CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Abortion, Logic and Morality

Jun 22, 2008

It seems the more controversial an issue is, the more sloppy the thinking and the more immoral the evaluation. Abortion is a good case in point. It is an issue immersed in convoluted and confused reasoning, and cloudy and questionable morality.

The bottom line is this: when people seek to defend the indefensible, their reasoning goes out the door while their morality plummets. Seeking to justify the killing of babies entails a hardening of the heart and the dulling of the mind.

Examples abound. Let me provide two recent illustrations of this. One is from a pro-abortion individual; one is from a pro-abortion government. Both seek to claim that women need the right to kill their own babies, and that somehow this is good for women. Both are dead wrong.

Today a letter writer to the Sunday Herald Sun denounced a pro-lifer by arguing that her body was “more important than tissue cells”. She also argued that “a large percentage of abortions are performed within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy when the ‘body’ is a clump of tissue the size of a kidney bean”.

Of course she conveniently ignores the fact that she was once “tissue cells”. And what does size have to do with this anyway? Is she implying that the bigger something is, the more right it should have to life? In which case, if it is a choice between an elephant or her, I guess she loses out.

And the theory of the big bang posits that the beginning of the universe took place when something a whole lot smaller than a kidney bean burst into action. Big things can have small beginnings. Indeed, the human embryo from the moment of conception contains all the genetic code needed for this new member of the human race to grow and develop, complete with all the information needed to determine eye colour, height, sex, and a zillion other specific factors of this unique human being.

She also raises the old canard about this pro-lifer being a male and thus unable to carry a baby, making him unqualified to speak to women about their “reproductive rights”.  But given that around half of all abortion victims are males, one would think that they should have something to say about all this.

It would make about as much sense to say a woman should shut up about rape, since she does not know what it is like to be a rapist. Moreover, this argument assumes the position that people cannot assess a moral issue unless they have first experienced it themselves. But that is like saying we cannot condemn slavery unless we have first been slaves, or we cannot condemn arson unless we have first become one of its victims. Does the fact that I am not Jewish mean I cannot speak out on the Holocaust? Whether an issue is right or wrong does not depend on one’s experience of it.

She concludes her circus of words by saying the male pro-lifer is probably against “stem-cell research that saves lives”. She seems oblivious to the fact that there are several sources of stem cells. The only ones saving lives at the moment are from non-embryonic stem cells, which are ethically unproblematic. The unethical embryonic stem cells – which she probably has in mind – have no runs on the board at all so far in terms of human therapies or cures.

So in typical pro-abortion fashion, this letter writer has managed to mangle logic and basic morality, all in the name of her pro-death ideology.

But governments can also be guilty of such madness. Consider a move to overturn the Howard government ban on overseas aid which involves abortion services to developing countries. The Rudd government is yet to declare where it stands on such a move, but the pro-abortion camp is in full voice, throwing around the empty rhetoric of how women need abortion services, otherwise they are in extreme danger.

This is another example of Orwellian doublespeak, and moral myopia. Angela Shanahan had a good column on this recently. She begins by disclosing the fact that she nearly died from one of her pregnancies. She sets the stage with these words: “Most maternal deaths are directly attributable to four causes: haemorrhage, which is the biggest danger (25 per cent of deaths), infection (15 per cent), hypertension (12 per cent) and obstructed labour (8 per cent). Where women work hard through their pregnancies on poor nutrition, as in Africa, they have the highest rate of miscarriage in the world. In such a climate, abortion is a desperate last resort.”

She argues that the pro-abortion lobby groups really do not have the well-being of women in mind, as they seek to convince the Rudd government to change its policy: “The pro-abortion mentality of these advocacy groups targets pregnancy as a dangerous condition, to be treated by ‘safe abortion’ rather than targeting the disturbing lack of prenatal care, vaccines, trained midwives, centres equipped for obstetric complications and transportation to those centres. In the obsession to expand abortion services for the poorest women, the groups ignore the fundamentals of prenatal and postnatal care.”

