Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Abortion Jihad

Remember when terrorism in America meant an abortion clinic bombing, or an abortion clinic doctor being shot?

Back when these things were popular, in the 90's, I remember thinking we were headed toward an abortion jihad. A war between pro and anti abortion rights fighters. I envisioned abortion clinics being patrolled by Pro-Choice Paramilitary, waiting for an attack by the Pro-Life Liberation Army.



I wonder now how much the increased surveillance of American citizens produced by 9/11 resulted in a decrease in abortion clinic violence.

I've never been in the middle of something I felt so strongly about that I thought I needed to attack someone. But some of the people behind the violent anti-abortion movement feel just that way. Similarly, certain factions in the animal rights movement feel moved to violence or terrorism in an attempt to force their opposing view on others.

The Animal Liberation Front feels strongly about keeping animals from being tested on. So strongly that they have been implicated in violent acts. On the surface I don't see a difference between their tactics and the tactics of the anti-abortion crowd. The differences lie in the argument over whether the rights of animals are different than the rights of a human embryo or fetus.

Animals:
-We either have the right to do with animals as we please or we don't.
-Animals experience pain and suffering in a way that is equivalent to or greater than the way we feel pain.
-There is a metaphysical existence that animals experience which makes experimenting on them morally reprehensible or there is not.

Embryos:
-We either have the right to end a developing embryo's life or we don't.
-Embryos experience pain and suffering in a way that is equivalent to or greater than the way we feel pain.
-There is a metaphysical existence that embryos experience which makes ending their life morally reprehensible or there is not.

I'm not ready to offer my thoughts on all of these items. I'm throwing them out there to see what responses they might generate. Without pushing my own opinions on you I'm curious to first hear what others thing about the points I list above. Which side of those issues they are on.

13 comments:

darlajune said...

Your use of the term "anti-abortion" rather than "pro-life" makes me think that you are probably "pro-abortion" or "pro-choice". I favor a compassionate pro-life position. By compassionate I mean that the mother of an unwanted child should be given help in order to carry her child to term...such as shelter if needed, clothing, and food, help with getting a job, help with finding an adoption lawyer if she wishes. If she chooses to keep the baby, pro-life people should assist in obtaining baby clothes, crib, formula, etc. Compassion does not point the finger and condemn but, instead extends a helping hand. Compassion means offering love not lectures. The battle to save unborn babies will be accomplished one mother and one baby at a time, not by violent measures, in my opinion.

Doubting Foo said...

Thanks for your comment, darlajune. I hate both terms, pro-choice/pro-life. If I were fighting to keep animals from being experimented on I would consider myself "pro-life." Pro-animal-life, to be more precise. I figured I gave away more by my use of the term embryo rather than fetus. Unless you think embryos can suffer pain like us or exist in some metaphysical sense (ie, they have a soul from conception) then you might be willing to concede that stopping its development (ie, ending its life) would be ethically alright.

I do like your idea that if a mother chooses to carry a child to term then "pro-life" means helping her in all the ways she might need. Do you think it would help if our country offered health insurance for all? I think that would help you achieve your goal. Perhaps in the coming year we'll hear more about that particular debate (how to get health care to all Americans).

darlajune said...

