What Wendy Davis’s Filibuster Means for Christian Communion

Image: YouTube

by Rachana Chhin

If you have been swept up in all the news with the recent Supreme Court rulings on marriage, you probably have not heard about a significant event that happened in Texas. Around midnight on Tuesday night, after an 11 hour filibuster, the Texas special legislative session ended and with it a pro-life omnibus bill called SB5.

There is much misinformation about what the bill actually does but, in essence, it comprised four parts. One part of SB5 would have banned abortion at 20 weeks, when some argue that unborn children are sufficiently developed to feel pain. A second part would raise the standards of care in abortion facilities to meet that of other surgical centers. The third part required that abortion doctors have admitting privileges to a local hospital (so patients can receive aftercare). And a final provision would have regulated the usage of the RU-486 abortion drug to follow FDA guidelines.

Of course, as you can imagine, the impetus driving at least some of this push by legislators to standardize and regulate abortion care was the recent trial in Philadelphia of Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison for the infamous “snipping” of viable babies. Closer to home, in Houston, Texas, abortionist Douglas Karpen is under investigation for illegal and particularly gruesome late-term abortion procedures.

Without going into all of the procedural issues surrounding the bill, pro-choice legislators in the Texas Senate—with the assistance of a vocal and (literally) roaring crowd—successfully managed to kill SB5 by preventing the legislators from voting before the midnight special session deadline. It suffices to say that this was one of the most significant pieces of pro-life legislation ever proposed in the State of Texas.

Over all, it was a sad night for Texas. What transpired reflected poorly upon our legislature and our citizens. And it just adds to an increasing litany of instances where proper public discourse has been ignored at the expense of politics.

What can we do? We, as Christians, do have a particularly high responsibility to others. And that is to bring Christ’s redeeming Gospel to a hurting and broken humanity. Spreading the good news, the evangelion, is the mission of the Church. Included within that call are the ways in which we discourse with others.

Our God is a God of order. He is not chaos. Out of nothing—ex nihilo—He created the entirety of the cosmos. The ordering of the universe is both complex and understandable. God communicates himself to us in the birds of the air, the flowers of the field, and the cool gentle breeze. God wants to be known and to know us. Indeed, He “knows us more than we know ourselves.” What happened in Texas was anything but orderly or seeking to know and be known. Shouting someone down. Refusing to hear them. Shutting out debate. That is the very breaking of communion. It is to shut someone out of your life. And that wreaks a violence upon the soul unlike any other.

The pro-life community is often criticized for only caring about the unborn and doing nothing for babies once they’re born. Aside from the existence of various ministries, pregnancy resource centers, and para-church organizations that actually do a lot of great work, it is true that we can always do better to care for the whole person, from birth to death. Although Christians can validly disagree on the specific aspects of SB5, we can learn at least three lessons from this experience about what authentic dialogue should look like.

First, there was a loss of respect for the Other. Christian reverence was sorely lacking. We must recognize the dignity of the other person, that these are created in the image of God, before we are able to give them what is their due. Now, this does not mean kowtowing to our government, especially with respect to unjust laws, but it does mean showing our fellow citizens an appropriate way to relate to those put in charge over us. With reference to giving our leaders what they are due, St. Paul shows us one way: “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Second, we have to recognize that this is not merely a binary recognition of one person to another but also encompasses a greater communal dimension. The very life of God in Trinity mirrors what true communion looks like. That is, the unity of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit overflows so bountifully that God invites the rest of creation to join Him. Pope Francis recently spoke of this aspect in context of the Church:

The Church is born from the desire of God to call all people into communion with Him, to His friendship, and indeed, as His children, to partake of His own divine life. The very word ‘Church’, from the Greek ekklesia, means ‘convocation’. God calls us, urges us to escape from individualism, [from] the tendency to withdraw into ourselves, and calls us—convokes us—to be a part of His family.

It is often tempting, especially with an issue like abortion, to be mired in our own worldviews without ever giving a second thought to the voice of another. We must resist the call to dehumanize the other side to a mere mob, or reduce their communications to a cheap talking point. That helps no one and does not establish communion. Instead, we must be willing to respond charitably to those who support abortion. It is much harder to hate someone who shows you love. We must see into their lives the situations that give rise to a need for abortion. We must share of ourselves and our goods even when it hurts. That does not mean we come to agree on everything, but it does mean that when we are both open to each other that the path to journeying towards truth together can begin.