What women need in developing countries is not more contraceptives and abortion services, but basic health care. “From their sanitised Western heights, the logic of this self-appointed group simply equates to fewer children and fewer pregnancies, with better outcomes for everybody. But is that really so? The problem with this thinking is that it regards having children as the central problem of these women’s lives, but it isn’t. Instead, there is the painful fact so many of the children they bear don’t grow up, which we in the West are not faced with and don’t comprehend: poverty and disease kills their children. With a complete lack of health care, women must also risk their lives to have more children.”

Indeed, these anti-natalist Westerners completely misunderstand the needs of third world women who are extremely pro-natalist. “Children are not the problem for these women; children are the answer. The difference between my experience and that of a woman in Africa is good health care. Poverty and a lack of health care is not cured by family planning, especially not by the kind of ruthless, reductionist approach of the modern population planners, who are not interested in only maternal and child health. What place does abortion have in good health care for women who want children but have no adequate health care? For the poor and the powerless, abortion is obviously the last resort. To portray it as a right and a coldly rational decision – of the Western feminists and population planners – is perverse in the extreme.”

She concludes: the call “for 10 per cent of Australia’s aid budget to be assigned to ‘sexual reproductive health’ is not just plain silly but obscenely irresponsible”. Indeed. And this will be a real test for Kevin Rudd, who did his best before the election to convince us of his Christian credentials.

Killing babies is not in the interests of women or of men. Illogic and immorality are both required as pro-abortionists seek to defend the indefensible. Surely this is one of the major human rights issues of our day. It is hoped that logic and morality prevail, for the sake of not only the unborn, but for Western civilisation.

www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23859123-7583,00.html

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11 Responses to Abortion, Logic and Morality

  • The women who have spoken to me in Africa do not want contraception, let alone abortion. They feel grieved that their clinics are fully stocked with donations of contraceptive devices, but not the antibiotics and medicines they need to to keep their children alive until maturity, just as you say, Bill. Truly, they feel that the West is trying to annihilate them with family planning ideas. What they want is more children to help them work and to take care of them in old age.
    Actually, I believe they are right; the politically correct in this country do want the Africans to produce less for the politically correct, secular agenda/religion. Believe me, the Africans feel it. They feel someone is out to diminish their population, which is not a warm fuzzy feeling.

    Rebecca Field

  • Thanks Rebecca

    Great comment and great insights from someone who has obviously been there and done that, unlike so many of the Western feminists who pontificate about what is best for Third World women but have never left their Western academies.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Rebecca – you’re right on the money, I feel. Some time back, I watched a discussion take place with regards to charity – one fellow in the conversation objected to the notion of supporting any charities. He could not name one that he would willingly support. In fact, he went on to say that Western countries should not be spending their resources to assist developing nations – we should just let them die out of whatever natural causes or attrition or warfare that is currently afflicting them.

    His reasoning? As best as I could understand it, it’s aligned with the environmentalist religion – fewer people in the world means a better quality of life for those who survive (including animals). The lack of impartiality of his thinking, of course, means that he (and his children/family/friends/the family cat) would stand to benefit. Survival of the fittest mentality? Yep.

    I wonder if he supports child labour or slavery? I should ask him.

    Mathew Hamilton, Vic.

  • As usual Bill, an excellent article.
    Where was the Angela Shanahan article ?
    God bless her for writing that politically incorrect truth.
    I don’t hold out much hope with the weak Christian pretending and media seeking approvalist PM K. Rudd or the parliament packed full of EMILYS’ list women (my anacronism, Evil Manipulation Is Like Yeast forget the Easy Money). All moral and ethical issues if decided with a conscience vote shows the majority of politicians are immoral and unethical. It is a horrible thought that it is only a matter of time until our foreign aid money and programs are tied to aborting overseas babies. We live in evil times.

    The vast majority of abortions occur in the 20 to 30 age group (in Victoria Australia 2005, approximately 17,500 out of the total of 22,000, 2000 baby deaths were in the age group 10 to 19 the rest in the over 30’s, who are the ones screaming for IVF).

    These figures are conservative i.e. the ones claimed on Medicare and public tax funded, a lot go on under the radar and are mis-named as some other medical procedure.

