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http://ChristianChoice.Org [2 of 5]
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Part Two of an honest presentation
Since the most decisive factor in the abortion debate in America for the past half-century has been the position of the U.S. Supreme Court, which leans heavily toward the freedom of women to choose abortion, especially in the first 5 months of their pregnancies, one of the main arguments of the pro-life side has been an appeal to a "higher law", i.e. either "Divine Law" or "Natural Law". Here are the reasons why neither of those options holds any water.Let's be clear:
Let's begin by clarifying something about the word "law". That word can have two rather distinct meanings. Sometimes, we use it to refer to particular laws, like "the law of gravity" or "laws governing marriage". But, oftentimes, we use it to mean a whole collection, or "body" of laws, governing a community, such as "international law", "church law", "US law" or "God's law", which is the way we are using in this discussion.
Another clarification that needs to be made is that "natural law" is not to be confused with "the laws of nature". Great examples of laws of nature are the laws of gravity and inertia – which all natural objects have to obey, usually unconsciously, whether they like it or not.–
"Divine Law" supposedly comes from God. But it is always clergy who deliver this "Divine" legislation to their followers, clergy who claim that they got it straight from God and that they are only acting as "middle men" for God! Funny, isn't it, how a single divine source delivers all kinds of different versions of his "law", depending who the many different religions and their "middle men" are! This reminds me of the brand of brick-packaged ice-cream that appeared in supermarkets for a while that called itself "Homemade" ! I don't think they persuaded many customers to believe that the actual origin of all that ice cream was somebody's "home".
(According to this excerpt from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_law)
"Natural law is a philosophy asserting that certain rights are inherent by virtue of human nature, endowed by nature—traditionally by God or a transcendent source—and that these can be understood universally through human reason. As determined by nature, the law of nature is implied to be universal, existing independently of the positive law of a given state, political order, legislature or society at large.
Historically, Natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature to deduce binding rules of moral behavior from nature's or God's creation of reality and mankind. The concept of natural law was first documented in ancient Greek philosophy, including Aristotle, and was referred to in Roman philosophy by Cicero. It was then alluded to in the Bible, from which it was subsequently developed in the Middle Ages by Catholic philosophers such as Albert the Great, and Thomas Aquinas."
Laws designed to govern human behavior must answer questions such as "who, what, when, where, how, things are to be done?" It takes a whole collection of such laws to govern the whole range of activities that people in any organization or society engage in. And that collection needs to be published, usually in written form, called a "code" or "codex" from the Greek word for "book", so that people can know "the Rules of the game".
Do you know where the "Code of natural law" is?
Don't feel bad, because no one else does either.
"Natural law" isn't a concrete reality. Although it is supposed to be "understood universally through human reason" to be "rights inherent in all men by virtue of human nature", if you don't yet know why Natural Law never has, and never will be spelled out or "codified", just think for a moment how difficult it has been in America to get consensus on just a few issues, like the rights and wrongs of native-Americans, of Africans brought to America to serve as slaves, of women who are still waiting for equality, of marriage-equality for gays. These are a few examples of what would have to be agreed to for a common law to be formulated.
It would be more accurate to call it "ideal law", i.e. the best legal code that people can imagine (which - like beauty - "is in the eye of the beholder"). One famous attempt to codify "the Natural Law" was the French Revolution's "Declaration of the Rights of Man". But how much credence can be placed in a document whose authors were in the process when they promulgated it of chopping the heads off of those who disagreed with them? "Natural Law" is simply "the wish list" of what "the law" would contain, if the people who dream up that "Natural Law" had their way , as opposed to the existing law that they have to live under.
And as for "God's law", unless you are ready to submit to the laws of somebody else's God, why should you expect anybody else to submit to your God's laws? The clergy who produce any such body of laws knows that calling their work "God's Law" will garner it much more respect than calling it what it is, namely "their law"!
"God's law" is just another form of "Natural law" designed by "men of God" who claim that they got it from God.