Finally, what does this journey look like? As I alluded to in the previous paragraph, it must be ordered to truth. Too often today, we are afraid of the word truth. To claim “truth” means that I must exclude another or that they are totally wrong. But that is a mischaracterization of truth. St. Augustine said it best once in that we do not possess the truth, but we are possessed by it. We must not be afraid of truth. Love, defined as willing the good of the other person, needs truth. Without truth, it ceases to be love proper because it seeks something lesser, more diminished, and ultimately unsatisfying. Without truth, there is no communion. We can see the truth of love embedded within our very bodies. That new life can be created between the loving embrace between a man and a woman, how wonderful that is! Regardless of how much sex is trivialized or commercialized, the truth of that cannot be stamped away indefinitely. It remains. Life is a good thing. Even many arguments for abortion are based upon the future quality of life of the child, or the mother, or some other good. No one (usually) seeks an abortion for its own sake.

Through abortion, the natural Mother-Father-Child dynamic is parodied in a pure exercise of power by one party or another. That most intimate of relationships, which should be one of maternal care, childlike love, or fatherly protection, becomes a zero-sum game where one party must gain at another’s loss. That mentality has contributed to poverty of our modern discourse today. The choices seem stark because our culture has learned to solve its problems through sheer power, rather than through love in truth and truth in love.

There was a lot of anger in that room. There was a lot of brokenness. And there was a lot of pain. None of that came out of thin air. Each and everyone of those persons has a soul, an eternal origin, and was called to be in communion, to be forever blessed with God in heaven. The political debates, yes, are quite important and not irrelevant. But if Christians are to provide a third way, an example to this world, then that call, that invitation, to communion is where we must begin.

Rachana Chhin is a 23 year-old from Houston, Texas. He received his Bachelors in International Studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas and is currently pursuing both a Juris Doctorate and Masters in Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    “We must see into their lives the situations that give rise to a need for abortion.”

    I agree that people can go through rough circumstances which cause them to _think_ they “need” an abortion, but I would caution against adopting “need” rhetoric ourselves. There’s never a “need” to kill an innocent child, any more than there is ever a “need” for a man to rape a woman, much as his sexual urges may be driving him.

  • Jared Wheeler

    “Without going into all of the procedural issues surrounding the bill, pro-choice legislators in the Texas Senate—with the assistance of a vocal and (literally) roaring crowd—successfully managed to kill SB5 by preventing the legislators from voting before the midnight special session deadline. It suffices to say that this was one of the most significant pieces of pro-life legislation ever proposed in the State of Texas.

    “Over all, it was a sad night for Texas. What transpired reflected poorly upon our legislature and our citizens. And it just adds to an increasing litany of instances where proper public discourse has been ignored at the expense of politics.”

    Why not say something about the blatant bullying and deliberate failure to follow parliamentary procedure by the “pro-life” legislators in the room? Or their dishonest attempt to fraudulently change the record of what transpired to make it appear that the vote happened before midnight when it did not? I don’t know if this was intentional, but you make it sound like the Republicans in the room were steamrolled by pro-choice bullies, when what really happened was that the crowd held them accountable and forced them to abide by rules they were trying to ignore.

    I agree with your overall point about proper discourse, but this isn’t an accurate description of what happened in that room . . . Were you watching the previous several hours as the chair steadily bent and twisted every rule and procedure he could to shut Wendy Davis and her colleagues down? And the way he deliberately ignored proper procedure in the moments before the crowd erupted in protest?

  • jcon526

    This is an eloquently written article.

    However, I would be careful in readily judging this event as an example of chaos and the lack of respect for the other, as if such qualities are exclusive to left-leaning people. Christian commentators have undoubtedly applauded filibusters, aggressive protests, and even heckling the president when it involves an issue or side that they agree with, but the scriptures for submitting to authorities rarely come up then. Usually when right-wing unrest occurs, Christian-ese rhetoric like “fight the good fight” or persecution are readily employed to support it.

    (For what it’s worth, I think you did a pretty good job with this article.)

    Also, I appreciate your statement: “No one (usually) seeks an abortion for its own sake”. Too many times in Christian/right-wing circles, the circumstances of poverty, health care, and the outright difficulty for a mother to have a child in adverse circumstances (such as rape or even the lack of sympathy or help from her employment) are too readily dismissed for a heavy-handed “abortion is murder” campaign.