    I have actually been verbally attacked outside the East Melbourne so called ‘Fertility Control Clinic’ by an aggressive 30+woman, post abortion, victoriously waving the sheet of Medicare rebate ($500) for her abortion in my face and saying things I could not type here.

    There is an excellent article at American Thinker about the soon to be President Barry Hussien Obama and his wife, the advocates for partial birth abortion.

    The title is: “When will we admit the truth about Barack Obama?” by Selwyn Duke, April 24 2008.

    And what is he? What is the truth about Barack Obama? You won’t hear it from the Sean Hannitys of the world, who will tell us that he is a “good man” with bad ideology. Such people are simple telling you what they’re supposed to believe; it’s what “fair and balanced” commentators do, the stuff of “acceptable” conservatives. The truth about Obama is that he is not a good man. He is a bad man.

    Good men don’t turn a blind eye to unrepentant ex-terrorists; support vile, anti-American bigots; lie about their core beliefs; and look down on traditional Americans. Most significantly, good men don’t allow beautiful babies – the least among us – to be discarded like refuse and die miserable, lonely deaths in dark utility rooms. In fact, if we cannot call Obama a bad man, there is no such thing as a bad man. And calling him a good man doesn’t just strain credulity, it puts it in the hospital in traction.

    Ah, yes, hope, change, unity, infanticide, bigotry, terrorism, Obama . . . good? We all know what is wrong with this picture.

    Jennifer Parfenovics

  • I agree with the statement on cloudy and indefensible illogic to support the arguments of the pro-abortion movement.
    We statistically record 100,000 abortions a year – genocide. And that does not take account of the unasertainable number of deaths caused to embryonic life by the pill and RU386.
    Last week in Brisbane we had the bizarre event of 2 young children being found dead in their own home after one of their siblings raised concern about a foul and strange smell coming from their bedroom. The father was reported as sleeping in the bedroom whilst the mother got what sleep she could on the couch . What a man he was!!!
    Well the mother was reported as saying to the media that , after their death was attributed to malnutrition, she must not have fed them enough. Pretty good summation really! People were aghast (rightly so) that young lives could be ignored like that.
    Well what about all the women who take the pill for contraceptive purposes. That changes the nature of the womb so that the tiny life comes sailing up the fallopian tubes for its food and nurturing in the womb only to find a hostile environment which starves it to death by denying the natural feeding environemnt the womb otherwise offers.
    So what is the difference between the mother who neglects her children and the mother who takes active steps to remove the means by which nature feeds the embronic life in her womb. The number of cells is irrelevant to the issue of life, which begins at conception.
    The issue as to whether an embryo is by law defined as a person or not is irrelevant. It is human life, not “personhood “status, which determines the morality or otherwise of acts which deny the necessities of life – whatever those necessities might be at the stage of the human life. No difference at all really. Only in the fictional minds of those for whom this is indeed an inconvenient truth.
    What would this mean for the drug companies that make the pill. A reduction of probably billions of dollars in lost revenues. That would mean that people would have to look for other means of determining parenthood like the Billings method.
    That wouild rquire some accountability and personal responsibility which has been rejected by males who want to be able to have sex when they want it with no consequence. Fancy having to consider that in the 21st century.
    But that is what Jesus calls us to do as the act of abortion in utero or starving children to death after birth are parallel acts and are therefore equally wrong. I say that from an objective perspective without judging the acts of the Brisbane mother who is facing murder charges .
    The point I make is that the world sees that tragic event as being totally unaccetable because they see the stark reality of children dying.
    That is something not so obvious in abortion whether chemical abortion or using an abortifacient like the pill or RU 386.
    David Grace

  • Thanks Jennifer
    It was in the Weekend Australian, June 14-15. I provide the link to it at the end of my article.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • For B. Hussein Obama’s friendship with unrepentant terrorist bombers and other America-hating radicals, see You Need a Weatherman To Tell Which Way Obama Will Go by Mary Grabar.

    For Obama’s support of infanticide, not just abortion, see Infanticide candidate for president by Nat Hentoff. He also claims that babies are a “punishment”.

