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The Meaning Of Life

What happens when a liberal blogger decides to use logic and science rather than propaganda to explore the issue of abortion? The results may surprise you.

My Moral Dilemma On Abortion [Burnt Orange Report]


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Comments (33)

One point that has always e... (Below threshold)
TheEnigma:

One point that has always enraged me on the abortion issue is that the very ones who are at the forefront of demanding abortion of the toally innocent fetus on demand are always in the forefront of attacking the legal execution of convicted murderers, child rapists, terrorists and those engaged in treason. This has to be the height of hypocrisy.

I think that is pretty well... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I think that is pretty well reasoned.

I think most people are torn over this issue, I for one am firmly in the pro life camp, if anything, since we don't have a firm definition of personhood, it is far more moral to er on the side of caution and protect the infant.

I often think of abortion as modern day child sacrifice-although at least in ancient times the babies often died for the good of the community, in modern times babies die, because of selfish motives.

A truly thoughtful piece. ... (Below threshold)
leelu:

A truly thoughtful piece. It takes real guts to hash out something like that in public.

I don't trust spinning up the social services engine as the major part of the answer, but we can certainly agreee to disagree on that.

But I think he has the right idea. Encourage carrying to term, and provide adoption services, especially to younger women of school age. Either way, it's a tough choice, but my guess is knowing that the child has chance of a good life somewhere else is far easier to live with that an abortion. I know many women who have had one, who still keep track of how old the child would be years later. To me, saying "She *would have been* 20 this year" is far more tragic than saying "She *is* 20 this year".

I don't think that Andrew w... (Below threshold)

I don't think that Andrew would describe himself as a "liberal blogger" - a "Democratic blogger", yes, but Andrew probably currently considers himself a conservative Democrat.

I love how a great post abo... (Below threshold)

I love how a great post about how immoral and evil abortion is -- truly dangerous talk for a Democrat -- still easily and breathlessly passes on to advocating a socialist state (free healthcare, clothes, top-notch schools, free contraception, etc. etc. ad nauseam) as the only solution...

But, not being one to make the perfect the enemy of the good, I'll be happy for the revelation that, surprise!, abortion is evil on the part of a 'progressive.' And I'll take it on any grounds -- religious, scientific, philosophical, logical -- because there is only one Truth and any honest pursuit of Truth by any legitimate avenue will lead to that One Truth.

I wasn't impressed with any... (Below threshold)
Eric:

I wasn't impressed with any of the arguments that were used. I cannot equate an embryo with a human life. I oppose late-term abortions, because they are by every measure a form of infanticide, however, an embryo is not equivilent to a fetus in terms of development, composition, or awareness.
I am certainly not impressed by the whole 'life is sacred' theme of the argument. I eat burgers. Every burger I eat is a clear refutation of the innate sacredness of life. The question is what is the measure of human life, and to me comprehension and awareness are clear requirements for life to be considered human.
Furthermore, it is impossible to protect all fertilized eggs. Most fertilized eggs -- between 50 and 60% -- are not implanted in the womb. Should every tampon be checked for the presence of a fertilized egg, and the woman involved charged with involuntary manslaughter each time one is found? Why not -- if every fertilized egg is fully human, doesn't each and every one deserve that same degree of protection?

Should every tampon be c... (Below threshold)
julie:

Should every tampon be checked for the presence of a fertilized egg. . .?

Are you volunteering? :p

I actually agree with you. Except for the above, of course.

I wasn't impressed with ... (Below threshold)
KBiel:

I wasn't impressed with any of the arguments that were used. I cannot equate an embryo with a human life. I oppose late-term abortions, because they are by every measure a form of infanticide, however, an embryo is not equivilent to a fetus in terms of development, composition, or awareness.

At what point does it become a human life, worth saving as such? Do you have scientific evidence to back up that conclusion?

Furthermore, it is impossible to protect all fertilized eggs.