    If Christians want to fight abortion, they’ll have to pursue understanding first.

  • Jaron

    What I find ironic about this whole thing is that the lady that is in the news for doing the filibuster, Wendy Davis, is known for a life of beating the odds despite hardship. She had to help her single mother take care of siblings, and became a single mother herself as a teen. In spite of that, she graduated Harvard and obviously leads a successful life. It seems she should be seen as an example of the fact that you don’t need to abort your baby due to potential hardship. Her life is living proof that you can still succeed without abortion. But she is seen as an advocate for abortion, and many girls actually use hardship as the excuse for getting one.

    (I haven’t seen any reports that she has ever gotten an abortion. Has she?)

  • Esther O’Reilly

    Okay… I agree that poverty and single-mother situations are hard, but isn’t it still in fact relevant that abortion is murder, and hence always wrong? The rights of the child are frequently lost in the shuffle when pro-choice rhetoricians wax eloquent on the rights of the mother. Certainly we should extend kindness to young women in those situations, but at the same time we can’t hide the truth of what abortion is from them.

  • Jaron

    It seems to me that Wendy Davis’ very life story is proof that hardship is no excuse for abortion.

  • Susan_G1

    I agree that this is an eloquently written piece. I, too, especially appreciate the comment, “No one (usually) seeks an abortion for its own sake.”

    I wish that once, just once, I could see a pro-life or pro-choice piece without someone in the comments (usually childless and middle-class, who is poised for or in a career, and would most likely not be abandoned by the father) self-righteously use the word “murder”. (The bloggers usually graciously avoid that rhetoric.)

    We do not live in a theocracy, though we, as Christians, are called to lead godly lives. Abortion is sad enough without turning the death of an innocent into an improper classification and inflammatory charge of “murder”. These single-minded self-righteous people will condemn a mother to die before allowing her to abort an infant to save her own life; it is still “murder”.

    I wonder what will happen when abortions are so hard to obtain that women will be getting them from hacks in back alleys and dying, because it will come to that. When every “clinic” will look like Gosnell’s. Will there be shouts of joy then? Who will be the murderers then?

  • Saynsumthn Blog

    Love defends when someone attacks a child- and when you see injustice it will make you angry!

  • Brett

    I disagree with her position and her way of advocating it in this instance, but that question is intrusive and not germane. If Ms. Davis has had an abortion, abortion is wrong. If Ms. Davis has not had an abortion, abortion is wrong (those who do not oppose abortion may change the “wrong” to “right” should they wish; it does not, I believe, change the point I want to make).

  • jcon526

    Respectfully, this is the type of problematic rhetoric I’m talking about. Are Christians encouraging understanding by going around saying “abortion is murder”? Isn’t there a better way?

    Isn’t the fact that the life is inextricably connected to the woman make her situation more complicated than dismissing it as a simple murder? Isn’t it more helpful to be against abortion and understand the multi-layered difference between someone maliciously killing a person separate from herself and a woman terminating a pregnancy within her *own* body?

    Furthermore, how can right-wing Christians be against abortion and generally complacent to the circumstances that lead to it? Are they fighting the poverty/rape culture that most likely led to the very thought of abortion, or indirectly supporting it?

    These are all questions that should be dealt with, and with understanding rather than black-and-white catchphrases.

  • jcon526

    I don’t agree that it’s our place to judge whether hardships are not excuses for abortion. If one woman is raped yet chose to have the child, should we use that to critique women who didn’t?

    Furthermore, it’s possible to raise children despite hardships and still believe that a woman should have the right to safely terminate a pregnancy. I don’t think that is a contradiction.

  • jcon526

    “Abortion is sad enough without turning the death of an innocent into an improper classification and inflammatory charge of “murder”.”

    AGREED.

  • Jaron

    How can you say we are complacent to the circumstances that lead to abortion? We tell people to wait till marriage to have sex. We tell men to raise their boys up to be good, responsible men, who treat women right and not like objects. But we are fiercely ridiculed and opposed on those points. How do you propose we “fight the poverty/rape culture that led to the thought of abortion?” When we fight it by getting to the root of the problem, it seems we encounter opposition.