    Indeed, he is far from a good man but an evil demagogue. Yet some ostensible black conservatives support him just because of his skin colour. See Barack Obama Gives Bishop TD Jakes Goose Bumps—Which Makes My Skin Crawl by Doug Giles.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Hi Bill,

    I wanted to ask a question. I have been a Christian all of my life, but having just left a cult, where I grew up, I am now dealing with a lot of false doctrine they taught. They never taught anything about abortion as they believed it was a personal issue. A friend of mine has just had an abortion because her baby had a chromosonal abnormality. I am very distressed by this, even more so than she is. She has just got on with life and put it down to “experience” whereas I can’t seem to get past it. I just don’t understand how she did that. But anyway, what is your stance on abortion for medical reasons? Either for the mother’s health or the baby’s. I am getting a lot of mixed opinions etc from Christians and am a bit confused about the whole issue.

    Sorry if this is a stupid question!

    Belinda Horne

  • Thanks Belinda

    It certainly is not a stupid question, but an important one. These are the so-called hard cases of abortion (along with rape and incest). A few general points. Hard cases make for bad law. That is, the case for or against abortion should not be established on these hard cases. Also, they happen to make up a tiny fraction of all abortions anyway. One study found abortions due to a threat to the mother’s health to be only .36% of all abortions. And abortions because of suspected birth defects make up only .24% of all abortions.

    While we must be sensitive to the women in these situations, a few more comments are in order. As to supposed abnormalities to the baby, several things: The testing is subject to error. I know of many cases where a mother was warned by a doctor that a child might have some disability or abnormality, but he or she turned out to be perfectly normal. Moreover, handicapped kids are humans too. Who says they should not be allowed to live? Who should play God here? Most kids in this condition will certainly tell you they would rather be alive.

    As to a genuine threat to the health of the mother, such as with an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, there is the chance of the mother’s life being at risk. The child will most likely die anyway outside of the uterus, so action to remove the baby is necessary. Uterine cancer is another situation. Surgery to remove the cancer may result in the death of the baby. Thus in both cases this is not really abortion. Attempts are being made to save the mum’s life, and the baby may die as a by-product.

    The great majority of abortions are simply about lifestyle choices, not about these really hard cases. So most believers would argue to allow the baby to be born with the possibility of some defect, and say that those cases to save the mother are not really abortions at all. The intent is not to kill the baby, but to save the mother.

    Thanks for asking. Hope this helps.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi Bill.

    Yes your answer helps me a lot. Thanks very much for your response and the clarity it has provided.

    Regards,
    Belinda Horne

  • “She also raises the old canard about this pro-lifer being a male and thus unable to carry a baby, making him unqualified to speak to women about their “reproductive rights”. But given that around half of all abortion victims are males, one would think that they should have something to say about all this.”

    I am not sure how genitals have anything to do with the death of the unborn child. But if people (usually pro-abortion women) want to argue this than its just as reasonable to argue that men, who can not carry babies, are therefore more detached and more rational about the pregnancy and should make the decision on what happens to the unborn instead of women.

    Both arguments are silly in the context but the later one tends to destroy the former. Essentially there is no morale, spiritual, rational, logical or scientific reason that can justify the murder of the unborn. Only where the death of the mother is likely should it be considered an option (entopic pregnancy jumps to mind). This is the principle of life for life. As Bill said doctors are not trying to abort the baby but save the mother.

    I personally find it impossible to understand the mentality of someone who supports abortion. It’s like a rapist or pedophile. I can’t fathom what goes through their minds to justify their actions even to themselves. I sometimes think it’s a case of Pharaoh or Saul where God gives people over to their sin and then things just spiral out of control from there.

    The other people I can’t understand are those who say “I am against abortion but I would never infringe on a woman’s right to choose”. I am not even sure what this means the thinking is so sloppy. Is this what the German people thought when they saw the plumes of smoke rise above Buchenwald? Just shrug and turn away? I suspect the biggest problem is that the murder is unseen. Much like the concentration camps…

    Michael Mifsud

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