Doubting Foo,
I do believe that an embryo or fetus is actually a very tiny human being with a soul and personhood given by God. As a Christian I believe that Christ was fully human and fully divine before birth in the womb of Mary.
As far as national health care is concerned I am leery of it simply because other countries who have such systems are so below the standard of health care that we have here in the US. They often come to the USA to get the best medical care. People I know via the Internet have had to wait for long periods of time for necessary surgery even when in serious pain. So I am not really on board with the "national health care" idea. I think something needs to change but I don't know that government can get the job done.
As far as health care for a woman in a crisis pregnancy, that is a tough one if she has no insurance and she wishes to keep the baby. There are many pregnancy centers who may be able to direct her to resources for financial help. Some churches may offer help also.
If the mother decides to give the baby up for adoption there are many, many childless couples who would be willing to pay the medical bills for a chance to have a child to love and raise.
Abortion is the fast and easy answer for the short term but it denies that tiny little one the opportunity to live; in the long term having an abortion often hurts the mother emotionally. There are guilt feelings, remorse, often depression associated with the experience of having an abortion. Some women suffer this silently and alone because they don't want to talk about it. It can be very debilitating. There needs to be help for the women who suffer in this way but abortion providers do not very often provide post-abortion counseling to help the woman who is distressed in this way. There is a general denial that the problem exists. It seems the overwhelming concern for "women's health issues" ends once the abortion has been done and paid for. Problems after the abortion are not acknowledged nor is there any support or concern after the fact. I am pro-life so, of course, I am against abortion. When I was a young woman I had a "crisis pregnancy". Without going into the details let me just say that I have had a lifetime of regret for the "choice" I made. If I could go back in time and change my life I would have made a different "choice". I guess that is why I have this deep care for anyone who is faced with making this decision.
Now I am not saying that carrying the baby to term is easy. It usually isn't. (I have 4 living children now) And caring for a baby is one of the hardest jobs on the planet but it is also the best job I ever had. I don't regret the efforts to care for my 4 children (even though I suffer from MS). We got through it and I have so much love for them and from them that I can't contain it all. No amount of education or salary or "freedom" could compare to what I have.
Thanks for the opportunity to discuss this. It is a topic dear to my heart as you probably have noticed. This issue is so complicated and there are no EASY answers.

pursuitofmeaning said...

What she said... :-) plus this. I see so many people in this country spend way too much money and effort on animals while there is a starving human world out there. Don't get me wrong - I love animals and will probably at least one of my kids will become a vet - and I support her. But often I find people that would spend thousands on saving mice from being experimented on - but not a cent to a poor homeless guy in an alley.

Doubting Foo said...

As if to help with my point:
Firebombings at Homes of 2 California Researchers

An animal rights activist setting fire to a researcher's home is like God using an earthquake to kill gays in California...not a very efficient method that could lead to collateral damage. Not that I'm suggesting they target the researchers directly!

Anonymous said...

@pursuitofmeaning

I see so many people in this country spend way too much money and effort on greedy preachers, faith "healers" and other religious charlatans while there is a starving human world out there. Don't get me wrong - if people want to get scammed and throw their money down the drain - it's their right. But often I find people that would spend thousands on greedy church frauds and televangelists - but not a cent to a poor homeless guy in an alley.

Doubting Foo said...

darlajune or pursuit, what about cases of rape? If I am raped and the next day take an abortion pill why is that bad? Why should I be forced to carry a child that was created by an act of evil or violence? If a psychopath or sociopath rapes me there is a good chance that his child will inherit those tendencies...I don't see how a few minutes of violence must be dragged out for a lifetime.

punkin said...

Doubting Foo, I understand why a woman would not want to carry a baby conceived as a result of rape. Honestly, though, there are very few abortions performed because of rape according to statistics reported by abortion providers. Let me ask you this. Should an innocent baby receive a death sentence because of someone else's crime?
As for what the child may grow up to be, why not give him or her the chance? We don't get rid of the children of criminals because they have bad genes.
A 9 month sacrifice by the mother would at least allow this little one to live and, if she is not able to raise him/her, there are many people who would gladly adopt him. That may seem like a hard thing to ask but consider this: the abortion will always be remembered by her. That memory can do more damage to her life than carrying the baby to term. And there will be no end to the regret. At least in giving life to a child the mother can have the knowledge that she sacrificed for not only the child but also for the adoptive parents and possibly siblings and grandparents, etc. So the evil act of one man can be changed into an act of love for many people. This memory can give the mother comfort. There was a young woman who came to our town once who had been the result of a rape. She was so thankful that her birth mother did not have an abortion. She was such a lovely, intelligent girl. I wish I could remember her name but I don't. Anyway, her adoptive parents helped her find her birth mother when she was grown. They included the birth mother into their family in a way. There was so much healing and joy that took place for that birth mother. In fact she wrote a book. The title was The Missing Peace, I think. The young woman actually went to Washington DC to speak to Congress about the exception for rape. I said all that to say that, although rape is a horrible crime and should be punished, there can be a blessing in carrying that "burden". I hate to use the word burden when referring to a baby. I can't look at the face of a baby and think "burden". They just ooze with JOY.