People who want to submit to what they perceive as "natural" or "divine" law are free to do so, but they are not entitled to demand that others do the same. And so, there is no real court to which the citizens of this country can appeal that is higher than the US Supreme Court, and no higher laws than those passed by the Congress of the United States and signed by its president. Americans who disagree with the decisions of the Supreme Court at any given moment in history are free to disagree with and to argue against those decisions, but unless and until those decisions are changed, they will continue to be the supreme interpretations of "the law of the land".
While science is all about learning things that can be proven (and viewing everything else as "a matter of opinion", Religion is all about believing things that cannot be proven. The conviction that religious people have about abortion isn't based on knowledge, but on faith. When men of the cloth or "people of faith" try to use science to "prove" when human personhood begins, they can't help but superimpose their religious faith on the scientific data. That is what they are doing when they imagine that scientific instruments like microscopes, MRI machines, or ultrasound equipment can be used to prove when human personhood begins. But, no matter how powerful the scientific instrument, it will never be able to determine when a human person comes into existence, because human personhood isn't something that you can weigh, or see, or hear, or touch, with or without instruments. The same is true for the existence of God, angels, heaven, hell, the nature of sin, salvation, and any theological concept. No telescope, no matter how powerful, will ever be able to see God, heaven, or hell!
The question of human personhood will always be what it has always been, that is, a matter for debate on philosophical or theological – not scientific – grounds, whether the debators are judges, legislators, politicians, clergy, "people of faith", or common citizens.
There are many things in life that we simply cannot know, and I mean more than the direction of the stock market tomorrow. Imagine if we spent our whole life standing still, pondering "how can I be sure?", when trying to decide if the spouse we were thinking of committing our life to was really the best one for us, or the car we needed to buy was the best one, or the house, or the best road we should take, or the fastest checkout line we should take in the supermarket, etc.,etc.,etc.
That situation isn't just true for us as individuals, it's true of society as a whole. And the way society deals with such unknowns and unknowables is to look to impartial judges or legislatures to make decisions that we can all live with in peace and harmony, at least for the time being, knowing that future legislatures or courts may eventually make other decisions.
Did you know that as many as one of every four human pregnancies are terminated naturally, that is, without any human intervention? When such deaths are noticed, they are called "mis-carriages", but many of them occur even before they can be noticed. It has taken modern scientific methods and instruments to discover that the natural termination of human pregnancies occurs much more often than we realized in the past.
Now, if the life of the unborn is so precious to God, then how can he cause, or even tolerate, the premature termination of the lives of so many millions of human beings every year?
Many refer to tragic natural events such as these as "acts of God", in which case the premature termination of these pregnancies might well be called "divine abortions", or because of huge numbers, a "sacred holocaust".
In any event, since preventing the premature termination of human pregnancies seems to be such a low priority for God, maybe it should be for us as well !
Many pro-life people try to compare the pro-choice position of liberals in America to the NAZI "holocaust". This of course is designed to conjure up images of the mass-murder of Jews during the NAZI holocaust. But I have been studying the role of the Christian churches in that horrible period for decades and have found among other things that the Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches have been literally "getting away with murder" on a mass scale, as I show at the Big Picture. At HitlersFaith, I show that – like many of the billion members that the RC Church brags about – he may have been a "lousy Catholic"; but he was definitely one of those Catholics, and a conservative one, like most of America's "Knights of Columbus". At Nazi Leadership, I show that most of the top NAZI leadership were Roman Catholics as well, as were most of the leaders of the other Axis nations.
That being the case, it should come as a no surprise that, far from supporting abortion, Adolf Hitler was a fierce champion of "the unborn", like any number of the many Roman Catholic autocrats have been. In the NAZI bible, "Mein Kampf", Adolf Hitler made that brutally clear: "I'll put an end to the idea that a woman's body belongs to her . . . NAZI ideals demand that the practice of abortion shall be exterminated with a strong hand." Accordingly, Hitler promoted the utmost respect for mothers who produced Christian Aryan children, and sentenced any woman who terminated any pregnancy that was "worthy of life" to hard labor for the first offense, and to death if there was a second offense. His "pro-life" advocacy for the unborn obviously didn't translate into respect for the life of the born for Hitler then. And neither does it do so in our time.