That's a strawman and you know it. No one has advocated protecting every fertilized egg. If that were the case, we would have to outlaw hetrosexual intercourse and develop a guarenteed way of growing any fertilized egg.

This is a simple logic puzzle that anyone can solve if they think about it for just a few moments. Do you value human life and think it is worth preserving where possible? Can you prove when human life begins?

If you answer "no" to the first question, then abortion (and euthanasia and murder) are quite permissible in your view. No need to answer the second question. (But you should be treated for sociopathic tendencies.)

If you answer "yes" to the second question, regardless of your answer to the first, then quickly publish it in all the leading medical and scientific journals. I promise you will be rich and well respected for the rest of your life.

If you answer "yes" to the first and "no" to the second, then you must oppose induced abortions to be consistent with your view of the sacredness of human life.

Furthermore, it is impos... (Below threshold)
Christopher Rake:

Furthermore, it is impossible to protect all fertilized eggs. Most fertilized eggs -- between 50 and 60% -- are not implanted in the womb

An unserious objection. Pro-life activists object to artificial measures that end life, not this part of biology where the human body itself fails to sustain it.

Something not addressed her... (Below threshold)

Something not addressed here. Abortions are not performed before 6 weeks. (because they could miss it) Call any abortion clinic if you don't believe me. I just happen to see my daughter's heartbeat at 6 weeks on a sonogram. The same heart that beats in her chest today. Same heart, same child.
We would all do well to remember that most abortion are performed between 8-12 weeks. Brain waves are detected and, as you can see the heart has been beating.
So talking about embryo's is a moot point in this issue.
I will disagree on one thing Kevin, our side has always used science, not propaganda. Show me evidence of propaganda.

"I love how a great post ab... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"I love how a great post about how immoral and evil abortion is -- truly dangerous talk for a Democrat -- still easily and breathlessly passes on to advocating a socialist state (free healthcare, clothes, top-notch schools, free contraception, etc. etc. ad nauseam) as the only solution..."

I agree that the answer for every liberal is always more government programs, I also am bothered by the liberal assumption that people who are pro life don't do anything or care about babies after they are born. That is just false. Most private charitable organizations are run by religious organizations (which are often pro life for religious reasons). Crisis pregnancy centers are usuallly supported by religious pro lifers, and the ones I am aware of all offer aid/help/support to pregnant women and new mothers.

I think it says far more about a culture, when we support, and even advocate for killing the most vulnerable and innocent among us, and a baby in the womb is both of those.

"Furthermore, it is impossible to protect all fertilized eggs. Most fertilized eggs -- between 50 and 60% -- are not implanted in the womb."

This is just a bs statement.

Pro lifers are not out to protect every fertilized egg.

There is nothing immoral about a fertilized egg failing to implant, anymore than an infant dying in the womb is immoral.

It is the unatural means the fertilized egg is destroyed, although this fertilized egg discussion is sort of moot anyway, since abortion is generally done on a fertilized egg that has implanted, and has a baby growing inside.

As Bush 41 once said, "this... (Below threshold)

As Bush 41 once said, "this is a political tar baby".

I'm as about as staunch a Republican as you'll find. I'm flustered though by our ongoing battle for the sake of trying to legislate morality.

History and common sense are against us on these issues because we have tried to legislate morality (personal values) since the dawn of recorded time.

To date, we've yet to succeed once.

Moral of the story? (forgive the pun, but it was too good to pass up)

These are loser issues for losers to argue over.

Has it worked with prostitution? Nope. Not even once.

Has it worked for drugs? Nope. Not even once. Some say it has made the problem worse.

Has it worked for poverty? Nope. The War On Poverty should be called the War on Prosperity.

Did it work for alcohol? Nope. We can't even be consistent on this one.

We need to get out of these debates and focus on what we know we can accomplish for the public good - supposedly that's why political parties exist. These issues are often framed in a religious context. Fine and dandy. We believe in God and they don't.