  • Jaron

    I would caution against assuming that all who use the term “murder” are well-off people who don’t know hardship and were never abused or abandoned by parents. Some who use the term “murder” are indeed people who have had hard lives, were abused or abandoned by parents, and whose views on abortion may well be shaped by their life history. Some may may not appreciate the notion that it would have been better for themselves to have been aborted, than to have expected their parents to do right by their kids. They may well have found someone who helped them when they needed it, and so now they feel a duty and a desire to help other vulnerable life, as well as feel a repulsion against turning one’s head the other way when a tragedy like abortion is going on. We are not all self-righteous, well-to-do people who don’t know what hardship is.

  • Jaron

    “These single-minded self-righteous people will condemn a mother to die before allowing her to abort an infant to save her own life; it is still “murder”.

    No we wouldn’t. Even the most conservative people on the abortion issue usually make an exception for the life of the mother. Although there are mothers who have refused cancer treatment to save their baby’s life, and given up their own life in the process. And that is heroic.

  • Susan_G1

    Jaron, with all due respect, it has happened repeatedly on threads. eg. from a thread on lying (not abortion): “I’d like to apply your principle to another situation: genuine life-of-the-mother abortion crises. I am saddened when I see even pro-lifers reserve this as an excuse for ending an innocent human life. If the principle you’ve articulated here applies to lying, how much more so should it apply to abortion?…But if you were the doctor, would you perform the procedure? When you
    get down to it, somebody has to commit murder. And that’s always wrong.” This person and I engaged in a lengthy debate about abortion and the mother’s right to self defense. This commenter insisted it was murder no matter what. (http://thecripplegate.com/is-it-ever-ok-to-lie/)

    Please do not take my opinions as reproaches; they are my opinions, and I am not given to hyperbole. I am a physician who has taken care of perhaps a hundred pregnant women, including one who had breast cancer. I am pretty certain, though I am no longer in my childbearing years, that had I been faced with the decision, I would give up my life for my child. But there is nothing heroic about dying when there is virtually no chance of the baby and the mother surviving a pregnancy, and this was the scenario debated above. This happens time and time again, and in my experience, the pro-lifers will usually *not* excuse abortion for self-defense. Just my experience, and why I made that statement.

  • Jared Wheeler

    “Some may may not appreciate the notion that it would have been better for themselves to have been aborted, than to have expected their parents to do right by their kids.”

    What? Who would even have that notion, let alone express it? Have you ever heard of someone walking up to a person who had a hard life and saying, “It would have been better if you had been aborted.” . . .? It strikes me that you have a very strange perspective on the views of pro-choice individuals.

  • jcon526

    More than a few right-wing politicians last year indicated that all abortion should be illegal, even in rape, and even indirectly blamed the woman for being sluts, even proposing invasive, mandatory ultrasounds before they could have an abortion.

    Secondly, truth be told, there are many men and women that have been adversely affected by astonishingly shallow church teachings on sex. Just look at the amount of articles that talk about Christian sex education being reduced, like abortion, to catchphrases (True Love Waits) and how many women felt dirty, unwanted, and rejected by the church for having pre-marital sex.

    While there are many, many examples of responsible men and women raised in the church, clearly a more truthful, expansive, and merciful understanding of sex is required in its teaching.

  • jcon526

    Also, to be fair, I know and respect a healthy amount of conservative Christian friends who are against abortion, who raise beautiful families, and express both sympathetic and sophisticated views on these issues.

    Unfortunately, our two-party politics has a way of dumbing down issues into “for/against” stances, and granted, Christianity does get readily and sometimes unfairly lambasted in the media.

    However, Christianity is still arguably the major driving force in right-wing politics, and it surely appears that the church has produced many, many Pharisees who refuse to take a nuanced look at how these issues affect real people.

    It seems that Jesus was a lot more harsh on the hypocritical religious leaders, and on those who used the law to condemn people.
    I’m not saying that it’s wholly on one side to change their behavior. I do believe it would be more productive for Christians if these issues were discussed with more mercy, nuance, and understanding.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    Why do you feel as though the fact that it’s the woman’s own unborn child somehow makes it better? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? And why use euphemistic language like “terminating a pregnancy” instead of admitting the stark truth—that an innocent child has been gruesomely killed?

    Every abortion case is different. Of course it’s a horrific situation when girls are pressured/dragged kicking and screaming into an abortion they don’t want. But when a woman makes a clear-eyed choice to abort, knowing it’s a baby, under no outside pressure (and possibly even a boyfriend or family urging her NOT to kill the baby), there’s far less excuse there. There are families willing to adopt these babies. The truly loving thing to do is give the child up for adoption. But often what you hear instead is “I love the child so much that I can’t imagine giving it up… so I’ll have it killed instead!”