Pro-lifers who are ill-informed about the period of the Nazi Holocaust mistakenly imagine that such comparisons benefit their side and hurt their opponents. That misguided attempt of theirs is represented in the left-hand "MYTH" column below, while the "Historical FACT" column is on the right:
"Historical FACT" column
|The abortion of fetuses is like the mass-murder of the Jews in the Holocaust.||Only pro-lifers who imagine that they have already won the debate over the nature of those fetuses can compare their abortion with the killing of the human beings in the holocaust.|
|Pro-lifers saving fetuses are like the few heroes who saved some of the Jews.||Far from being anything like heroic saviors of Jews, today's pro-lifers are much more like the Nazi killers of the Jews, who were conservative Christians who hated not only Jews, but liberals, socialists, homosexuals, and blacks ( see TheNazisConservativeChristians); AND were opponents of abortion, when it came to the 98% of the German population that they viewed as "worthy of life" i.e. Aryan and Christian like themselves. (see AbortionUnderNazis)|
|Pro-choicers are like the Nazis who killed the Jews.||Far from being anything like the Nazi killers of the Jews, pro-choicers are a lot more like the Jewish victims, because the Nazis targeted liberals, socialists, homosexuals, and blacks along with the Jews.|
France's Abortion Rights law is called "la loi Veil", after the Health-Minister who led and won the fight for those rights in 1974, Simone Veil, a Jewish survivor of the Nazi death camps, who overcame, among many arguments, the fallacious one that abortion is comparable to the Nazi evil that had taken the lives of her own parents, and nearly taken her own.
Some pro-lifers seem to view freedom of religion as a one-way street. To them, it means that not only that they have the right to believe as they choose, but others have to respect that right. But they don't seem to appreciate the fact that it's a two-way street, and that they have to respect those whose beliefs are the opposite of theirs. In a country like America, where diversity of religion is not only accepted but welcome, the price that every religion must pay in order to be respected itself, is paying the same respect for other religions that they expect for their own.
Now let's apply this to the issue of abortion. Despite what the extremists on both sides of the issue would have us believe, abortion has remained a contentious issue for so many years because it really is quite complicated. In less-advanced societies, people have fought over such differences on battlefields, sometimes for years and even decades. America is one of the more civilized societies where people have learned that they can live quite happy lives by simply "agreeing to disagree" and going their own way. Difficult moral issues can go unresolved for long periods of time, with people free, in the meantime, to follow their own ideas of right and wrong. In some cases, such issues are resolved by legislatures and/or local courts. In rare cases, really contentious issues, such as abortion, go all the way to the highest court in the land, the US Supreme Court.
Now that our highest court has recognized the right of women in America to have abortions under certain circumstances, churches can tell its members that they are not allowed to exercise that right because they view abortion as sinful "murder", but in America no church has any business trying to impose its beliefs, or its interpretations of what it views as "God's Word", on me or on anyone else who doesn't want to belong to such a church. Freedom of religion" is a two-way street. Church-members don't just get it; they have to give it as well!
In an article published April 23, 2004 in the National Catholic Reporter, the U. of Notre Dame theologian, Richard McBrien, makes the point that :
"To have made the moral argument against abortion, for example, is not necessarily to have made the legal argument as well. St. Thomas Aquinas himself had insisted that if civil laws laid too heavy a burden on the "multitude of imperfect people," it would be impossible for such laws to be obeyed and this, in turn, could lead eventually to a disregard for all law. Moreover, unenforceable laws are worse than no laws at all. And without a sufficient consensus within a society, no law is enforceable. Civil laws, therefore, can demand no more than what a pluralistic society can agree upon."
Want Women to Have More Abortions? Make 'Em Illegal In 2012 an important report, entitled Want Women to Have More Abortions? Make 'Em Illegal, was published in the journal The Lancet. It tracked global abortion trends and found that the number of abortions performed worldwide had decreased until leveling off in 2008. They also found that rates of abortion are highest in countries that limit contraception and place tight restrictions on abortion and that nearly half of all abortions performed worldwide are unsafe :
"Abortion rates were lowest in Western Europe - 12 per 1,000 - and highest in Eastern Europe - 43 per 1,000. The rate in North America was 19 per 1,000. Sedgh said she and colleagues found a link between higher abortion rates and regions with more restrictive legislation, such as in Latin America and Africa. They also found that 95 to 97 percent of abortions in those regions were unsafe."