Now what genius? You gonna' kill them all off because they are fools?

Nope.

Then we need to focus on the battles we can win that also make sense for all of us.

Seems simple to me, but I'm just a simpleton Republican who likes practical solutions.

History and common sense... (Below threshold)
Christopher Rake:

History and common sense are against us on these issues because we have tried to legislate morality (personal values) since the dawn of recorded time.

We legislate morality all the time and often we are successful. We legislate against sex between adults and chldren, and surely there is less of it because we throw convicted pedophiles in jail. We legislate morality with laws against everything from murder to littering. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but it is not much of an argument against abortion rights to say it's legislating morality.

"I'm flustered though by ou... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"I'm flustered though by our ongoing battle for the sake of trying to legislate morality."

All legislation is based on morality, it is a matter of whose morals are being legislated.

Also, you can't compare abortion to drugs, prostitution or alcohol, because these are victimless crimes, that consenting adults choose to engage in. Abortion to many people is not a victimless crime. There is a baby involved, and the debate is over if/at what point that babies right to live trumps the womans right to kill it. Abortion isn't about controlling your body, it is about whether or not you get to kill a baby.

I used to be pro choice-one of those "well it isn't right for me, but I don't think we should tell anyone else what they can do" pro choicers. My opinion changed pretty dramatically after I carried a baby in my body, felt it move inside me, saw pitures of it moving inside me, and realized that what was inside me was in fact a human baby.

Basically, the false fence I had built myself to sit on, put too many splinters in my behind and I realized it was either always a baby and deservered to live, or it was something else, and didn't have any rights. I just knew at that point that abortion on demand was wrong.

"Furthermore, it is impossi... (Below threshold)

"Furthermore, it is impossible to protect all fertilized eggs. Most fertilized eggs -- between 50 and 60% -- are not implanted in the womb. Should every tampon be checked for the presence of a fertilized egg, and the woman involved charged with involuntary manslaughter each time one is found? Why not -- if every fertilized egg is fully human, doesn't each and every one deserve that same degree of protection?"

Um, ok. So let's talk about euthanasia: "It's impossible to protect all old and sick people. Between 50 and 60% of all people in nursing homes will die within the year. Should their doctors all be charged with manslaughter? Why not -- if every old person is fully human, why doesn't each and every one deserve that same degree of protection?"

Raina, don't do that or the... (Below threshold)

Raina, don't do that or the AARP, the largest Democrat voting bloc in the nation will kill you while you sleep.

While I AM pro-life, I figure that they'll abort anyway, the evil hags. I think that abortions should be legal, but paint a huge "A" letter across the chest of the women who chose to have an abortion, so that they can "proudly" show that they have "chosen".

The scarlet letter....


(if you can't figure out this post was in jest, then screw you)

IMHO that guy is a tool, wi... (Below threshold)
JD:

IMHO that guy is a tool, with potential.

Paraphrasing my comment on his site: I was impressed with the essay until I came upon this statement:

"Democrats must take the lead, as only Democrats can protect life before it is in this world and after it is born. It is time for politics to leave this discussion and for level-headed and honest people to debate the issues with themselves and others in a respectful way."
[snip]
"First: If it is true that only "Democrats" can protect life before birth and after, then you have ipso facto injected politics into the discussion. However, your very next sentence asserts that it is "...time for politics to leave this discussion." Pick one and go with it, bub.

Second: Are there no Republicans or Independents or Libertarians whom you would consider "level-headed and honest people?" Remember - you used the capital-D "Democrats." That says politics to me. Further, you assert that only "Democrats" can discuss this issue in a level-headed and honest and respectful fashion. With all due respect, sir, you've been in Austin too long.

I respect you for publicly writing your thought process on it - it is, so far, fairly well-reasoned, but it is still filtered through the Donkey-colored glasses that you continue to wear. Not every Republican is what you see and hear under the Dome. Nor is every capital-D Democrat capable of discussing abortion with themselves or with others in a respectful fashion.