    I do agree that the abortion doctor is technically the person directly responsible for the murder, and hence he justly deserves a greater penalty than the mother. Nevertheless, mothers who were not forced to make that choice should be encouraged to repent of it and seek forgiveness moving forward. The message is not, “You can never be forgiven and you are going to Hell, NYAH!” The message is, “You knowingly allowed your own child to be murdered. God does not take that lightly, and neither should you. But if you are sincerely repentant, if you are seeking grace, then you can be completely forgiven. God will give you such abundant life that you will never thirst again. Stoop down, drink and live.”

  • Esther O’Reilly

    If anything, it’s the policies of the Democrats that keep the underclass in the very vicious cycle of poverty and dependence that leads to more abortions! And it’s the philosophy of feminism that insists on doing away with chivalry and replacing it with weak, effete men on one hand and brutish animals on the other. The loss of chivalry has only perpetuated the rape culture, and this is not the fault of conservatives who are encouraging it in their sons.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    Why do you support the right to kill a child who has done nothing wrong because of what a man did to his mother? And why are you so strongly opposed to the idea of ultrasounds? The logic is that if a woman sees the baby kicking and waving and rolling around, her conscience will kick in and she’ll have a harder time just letting it be killed. Do you think this is a bad thing?

  • Esther O’Reilly

    Hi Susan! You’re right, I was that commentator, and I did say that it was still wrong in the life of the mother case. Although Jaron is actually right that I’m in the minority even among conservatives, I still stand by what I said in that other thread—that although it’s a painful, mitigating circumstance and a psychologically understandable decision, there are two patients, not one, and it’s still wrong to deliberately kill one of them. I disagree with the term “self defense” too. Generally we reserve that phrase for violent criminals—not helpless little babies!

    As for the cancer situation, frequently the situation there is that doctors want to treat the mother with radiation, but they want to abort first. (Strange logic—radiation could hurt the baby, so let’s just kill the baby now instead.) Radiation can cure cancer, but often it doesn’t. So for a mother to choose to carry the pregnancy to term in that case is not even for her to reject a sure-fire cure. She might just be rejecting the prospect of a few extra, miserable months.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    Also, some of us are both commentators and bloggers. I recently wrote a front-page feature for the Evangelical channel here, and if you look up “Steve McQueen” and “conversion” or “Christianity,” you’ll find something I wrote that’s all about grace and forgiveness—the very thing you’re trying to say us right-wing wackos are clueless about!

  • Esther O’Reilly

    I think what Jaron is trying to say is that the pro-choice side is very quick to excuse abortion under circumstances of poverty/fatherlessness/etc. (E.g., “Can you blame the mother for not wanting her child to grow up in hardship without a father?”) Even though they’re not saying in so many words that the child would be better off dead, it seems as though what they’re advocating can imply as much. I think it’s deceptive because many mothers aren’t given info or resources about adoption. That seems like the obvious, natural choice in a tough situation where the mother can’t support the baby herself. Is it hard? Yes. Is it right? Yes.

  • jcon526

    “Euphemistic” language is not my intent; I think we all are aware of what abortion means. However, again, constantly saying murder, murder does not help encourage understanding.

    The bottom line is that the unborn baby constantly being in flux, from a mass of cells to the formation of organs and limbs, and he/she being within the woman herself *should* make the issue more complicated than labeling the potential mother a murderer, and putting it on the same level as killing a person apart from you. If she’s a murderer after aborting a fetus (or a not-fully formed baby, in case you think I’m using euphemistic language), doesn’t that make a woman who takes a morning-after pill a murderer as well?

    Seeking to ban abortion by legislation will just create more Gosnell clinics; you cannot force people to do good. Seeking to make poverty less of a factor or fostering a culture where it is less likely for a woman to be raped, or a culture where their self-worth is *not* demonized if their pregnancy is exposed and thus making them less likely to *want* to have an abortion, I believe, is on the right track.

  • Y. A. Warren

    Conception control is no more interfering in “God’s” plan than is taking nitro to prevent heart attacks. Family planning is a child’s rights issue. Every child has the right to be wanted and cherished. Responsibly compassionate parenting requires parental resources in excess of those needed for simple survival: physical, mental, financial, social, and spiritual. The problem seems to continue to be that humans don’t want to share with people that can be made out to be “others.”