This is an excellent article that I would recommend for anyone interested in the points below :
Click here to see the views of abortion in various other nations
It's amazing how many female pro-lifers suddenly change their tune, when they find themselves hosts to an unwanted pregnancy : www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org. And some of them actually have the hypocrisy to go back to the clinic picket lines afterwards, to deny to other women the choice they have made for themselves!
Does anyone actually believe that many of the leading selfish, pompous Conservative Republicans would not be the first in line to have a girl friend, a mistress, a wife, a daughter, or a sister of theirs abort an unwanted pregnancy in order to protect their reputations, or for any other convenience? How much would you be willing to risk in a wager that they have already done so, and would be no less willing to do so again?
Deep in your heart, you know full well that, while engaging in it privately when it suits them, these hypocritical politicians only oppose abortion publicly because of the political benefits which this issue has given Republicans, by driving a wedge between a vast number of poor, and middle class people (who have everything to gain by supporting the Democratic Party), and persuading them to ignore their self-interest in order to support the party that opposes just about all of their interests as poor or working class people.
Now, if serious pro-lifers are so sure that fetuses are human beings from the moment of conception, then when are they going to start acting accordingly? They don't need to wait for everybody else to agree with them before doing so. When, for example, are they going to start collecting the sanitary napkins of all the sexually active women of childbearing age, and making sure that all the tiny "babies"- as they insist on calling them - that may be hidden in those sanitary napkins as a result of spontaneous miscarriages, all get the benefit of the sacraments, if they are Catholics, or in any event a decent funeral and church burial? If they are not ready to do that, then do they really believe what they claim to believe?"
"One argument that Catholic thinkers offer to prove that personhood occurs at conception is because it is then that a full complement of nuclear chromosomes — half paternal, half from the mother — come together. That argument may appear sound, until you realize that practically every cell in your body at any age has a full complement of chromosomes sufficient to make another you. Does that accord a right to every cell in our body for protection under the U.S. Constitution?”
If the people engaged in "Crisis Prevention Centers" are on the side of the God, who issued among his famous ten great commandments one that says: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor", then do they think they are fooling HIM along with their many other victims when . . .
"Rolling Stone online published an excellent article by Lauren Rankin, on February 26, 2014 to debunk anti-choice misinformation about women's health, addressing the following:
Chances are, you know someone who has had an abortion. Statistically, it's a near-certainty: In the U.S., one in three women will have an abortion by the age of 45. But despite how incredibly common abortion is, it remains mired in stigma and misinformation. Much of what we may think we know about this subject is actually outright lies told by abortion opponents to dissuade women from seeking safe and legal abortion care.
Why do pro-lifers have to falsely accuse their opponents of being "pro-abortion", instead of "pro-choice"? They know full well that no "pro-choice" advocate has ever urged anyone who had no need or desire for one to have an abortion. So, why can't they call them what is incontrovertible, i.e. "pro-Choicers", who believe that its the mothers with unintended pregnancies who should decide what to do about them, not armchair philosophers or legislators.
Since many of these same people are conservatives who support the death penalty, does that make them "pro-death"?
If "pro-life" activists really believed that abortion is "murder" or "infanticide", they would support capital punishment for mothers who ask doctors to carry-out "the murdering of their children" for them. There was a video "www.youtube.com/watch?v=iD97OVJ4PNw" that showed very forcefully that pro-lifers themselves don't believe their own rhetoric, but it has been taken down because of copyright issues. When President Trump made the crucial mistake of telling the truth, he had to be "corrected" because what he said is one of the most politically incorrect truths that can be uttered in the Pro-life world.