Keep at it. Maybe, just maybe, you will get your enlightmentment sooner than you think."

This debate will continue. ... (Below threshold)

This debate will continue. And it will also continue to divide out party as long as it is in the courts. I am always shocked at the number of people who either know very little about abortion or the law or don't care. Until we have this debate,as a people, both sides fully shown. Then have the people decide what is the moral and right thing to do, our party will stay divided.
After 20 yrs in the pro-life movement, being a former pro-choicer, here is my experience.

http://rightwingsparkle.blogspot.com/2005/01/post-below-leads-us-to-this-post.html

There's nothing particularl... (Below threshold)
jeff:

There's nothing particularly profound about concluding that a zygote is alive. Abortion in the end isn't about semantics or activist judges or religion, but about girls & women making the best decision they can at the time in a difficult situation, which they've done forever & will still be doing long after we're gone. Talk of 'ending' abortion is like 'ending' prostitution or drug use. And frankly, I'm suspicious of men who are so angry & passionate about the abtract idea of women having first trimester abortions, & suspect they have serious control issues.

A zygote, btw, is alive, ju... (Below threshold)
jeff:

A zygote, btw, is alive, just as a protozoa is, but lacks sufficient neocortical material to generate complex brainwaves. To call it a human being is a religious argument, & we don't live in a theocracy.

"To call it a human being i... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"To call it a human being is a religious argument, & we don't live in a theocracy."

I disagree.

I know of several atheist and agnostic pro lifers, who would argue that it is a moral argument, and unless you are prepared to say that atheists and agnostics lack morals, then you can't say that a moral argument is automatically a "religious" one.

There's nothing particul... (Below threshold)
KBiel:

There's nothing particularly profound about concluding that a zygote is alive. Abortion in the end isn't about semantics or activist judges or religion, but about girls & women making the best decision they can at the time in a difficult situation, which they've done forever & will still be doing long after we're gone. Talk of 'ending' abortion is like 'ending' prostitution or drug use.

Murder still occurs though we have taken the moral belief that murder is bad and legislated it to make murder illegal. Should we repeal murder laws too?

And frankly, I'm suspicious of men who are so angry & passionate about the abtract idea of women having first trimester abortions, & suspect they have serious control issues.

Oh, points to you. Always throw in an ad hominem attack. It will win you friends and influence!

"And frankly, I'm suspiciou... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"And frankly, I'm suspicious of men who are so angry & passionate about the abtract idea of women having first trimester abortions, & suspect they have serious control issues"

You are assuming that everyone is a man. There are a lot of women, myself included, that believe abortion is the taking of an innocent life. Am I permitted to be passionate about it?

Requiring that men have no right to a moral position on the issue is rediculous, does this mean that only victims of murder should get to have an opinion on Capital punishment?

Christopher Rake<i... (Below threshold)

Christopher Rake

Pro-life activists object to artificial measures that end life,

If you, by faith, define life as the nano-second that sperm meets egg, and also make it the moral/legal equivalent of viable/adult human life (which is a Christian concept, not Jewish) then do you

1) outlaw IUD's
2) outlaw some oral contraceptives
3) outlaw the administration of medication to rape victims at the hospital that will prevent possible implantation
4) legally demand women with an abdominal pregnancy (dangerous but not necessarily fatal) to continue their pregnancy

"If you, by faith, define l... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"If you, by faith, define life as the nano-second that sperm meets egg, and also make it the moral/legal equivalent of viable/adult human life (which is a Christian concept, not Jewish) then do you"

Excus me, but what does faith have to do with it.

So if an atheist thinks that life begins at this point, because their own morals lead them to believe that way, does that make a difference (and please don't attempt to tell me that there aren't pro life atheists, I know of several).

Laws are moral concepts, some people may reach that moral concept from the perspective of faith, but others base it on some other moral concept.