  • Susan_G1

    Ester, you are not the only pro-lifer I know who is unreasonable in their approach to life-of-mother abortion. Many others take the same stance. As to you discussing medicine, I will not respond. You think you know far more than you do, often based on hearsay. We’ve been here many times before.

  • Susan_G1

    Please, Ester, now you make an argument for yourself based on the fact that you have had one (perhaps 2) article(s) accepted for Patheos, old, rehashed pieces on Steve McQueen and someone I don’t know. I don’t want to get into this with you, especially not with your argument from authority. You are a young woman, still a student, who has limited real-life experience, yet you will argue with people who know far more than you (need I reference those threads, too?) as long as anyone responds. I have asked you before to stop following me around and arguing with me. Fat lot of good it did me. And, Ester, you use, again (!!!) hyperbole to build up your position. I never called anyone a right-winged clueless wacko, although I’m certain I know one or two.

  • Susan_G1

    “It is often tempting, especially with an issue like abortion, to be
    mired in our own worldviews without ever giving a second thought to the
    voice of another. We must resist the call to dehumanize the other side
    to a mere mob, or reduce their communications to a cheap talking point.”

    It is wonderful but too infrequent to see this language used by a Christian discussing abortion. Peter Enns recently wrote a piece about Christian actions vs. beliefs. He asked, is it more important to do what Christ desires, or to believe what He wants us to believe? The response on his fb page was extraordinary, but with all viewpoints expressed on his blogsite here on Patheos. My opinion is that we must act in love. I do not do it myself often enough. I am so grateful when I see it recommended eloquently.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    Susan I’ve never met you and I’m sure you’re an excellent nurse. We obviously don’t see eye to eye but that doesn’t stop me from respecting your skill and experience. I continue to be puzzled by your references to my constantly following you around… we’ve had a few conversations and it seems like you’ve been the one seeking them out for the most part! I wasn’t expecting a response from you or anyone else in particular on the lying thread, it seems like you just looked through to find my initial comment. I’m not sure what you have against me but I can assure you I bear you no malice. I am still pretty young, and a student as you can see on my bio, but I hope my heart still comes through in what I write. It wasn’t my intention to make an argument based on my writing, I just thought I’d put it out there since you seemed to be referring to me as JUST a commentator. It’s not like I think that gives me any special authority. Tim Dalrymple invited me to write one thing and that’s cool, but honestly I don’t think there’s much to distinguish the blogger from the commentator. But you seemed to be the one saying there was a big difference. Also, I thought maybe you could see a little of my heart for grace and lost folks in the McQueen piece—the only reason I mentioned it was because you seemed to think there wasn’t any room for grace in my thinking about sin.

  • http://www.theundergroundrailroad.ca/oneabolitionist/ Erin

    Very few Christian circles have valuable sex education programs. ‘True Love Waits’ & other purity vows have been shown to do more harm than good. They reduce purity to sexual intercourse, which in terms of Christ, it is not. It’s far more than that. They elevate sex to a idol of holiness that once busted… God’s got it in for you. Sex is now the icon of good/bad. If you want to find a root cause — try here. Kids are curious, but we still buy into the myth that “if we tell them, they will do it”.

    Talk about condoms, talk about lubricants, talk about sensations, talk about right time/wrong time, talk about STIs, talk about birth control, talk about how to TALK!! Many unexpected pregnancies happen because we have not taught one another how to communicate in a relationship! This isn’t promoting lust… this is being honest with growing youth learning to navigate their worlds. Talk about how we physically when we’re close to someone, but to also learn to listen to heads, and hearts. If something’s “off”, it doesn’t matter how good it feels on the body, STOP. Talk about how if a pregnancy happens, love is still the order of the day. Talk about how God makes us holy, not some purity ring. Talk about how that child will be loved.

    And if a girl/woman still chooses abortion, love is still the order of the day. Until these messages start being shared in a genuine, consistent way, the unnecessary divide between pro-life and pro-choice will stay wide. I, myself, am pro-choice but anti-abortion. But, as the article suggests, labels destroy us. The “other” is demonized and bother the Left AND the Right have accused each other of doing humanity and God harm. Until we lay down our weapons, nothing will change.

    Furthermore, not every community is equipped to handle the many faces of poverty – a major player in abortion decisions; and Christians continue to handle these forms of poverty using 1-way charity — give a buck, but stay away from the actual reality. When sources of funding for support programs are cut off, or access is available to said supports is impossible, or there’s so much stigma in accessing these supports, women often sense a lack of choice. I hate abortion, but I hate the society we’ve made that has led up to it.