You said in your reply
"I don't see how a few minutes of violence must be dragged out for a lifetime."

To me abortion is also a few minutes of violence(to the baby) and it will definitely last as a memory for the mother's lifetime and end the baby's lifetime. Pregnancy only lasts 9 months. At the end of that 9 months another life can continue. Who knows, maybe that child will grow up to find the cure for AIDS or MS.

In saying all this I am not saying that a woman who gets the abortion should be condemned. I don't condemn anyone///that would be like the pot calling the kettle black.

I am just trying to give you some different thoughts on the subject. I believe you are a thoughtful person who does consider other's opinions and this is just my opinion.

Darla said...

Doubting Foo,
That last comment was from darlajune. I also use punkin sometimes.

darlajune said...

I found that book at AbeBooks;
The missing piece: Finding God's peace for your past (ISBN: 0890815402)
Lee Ezell - this author was the birth mother from being raped. She wrote this book after being reunited with her daughter many years later.

Anonymous said...

"...because other countries who have such systems are so below the standard of health care that we have here in the US. They often come to the USA to get the best medical care."

Yeah, right... You must be joking. Best medical care only for the very rich. 90% of people in the USA don't even get the most basic care. At least in those "other" countries they don't use every opportunity to cheat you out of medical care so they can make profit out of your misery. Also, some people here need a reality check. Other country are so "below standard"? Really? That's what you usually hear from arrogant and ignorant people, who simply "know" that we are, like, so much better than all the other countries. Yeah, right. Just compare mortality rates and life expectancies and you're in for a surprise.

Naked Ape said...

Animals:
-We either have the right to do with animals as we please or we don't.

Last time I checked the concept of ownership could be applied to animals. So we either have the right to do with property as we please or we don't.
-Animals experience pain and suffering in a way that is equivalent to or greater than the way we feel pain.
That seems reasonable, I Agree.
-There is a metaphysical existence that animals experience which makes experimenting on them morally reprehensible or there is not.
I would say There is a metaphysical existence that animals experience which makes torturing them morally reprehensible. I for one am not willing to forgo advances in medicine that come from experimentation with animals, but I would prefer that experimental animals should be treated a humanely as possible.
Embryos:
-We either have the right to end a developing embryo's life or we don't.

If embryo's have rights, then pregnant women don't. I think humans should be able to choose whether or not they wish to have a partasitic organism living in them for nine months.
-Embryos experience pain and suffering in a way that is equivalent to or greater than the way we feel pain.
Unlikely.
-There is a metaphysical existence that embryos experience which makes ending their life morally reprehensible or there is not.
This is where the animal/embryo analogy breaks down. Animals could conceivably be liberated from their living quarters in a reasearch facitity (and occasionally are), while liberating embryos from their living quarters in a womans womb is precicely what the anti-choice movement is fighting against.

Doubting Foo said...

Naked Ape, thanks for the comment. I think the choice between animal testing versus medical advances is a difficult one. The more the animal looks like me the more problem I have with it: I know that I probably should have a problem with ALL testing, though, I'm just being honest about how seeing different animals in cages makes me feel (it's like when people want to save the cute and cuddly animals from extinction but don't care about the "ugly" ones.)

Personally, I don't think a small group of cell's rights override that of the mother. But at some point, when the embryo becomes viable outside the womb then I think consideration should be made for the baby.