While I am a Christian, and admit readily that my morals are based on my faith, I can argue against abortion and never once mention God, the Bible or my faith, it is the pro choicers who want to make this about religion.

All laws are moral concepts, it is just a matter of whose morals are going to be codified.

Stop trying to make the discussion about religion it isn't, it is about the concept of life, and when it begins.

Jeff, you are not reading m... (Below threshold)

Jeff, you are not reading my comments!! ARGGHH! Abortions are not performed before 6 weeks!!!!! So arguing a Zygote is moot!
The heart is beating, the brain waves are detected. This is a CHILD. THAT is what this issue is about, not about 'decisions.' As you can see with the argument in your blog. Both girls who admitted to having abortions, BOTH were forced to by boyfriends. Some choice.

Trust me when I say, pro-lifers are more than ready for any compromises. Let restrictions ring!

Clint, it worked with slavery and it worked with civil rights.

Ronald Reagan said it best.

http://www.nationalreview.com/document/reagan200406101030.asp

I blogged on this from a personal level today. It seemed to be the right time.

Just meWhat has fa... (Below threshold)

Just me

What has faith, be it Christian/Jewish/Shinto et al faith, got to do with it?

Actually, in this setting, just about everything. Science will argue that life is a continuim, it will describe each stage of that continuim from gamate through birth, life and cessation of life. Science does NOT tell us the line at which one form of life is the moral equivalent of another.

All laws are based on morality. YOu are right and it is something I've argued in many venues, it's not law v morality but whose morality will be the basis of law. When the law does not promote or facilitate a moral good it is a bad law. Certainly Rosa Parks defied "the law" when she refused to move to the back of the bus.

In the matter of abortion we are dealing with a moral determination -- "when does life begin" -- and a facilitation that takes into account the competing values of nascent human life (embryo/fetus) and born human life (woman). Extreme pro-lifers see no value to the woman just as extreme pro-choicers see no value to the fetus. They are screaming past each other. And in the vast middle are people of conscience, like myself who are in favor of reasonable legal restrictions but who believe, as tragic as it is, that abortion should remain legal in limited circumstances that recognize it moves from the legal realm to the social realm where persuasion is the proper response. I have been appalled to hear people seriously state that all rape victims be legally denied abortions or even medication to prevent implantation, just as I have been appalled to hear people equivocate on the matter of D&X performed on viable fetuses.

I personally consider "convenience" abortions immoral. I would love to see less of them. But I am not willing to put the human value of women at zero once sperm meets egg in any context (which IS A RELIGIOUS determination).

There is a good compassionate compromise that can be worked out once each side recognizes the other sides competing value.

Again...all law is based on morality, but not all morality is/or should be, codified into law.

We are not a nation that operates under Sharia.

"But I am not willing to pu... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"But I am not willing to put the human value of women at zero once sperm meets egg in any context (which IS A RELIGIOUS determination)."

How exactly is this a religious determination? I know atheists who believe that it is a life in this context.

You are changing the perameters of the debate and trying to win on a religion point that doesn't exist.

You can argue from science that this is a life, and you can also argue pretty easily that since we don't know at what point personhood begins, that it is better to er on the side of perserving life rather than taking it. There isn't a single religious belief or statement in what I just said. It isn't based in faith, it isn't based on a teaching of God, but on a basic moral principle of the value of human life.

The problem with the abortion debate, is that the baby is given no right to live at all-at any point in pregnancy. At the very least, the debate should take into account viability, and once that point is reached, abortion should be absolutely prohibited except where a mother's life is in danger (or in a situation where the fetus is known to be unable to survive/or is dead), and at that point, we should be delivering the baby, not killing it.

Science cannot tell you whe... (Below threshold)

Science cannot tell you when "personhood" begins. At that point it becomes a faith argument (which is what I've argued from the beginning..religious, NOT denominational .. and atheists are just as religious as a Christian because their belief is based on faith that God doesn't exist)

My whole point was to demonstrate that the debate should be about the competing values of nascent human life and born human life. The people who put no value on an unborn child are little different than people who put no value on the mother.