    Training up boys is tough, but many “bringing up boys” books are still insanely patriarchal. “Yes you both must wait. Yes you treat women with respect, but when it comes down to it, you’re God’s chosen leader in a relationship”. How many girls have I walked with who are physically and sexually hurt because they haven’t served their boyfriends as the Bible has taught them? Yet the church keeps preaching, the boys keep believing, the world keeps getting really grey, but pro-lifers insist on blacks and whites.

    Also, pro-lifers — Christian or not — really are known for screaming loudly about abortion outside political arenas like this. But the death penalty is just fine… gun rights are hunkey dorey… killing civilians & their children are just a by-product of war… and women who choose abortions are shamed. We don’t scream nearly as loud here. Why should anyone believe us when we say we’re pro-life?

    I used to be adamantly pro-life, but really… I was pro-fetus. And I’m sad to say I hurt a lot of people until Jesus & I hard a heart-to-heart, and there was a massive transformation. Can’t say I’m “there” or know it all, but at least I’m on a journey about HIS life, rather than what I believe others need to know before learning love.

  • Susan_G1

    Ester, again, I don’t want to get into this with you, but you are misrepresenting me and yourself, and I feel the need to protect my reputation. How disingenuous of you to call me a nurse when on other threads we’ve had this same exchange and I explained from a PHYSICIAN’s POV about the matter, esp. in the case of the life of the mother. You have followed me on so many posts, and when I’ve called you out before, you’ve made the same claim. It’s not true! Many times, I have posted first, and when not, if we happen to arrive at the same post, I comment separately without engaging you. Occasionally I will respond to you spontaneously, but it is not a common occasion. I needed to change my name because of problems with Disqus. You know your MO. Please do not lie about me.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    “I think we all are aware of what abortion means. However, again, constantly saying murder, murder does not help encourage understanding.”

    Can you explain what we need to understand better? You’ve mentioned poverty, rape, abandonment and other circumstances that might excuse abortion in your eyes. I and others would agree with you that it’s a good thing to reach out to young women in these situations, as well as doing what we can to help the poor and perpetuate a counter-culture to the rape culture. I’m quite confident no pro-lifer will DISAGREE on any of those points, and tens of thousands of crisis pregnancy centers say that pro-lifers are just as concerned about helping the woman as they are about saving the baby. It seems that what you mean by “understanding” is coming around to your perspective that abortion is at least excusable if not justified under various circumstances, even when they don’t fall under that fractionally tiny percent where both lives are literally at stake.

    “The bottom line is that the unborn baby’s constant formation, from a mass of cells to the forming of organs and limbs, and he/she being within the woman herself *should* make the issue more complicated than labeling the potential mother a murderer. If she’s a murderer after aborting a fetus (or a not-fully formed baby, in case you think I’m using euphemistic language), doesn’t that make a woman who takes a morning-after pill a murderer as well?”

    Are you trying to imply that it’s not clearly apparent that the child is a human being? Just because some people have tried to deny the obvious doesn’t put the obvious in question. I also don’t think I’ve referred to the woman herself as a murderer, partly because as I stated before there are many circumstances that can lead to an abortion, and the woman isn’t always fully compliant or acting for herself. The abortionist is the murderer. The woman may or not be an accomplice to that murder depending on the circumstances. As for the morning-after pill, my understanding is that it’s not clear whether or not it’s an abortifacient. If a woman takes the pill hoping to forestall a pregnancy but unknowingly prevents implantation and kills the embryo instead, she acted foolishly, but she didn’t commit murder.

    “Seeking to ban abortion by legislation will just create more Gosnell clinics; you cannot force people to do good.”

    First of all, let’s be clear: What Gosnell did was morally no worse than what abortionists all over the country have been doing for decades. ALL of their actions have resulted in dead, maimed babies. It was just harder to hide what he did. As for the ineffectiveness of seeking to ban abortion by legislation, on the contrary, I think there would be much less pressure on a woman from family, friends and/or boyfriend to kill the child were the procedure not so cleanly and conveniently available. For that matter, women themselves are more tempted to abort because it’s so easy to get. And no, you cannot force people to do good, but that’s a reductio ad absurdum. One could use the same argument to protest any number of laws against harming innocent people.

