Salvation. (But that was on the Web and you get a lot of fringe stuff on the Web.)

                • Wow! Because I object to the characterization of Trump as a devil, I have the mark of Trump? And I’m the intolerant one?

              • Figure of speech, Jess.

  7. senecagriggs says

    Trump is NOT the issue

  8. Iain Lovejoy says

    There’s no way any movement campaigning over abortion, for or against, is not going to be political. A religious attitude emphasising the sanctity of all life may (or indeed may not) prompt the campaign, but the campaign itself will be political through and through. The problem is *how* it is political.
    Firstly, it has ceased to be a campaign against abortion: it is now a campaign purely against specifically *legal* abortion. The same prominent figures behind it are also indifferent to, or indeed outright hostile to, any measures that might reduce demand for abortion or make life easier for single mothers, and seem more concerned with ensuring Jezebels who get themselves pregnant outside marriage pay the full “penalty” for it, rather than actual concern for the unborn child. As long as abortion is illegal, and the mother faces her proper condemnation, who cares what happens to mother or child?
    Secondly, the pro-life movement, at least in its leaders and for many, many of its members, has long since transitioned from a lobby group on abortion supporting the Republicans because the Republicans supported their agenda to a campaigning group for the Republican party using its opposition to abortion as a means for advancing the party’s interests. The cry “But what about abortion!” is no longer an end in itself but a weapon introduced to denounce as baby-killers anyone opposing the Republican party or its policies. Try it: start any discussion about any issue in which you oppose or condemn anything Republicans are doing, even utterly unrelated to abortion, and sooner or later someone will chime in with “But what about abortion!” as an argument as to how everything Republicans do is right, and all those who oppose them evil and wrong.
    While abortion is used as a party-political weapon in this way, the pro-life movement will never gain support outside its right-wing core or any consensus amongst people as a whole. Unfortunately, so long as abortion rallies the Republican base to vote for them, I’m not sure its leaders at least even care.

  9. Michael Bell says

    “[T]he goal of the pro-life movement is not simply that Roe would be overturned but that ours would be a society friendly to life.”

    I am sorry, but I don’t see it. Not with the same people in favour of capital punishment. Not when the results of their actions would leave people in poverty.

    • Right. That was never the goal of the pro-life movement, at least not among Christian evangelicals/fundamentalist; but it has at times seemed to be the goal expressed within the Roman Catholic Church, however tentatively embraced.

  10. Language, control of language , definition of words and how words are used in the mainstream media and internet sties is vital here. When the description when from anti abortion/pro abortion to pro life versus pro choice it change the dialogue. This article, yesterday’s and the current narrative that has evolved is part of the evolution to change the messaging. Anti abortion proponents were accused of only caring about people until they were born so they accepted the pro life description and the abortion side gladly took the pro choice description, it sounds better. Now the pro life umbrella is getting bigger and bigger or if you prefer a bigger tent. For capital punishment not pro life, against illegal aliens not following our laws you are not pro life, questioning about amount of refugees not pro life, against socialized medicine not pro life and not supporting certain social programs to help those born already is not being pro life. The yardstick has been moved. Society must provide for a child born that was not aborted as they are responsible for the birth by now allowing an abortion. I will stop here but hope I convey my thoughts well enough for some to give some consideration. It is a form of newspeak , I will sum up with.

    • The old speak was a form of newspeak. It overlooked and obscured many moral loose ends when it focused on just making sure birth happens, many factors important for the affirmation and support of life. Using the term pro-life as it has usually been used in the past was just old newspeak; the true speak term would’ve been pro-birth, not pro-life.

      • Robert F. I think that is an excellent point, Thanks. That deserves a double post.

      • And the other term would be pro-death, not pro-choice! That’s the only “choice” abortion allows! But you neglected to mention that!

        And to address the very first remark you made, if you leave an embryo undisturbed in the womb, it becomes a baby! That will NEVER happen to a severed arm!

        • Under normal circumstances, yes. But there are cases where there are such deformities that the fetus cannot survive outside the womb; and there are also ectopic pregnancies to consider.

        • Why are you yelling?

          • That was not yelling, THIS IS YELLING!!!

            BTW, nice dodge of actually addressing what I said.

            • New research indicates that more than half of successful fertilizations end in miscarriage, also known as spontaneous abortion. That’s what happens to the majority of undisturbed early pregnancies in the womb. In any case, the potential for development of a human person from the blastocyst is not the same as the existence of a human person.