In 2005, (George W. Bush's) FDA's director of the Office of Women's Health, Susan Wood, resigned her position. She cited the agency's endless stalling and political maneuvering over emergency-contraception as the reason for her resignation. Here's an excerpt from the e-mail she wrote to colleagues announcing her decision:
"I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled. . . The recent decision announced by the Commissioner about emergency-contraception, which continues to limit women's access to a product that would reduce unintended pregnancies and reduce abortions, is contrary to my core commitment to improving and advancing women's health. [Reproductive Health Technologies Project]
It never ceases to amaze me how many excuses "pro-life" people can come up with to avoid any of the burdens they are determined to impose on mothers who are faced with the challenges of an unwanted pregnancy. I saw Gary Bauer, the director of the Family Research Council and one of the nations leading pro-lifers, offer this great one on the national C-Span call in show (in March of 2003). . When asked if he was willing to adopt any unwanted children, he replied that, considering the facts that he and his wife already had two little angels and that many more deserving parents were on waiting lists to adopt, it would be "unfair" of him to do so.
As a former adoption advocate myself, I happen to know that despite the fact that a lot of people want to adopt, there are hundreds of thousands of children who are languishing in foster care or institutions because many of those in line to adopt children only want model children, not one or more of the thousands of "hard to place" children, ( i.e. older, sick, disturbed or handicapped, minority or mixed race, parts of sibling groups, etc.) But Bauer must have gotten his queue from his fellow Republican Conservative leader, Congressman Tom Delay, who explained his failure to serve in the military during the Vietnam war as the result of minorities having filled all the slots before he could get one!
In response to my question: "What are you prepared to do once those unwanted babies are born? Will you adopt them all? Will you pay for someone else to adopt and raise them? Or will you go your merry way and wash you hands of both the mothers and the children?" I got this response from someone I'll call LDP (short for the way he describes himself "Liberal Democratic pro-lifer"
In response to a challenge I gave him and which I reprint below, LDP wrote to me :
"I am truly shocked, (Ray), that you would suggest that any other person – especially a person whom you have never met and whose temperament and life situation you really have no clue about – should adopt even one child. Your earlier comments told me that you had a real concern for children, but I have to say that this suggestion – that I should adopt a child or some children – simply because I am on the pro-life side of the abortion debate – is truly shocking. For all you know, I may be a person who would not take parenting seriously and who would severely neglect any child I would adopt. Would you advocate placing children in the homes of people simply because those people are pro-life? Or are you making the assumption that all pro-life people must be good parent material?"
My response was: "Your excuse is really creative, namely I am at fault, for suggesting that you adopt, without knowing in advance if you were fully qualified. That's a hoot. You already know that I have adopted 5 children, so why wouldn't I know what you would have to go through to succeed in adopting children. My question wasn't about how many you were qualified to adopt, but how many you desired to adopt.
Now, you ignored the fact that I gave you three choices. Given the fact that you ruled out the first, and didn't volunteer the second, my guess is that your choice is the one that most pro-lifers make, i.e. # 3: "go your merry way and wash your hands of both the mothers and the children." (but only after making sure that those mothers are not allowed the option of escaping the multitude of consequences of their unwanted pregnancy)." Rev. R. D.
But how many of those pro-lifers are waiting in line to adopt and care for life the far-from-perfect children that no one else will take? My wife was so active in the adoption of the handicapped in 1982 that the "Up to the Minute" team at CBS television featured our family for this nation-wide show that year.
Incidentally, we had informally adopted another baby girl before Janine, who was so severely damaged at birth that she didn't even make it to her 6th birthday, and we then went on to adopt a boy with severe mental issues, who was still living with his adoptive parents when his mother died at age 85.
That is the title of chapter 9 in the 2017 book "Life's Work" A Moral Argument for Choice" (pp. 161-166). As a Christian and an African-American doctor who has dedicated his life to providing reproductive services to those women who have the most difficulty in obtaining them, Dr. Willie Parker is particularly offended by this deceitful claim promoted by some people calling themselves "Christians".
When parents refer to their youngest child (of any age) as their "baby", they don't expect anyone to take them literally!
The same goes for men referring to their girlfriend as "babe" or "baby"!
But when pro-lifers insist on calling a zygote, blastocyst, embryo, or fetus a "baby", that is just plain language abuse; and it is done for the sole purpose of confusing people about the morality of abortion. If they were really as sure as they pretend to be that the termination of the life of an embryo or fetus in a woman's womb is just as immoral as terminating the life of a baby in a carriage, then why couldn't they simply argue that "killing a "fetus" is as immoral as killing a baby"?
There is much more where this came from at