I have not ever argued from the extremist "pro-choice" position because I do NOT believe in it. I think the law is compelled to severely restrict abortions for any fetus at viability and to criminalize D&X in the 3rd trimester. I believe that abortions for minors without the consent of parent or guardian or court should be criminalized.

"Science cannot tell you wh... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"Science cannot tell you when "personhood" begins. At that point it becomes a faith argument (which is what I've argued from the beginning..religious, NOT denominational .. and atheists are just as religious as a Christian because their belief is based on faith that God doesn't exist)"

Determination of personhood still has nothing to do with religious belief. I agree that Science can't go far in determining exactly when that personhood begins, but the criteria for deciding that isn't anymore religious than anything else.

Just MeWha...? You... (Below threshold)

Just Me

Wha...? You agree that Science cannot determine the moment "personhood" starts and then say but then subsequent opinions by others are not faith??

Person "A" believes personhood comes into being at conception, Person "B" believes it is when significant brainwaves can be determined

Each person is appling a personal opinion and the only resolution between the two positions is going to be a compromise because neither one can use Science as the evidence of "personhood comes into being at 10 weeks gestation"

Each person is appling a... (Below threshold)
KBiel:

Each person is appling a personal opinion and the only resolution between the two positions is going to be a compromise because neither one can use Science as the evidence of "personhood comes into being at 10 weeks gestation"

Ah, now you are getting somewhere. So if no one can prove when "personhood" is granted to a mass of cells (or even a single cell), then where do we err? Would you rather err on the side that a zygote is a human being with a right to live (if possible) or do you err that it's ok to kill something that might be human as long as it doesn't have eyes or hair or a digestive tract, et al?

Please read my previous comment and solve the logic puzzle.

I have a scenerio (I'm borr... (Below threshold)
butterfly:

I have a scenerio (I'm borrowing the following from another source):
If your child comes up behind you while you're working and asks, "Mommy/Daddy, can I kill this?" what one question must you ask before you can answer his question?

Before you can answer the question "Can I kill this?" you must first ask the question "What is it?" If it's a spider or a cockroach he can smash it. If it's the boy down the street, he'll need to sit down for a long talk with you.

What is the unborn?

Is it a plant or animal?
Is it a plant, or apple, or some kind of bacteria?
Could it be a fish and then change into a mammal?
What kind of mammal is it? A cat? A dog?

The unborn is a homo sapiens, a human being.

If you have a row of 10 zygotes, how would you know which one was a human being if they all looked the same to the naked eye? You'd know by the DNA. The unborn's DNA indicates what kind of bodily form the adult is going to take, but even at this beginning stage the zygote is still human.

The principle of "biogenesis" proves the unborn is a human being. In the 19th century, Louis Pasteur's discoveries led to the principle of biogenesis, which states two things:

First, all life comes from pre-existent life.
Second, each being reproduces after it's own kind.

If you don't believe that he/she is a human being, then what you're saying is that two human beings, a man and a woman, can create a separate being that is not human.

To Darleen: Where are you getting your information about pro lifers only wanting to protect the unborn? It's another one of those myths. Didn't you read the previous post about all of the help there is available to women in crisis pregnancies? This help extends far into the future as well,, not just until the baby is born. Okay, maybe you want to argue that they are religious organizations, but what does that tell you? It tells me that they care.

I don't see Planned Parenthood "maternity homes," I don't see NARAL offering financial help, not only from diapers to rent and beyond, but also emotional help, to women who carry their pregnancies to term. What does that tell me? That Planned Parenthood and NARAL are in the abortion business and that they don't care about the well being of women.

All of this, speaking as a woman whose had abortions and been seriously hurt by them. Abortion hurts women and kills children. Women deserve better that abortion, legal or illegal. Parting comments: peace in the womb!

M





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