              No, pro-death is not as accurately descriptive of the position of those who favor some level of abortion rights for the mother as pro-birth is for the position usually called pro-life — it’s just an insult.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          And the other term would be pro-death, not pro-choice!

          “I’m against gun control and for abortion rights. [i.e. two things normally NOT found together.] When someone finds out, they usually look at me like I just grew a second head. I just tell them I’m ‘pro-death’ and let it go at that.”
          — My old (D&D) Dungeonmaster, many years ago

    • “For capital punishment, not pro life” – as has been pointed out above, there are alternatives to capital punishment – not to mention the fact that if justice miscarries, there is no bringing the executed person back.

      “Against illegal aliens not following our laws, you are not pro life” – laws can be unjust, and can be changed. And if someone claims to want to see Biblical principles as foundational to our society, I suggest a word study of “aliens” and “refugees” and how both the OT and NT taught we should treat them.

      “questioning about amount of refugees, not pro life” – talking about amounts would actually be an improvement. The trend is towards slamming the door entirely shut.

      “against socialized medicine, not pro life” – Do we have an obligation to help the poor, or not? Did Jesus tell us to vet the recipients of our aid or not? (Hint – NOT.) If the church does not and cannot cover the need, the state must step in – because public health is a social and economic good.

      “and not supporting certain social programs to help those born already is not being pro life.” – Which social programs did you have in mind?

      • The actual reasons that women give for terminating a (usually unexpected) pregnancy are primarily:

        ? Dramatic change in life, including potential job loss, and/or concern over other children or dependents.

        ? Financial instability, including a lack of access to childcare and/or healthcare.

        Or in other words: no money, no healthcare, no support, and fear.

        If we want to actually be “pro-life” instead of simply “pro-birth” then theses issues must be addressed. The present Administration is going backwards in this area.

  11. John’s description of being pro life as well as several other comments show why the control of language definition , messaging and deviation from the original meaning of a word or phrase is so important. To short hand it , it is Orwellian Newspeak designed to diminish the range of thought, the unborn child is an unperson., to use the term anti abortion instead of pro life would be crimethink,. The old refrain that anti abortion advocates only care about a person until they are born led to the pro life acceptance by the anti abortion advocates instead of maintaining life matters. Johns list in his 2.24 timed comments covers it quite well.

    So in reality , Roe v Wade will not be overturned as most Americans do not want it to be. Most Americans believe abortion should be limited and especially oppose late term abortion.

    People have the right to chose, 1. do not have sex 2. Use birth control 3. be responsible for your actions 4. give the child up for adoption or whatever, it is better than killing the baby. Again the old refrain was safe , legal and rare.

    First they came for the unborn and I did nothing, I think you all know the ending to this . I am trying to use crimestop before I get bb onto me

    If there is another post close to this in context I apologize, it might have been lost in hyper space , hopefully ..

  12. As I predicted I apologize for my double post , the world did not need that

  13. senecagriggs says

    The unborn:innocent. Should they not be protected?

  14. I read the entire article from which CM took the three paragraphs. It talks of the political and the human side of the equation (in fancier terms). If we are primarily called as the people of God to love God and love others, then we should start with the human side. We should seek to step in to help the women who are battling issues that would push them toward abortion. As others have pointed out, we should have a holistic approach to life that starts with what is uplifting and never turns to what is caustic. We should start with the people and forget the political. The nation is not Christian or a theocracy, so it will reflect the nation, not just the Christians.

    But if we do the work we are called to, we may find that there is movement even in the laws. (I have doubts that abortion will ever be completely outlawed again.)

    But as long as we start with the need to enact (at best) or force (at worst) change in the laws rather than changes in ourselves (first) and then (second) seek to deal with the underlying causes of abortion, we will be understood by those we otherwise might seek to evangelize as nothing short of bullies not worth listening to. And under the current MO of evangelicals it would seem that evangelizing comes first — even before pro-life crusades. You can’t effectively evangelize if you are wielding a stick.

  15. Abortion. It never stops being a divisive thorn.
    Yes, of course it is an evil. So are miscarriages.

    Over the years I remain surprised by:
    1. So few Christians Celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation when the beginning of Jesus’ human life began. Instead we focus on the Incarnation at Christmas-tide so strongly and fight over the need to say “Merry Christmas” and not immediately educate everyone by saying “Merry Christmas, we really should have celebrated Christ’s incarnation 9 months ago!”
    2. So few moms formally bury their miscarried fetuses that came out and fell in the toilet bowl.

    I think these examples of our norms of Christian Living describe our beliefs about when life begins better than all the debates about abortion.