Tag Archives: abortion

Trying to ignore Gosnell

file000846384716It’s surprising how little I knew about the Kermit Gosnell case. He was convicted of three counts of murder and probably guilty of more. I know much more than I want to know about Jody Arias and her trial, but heard little about this man who was guilty of a much more gruesome crime.

I’m more of a media defender than a media basher. Hearing the phrase “mainstream media” puts me on the defensive. I’m disgusted by Fox News’ attempt to “balance things” by presenting news skewed to a conservative point of view. But this case is making me rethink a lot of things.

He was a serial killer, in present day America, and his trial went almost unnoticed in the media. Much of the reporting that happened focused on the controversy around the case rather than the case itself.

For reasons of their own, many people involved in major media production didn’t want this case talked about. The man was killing babies. His case provides obvious ammunition to opponents of abortion; those in favor of abortion didn’t want that discussion to happen.

In fact, Time magazine proclaimed that this case wasn’t about abortion. If it wasn’t, it should have been. My hope is that some family somewhere heard the details of this case and realized that what Gosnell did isn’t very different from what abortion doctors do every day. Hopefully they will change their minds about having an abortion, deciding not to kill their child as Gosnell killed those children.

But they may not get the chance to hear the story. Not if some news producers achieve what they hope by not focusing on this murderer.

That’s pretty sad.

photo courtesy of morguefile.com

Time for a new abortion bandwagon?

gavelI want to say just a bit more on the topic of abortion. I think we need to understand that the Supreme Court ruling known as Roe vs. Wade was a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself. Like I said yesterday, even if Roe vs. Wade were overturned abortion wouldn’t go away. In strict terms, it wouldn’t even become illegal, except in the states that chose to make it so. Before 1973, abortion was already legal under some circumstances (following the model proposed by the American Law Institute) in thirteen states.

But even at that, let’s talk about legislation in general. Laws allowing abortion are a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. We need to think about the factors in our society that have led to widespread public support for legalized abortion. Modifying laws while that sentiment still exists won’t accomplish much.

Jay Abels commented yesterday:

Almost 10 years ago, an article in Página 12 shocked me. In 2003 the number of abortions in Argentina was estimated to approximate the number in the USA. Their population was only about one tenth of our population, but abortion was so rampant, that they had almost as many abortions as we did. The biggest difference was that every one of the abortions in Argentina was illegal. There had not been one single legal abortion. The other big difference was between the death rates of the mothers. Abortion continues to be the leading cause of death for pregnant women in Latin America, where it has been illegal in every country. We knew 2 young women who died, one from a poorly done abortion by a neighbor lady, and the other from cancer when she did not get an abortion and the hormones stimulated the tumor’s growth.
Counting something that it illegal isn’t easy. We can get numbers on the amounts of tobacco sold that are much more accurate than on the amounts of marijuana. The same is true for abortion in Latin America. With the variety of estimated numbers and rates there, every one far exceeds the rate here where it is legal. Last year Uruguay legalized first trimester abortion with a number of restrictions. They are the first L.A. country to legalize it. It will be interesting to see what their numbers do.
I am certainly not in favor of increasing abortion rates; I have never heard any one say that they are. There are a variety of ideas on how to bring the rates down. Making it illegal does not appear to do anything but raise the rate both on abortions and on the death of the mothers. Maybe we should get on a different bandwagon.

Abortion numbers rose greatly over the last few years. Even in places where abortion was illegal. Here are some thoughts on some cultural influences besides the legal ones:

  • The use of penicillin to treat venereal disease eliminated one of the great inhibitors of promiscuity
  • The widespread availability of effective contraception took away the fear of pregnancy
  • The social pressure to “do the right thing” disappeared; couples no longer felt they had to marry when the girl got pregnant. Now women were often left to face the financial and physical burdens alone.
  • Medical procedures regarding abortion were studied more openly. New techniques were developed. (I purposely avoid all adjectives like “effective” or “better”; they make me shudder)
  • Debates over abortion laws have created a sense of “this is my right”
  • Social stigmas concerning abortion have all but disappeared

Can you think of others?

Joel pleaded yesterday that different methods of opposing abortion be respected. I’ll echo that plea. Those that want to join the public fight over “Roe vs. Wade” need to recognize that they’re choosing one of many methods. And it’s one of the least effective (if you haven’t, I’d encourage you to look at James Davison Hunter’s material on To Change The World, either on this site or at the author’s site). As Jay said, it’s time that the church as a whole chose a different bandwagon. Let’s address the illness, not just the symptoms.

What if Roe vs. Wade went away?

gavelIn today’s “Links To Go,” there are a couple of articles that beat me to the punch a bit on the subject of how Christians should speak up for life. Rex Butts has recently written a couple of posts on the subject: 40 Years of Roe v. Wade… Lord Come! and Ending Abortion. And Chris Altrock had a good article last week: Real solution to abortion.

I’d like us to think about a hypothetical. What if Roe vs. Wade were overturned? What if the Supreme Court announced this afternoon that states could prohibit abortion?

Obviously that would move the political fight to the state level. And, given the current political climate in the U.S., I think many states would make abortion legal.

What if the Supreme Court made abortion illegal? Would that end abortions? You know and I know that it wouldn’t. I do find it interesting to hear the gun control vs. abortion debates (amazing how often those two get paired); the same people who say that outlawing guns wouldn’t stop gun violence seem to think that outlawing abortion would end abortions. It’s not true.

Worldwide, abortion rates are highest in countries where abortion isn’t legal. And our own history tells us that abortions were going on before Roe vs. Wade, even in States where it was illegal. Many of us probably know of Christians who had abortions, even though they thought they were damning themselves by doing so. Outlawing abortion would probably decrease the number of abortions in this country, but it would by no means eliminate them.

When I mentioned before the sorts of things that Christians should be doing about abortion, I was told that churches were already doing those things “in spades.” Maybe. But I can’t help but wonder how many lives could have been saved if we’d taken the same money and the same effort we’ve spent trying to change laws and used those things trying to minister to young couples, unwed mothers and unwanted children.

Throughout the history of our country, we’ve wrestled with the concept of which lives have value and which don’t. Society has been wrong, time and again. Some Christians have bucked the trend, some haven’t. Some Christians spoke up for the rights of native Americans; many didn’t. Some spoke out against slavery; some didn’t. Some supported the civil rights movement; some opposed it vehemently. Some support the killing of America’s enemies in other countries; some speak out against it.

Now, as society has decided that these lives aren’t worth saving, we need to back up and begin speaking for all lives. If we try to pick and choose, society can ignore us easily. We speak up for the unborn. We speak up for foreigners. We speak up for those who die around the world from hunger, thirst and disease. We speak up for life. We become truly pro-life and not just pro-life on one topic.

The value of human life

cemeteryScenario 1: “Q: What’s sandy all over and glows in the dark? A: Iran, if they harm even one of the hostages.” It was 1980. Iran was holding American citizens hostage. Americans! We were high school seniors. Tough guys. If there were a war, we’d be the ones drafted. We made jokes about the possibility of dropping nuclear weapons on Iran and killing millions of people.

Scenario 2: It was ACU basketball’s finest hour. Norman Archibald announced the games in the style of a big-time college announcer. Moody Coliseum would be rocking, especially Section F. The fans in Section F were there to see basketball, but they were especially there to have a good time. They had a wide repertoire of antics: pulling out newspapers to read while opposing players shot free throws, jingling their keys and chanting “Go start the bus!” when ACU was about to win, taunting opposing players when they committed fouls. One favorite was the ceremonial hanging of the referee: raising a doll dressed like an official with a noose around his neck. I found it great fun, until the day my friend Joel Solliday shared his concern: “They’re representing the taking of a human life!

Scenario 3: Pew Research Report on their Values Survey (2007):

Nearly a quarter of American adults (23%) say they mostly (14%) or completely (9%) agree that American lives are worth more than the lives of people in other countries according to the most recent Pew Social Values Survey; those most likely to take this view include white men (30%), persons ages 18-29 (29%) and self-identified conservative Republicans (28%).

Scenario 4: Mary Elizabeth Williams writes about abortion:

All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.

The basic problem behind many of today’s hot-button issues is that we don’t value human life.

Scenario 5:

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:6–10)

photo from Morguefile.com

No more speaking up for evil

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAOK, I want to go back to a recurring theme on this blog, the idea of speaking to the political system from outside the system. I admittedly wrestle with terminology a bit, for I tend to think of politics in terms of partisan struggles, while others think that anything affecting the public (the polis) is politics.

What I’m talking about is Christians refusing to align themselves with human groups, be they liberal or conservative, Republican or Democratic. At some point, those groups begin to exist with the aim of winning elections and guaranteeing their continued existence. Ideas begin to be judged more in terms of practicality, feasibility, and electability, rather than in terms of right and wrong.

So we Christians speak out on the issues, but not with the same talking points that our non-Christian friends use. If your political views line up with a non-believer’s political views, your views probably aren’t Christian. It’s as simple as that.

One area where I’d like to see Christians take a firm stand these days is on the topic of life. We need to be pro-life, far beyond what those who merely oppose abortion are. We need to be anti-death. We need to stop saying, “Well, this form of killing is worse than that form of killing, so I’ll oppose it.” I read a Christian blogger who said that the conservatives are wrong for supporting overseas wars, while liberals are wrong for supporting abortion, but he’d support the conservatives because of “body count.”

No! When we choose the lesser of two evils, we are still choosing evil.

Let’s be known for saying, “I don’t care who gets elected. I don’t care if this idea has public palatability. I’m going to speak the truth.” Let’s be known as the people who won’t compromise their beliefs just to be able to identify themselves with a popular movement. Let’s be known as those who unwaveringly seek the truth. (imperfectly, yes, but relentlessly)

Let’s stand up for life. From womb to the tomb, as they say. We oppose abortion. We oppose war. We oppose humans causing the death of other humans.

Once we start speaking out against ALL killing, people will realize that we aren’t just another partisan voice in the political maelstrom. As long as we choose the lessor of evils, no one will believe that we are really speaking out for good.


photo from my old friend, MorgueFile.com