    “Seeking to make poverty less of a factor or fostering a culture where it is less likely for a woman to be raped, I believe, is on the right track.”

    I already addressed this above.

    It’s precisely because this is a raw matter of life and death that we can’t afford to second-guess the truth when it’s looking us full in the face. We dare not look askance. We dare not concoct excuses. We must dare to return its steady gaze and resolve that we shall fight this injustice with every last ounce of strength we have.

  • jcon526

    I have more to say to your response, and i may choose to do so later. However I will mention a few things:

    Personally, I wouldn’t want women I know to get an abortion. However, I’m not a woman, and I couldn’t possibly fathom the immense responsibility involved in carrying a child, nor would I presume to dismiss any hardships that lead to the thought that an abortion may be necessary. Furthermore, rape is such a horrific action that I would *never* legislatively force a woman to carry the child to term, no matter how many arguments about the innocence of the child comes into play.

    I know that God counts our hairs and we are worth much more than many sparrows, and loves all His children with a fiery passion as to the point of letting His own Son be tortured and crucified. Yet I also think about how God let David and Bathsheba’s innocent child die because of David’s sin of murdering Uriah. How do we reconcile these contradicting concepts of God? It’s hard … but I can only conceive that God is bigger than the catchphrases that we create for Him, and bigger than our limited concepts about His mercy and justice.

    Therefore, I have to believe that engaging people by legislatively denying them the ability to have an abortion has been too limited a Christian response to do any good.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    Why should the trauma of the rape be used as an argument for justifying the choice to kill the innocent child? It’s an argument for executing the rapist, not the child. The baby can’t help the fact that it was conceived through a violent act. No human being, I repeat, NO human being has or should have the “right” to end its life. That action will always be wrong no matter what the circumstances are. I’m not sure why you seem to think those arguments suddenly cease to matter in a case of rape. The truth remains the truth regardless.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    There’s another victim in all of this that nobody seems to have considered: men who are scarred because the women they love have chosen abortion when the men wanted to keep the child. Do you realize how devastating this is? Can you imagine what it’s like for the boyfriend who desperately wants that child to live, but has to helplessly sit by and watch as the girl allows it to die? Can you imagine what it’s like for the husband whose wife is bearing twins but only wants to “keep” one of them, threatening to divorce him if he won’t comply? Can you imagine the horror, as he forces himself to watch the procedure as a self-inflicted punishment? This has happened. This is real life. This is a crime against humanity that cannot, must not be tolerated. Not in the pulpit, not in the church, not in any civilized society.

  • Jared Wheeler

    “And it’s the philosophy of feminism that insists on doing away with chivalry and replacing it with weak, effete men on one hand and brutish animals on the other.”

    Ugh. Seriously?

  • billwald

    I don’t think the issue was the 20 weeks as much as requiring clinics to be equipped as emergency hospitals.

  • jcon526

    Respectfully, there is a lot in your points, and it’s difficult to reply to them all without going on multiple tangents and writing a novel in my comments, heh. If there are any points of yours that I am glossing over, it’s due to brevity and focus and not to intentionally ignore them.

    Being a man, bringing men as victims into the abortion debate is certainly *not* irrelevant. But should a man have the right to legally demand that the woman carry his child? I would disagree. He is integral to the debate, but the “men’s rights” argument regarding an unborn child is far different than a run-of-the-mill custody battle between divorced parents, for example. It’s certainly not something I would support as policy when it can be so easily abused.

    As for your other points, I still maintain that these strict, unmitigated moral assertions are simply inadequate to be translated into adequate laws to govern sinful human beings. God has dealt with humankind in merciful, mysterious, and scary, but mostly merciful, ways throughout the Bible. Yet even His Law kills; it was never meant as an end-all to save lives. Only His Grace was.

    As for human laws, how can we create black-and-white policy for grey issues?

    If “no human being has … the right to end (an unborn child’s) life” at any stage, how does legally forcing a rape victim under penalty of law to carry a child to term benefit our moral philosophy?

    As unfortunate as abortion is, should an unborn child have equal or more rights than its mother under all circumstances? I don’t think so. If the health of the mother is on the line, should the law protect the unborn child to such a degree that it is would only be legal to allow both the mother and the child to die? Despite the emotions we have on an unborn child, should our laws reflect those emotions? Or be reasonable in spite of our emotions?

    Meanwhile, how can Christians in good conscience support legally ending *all* safe abortions when that will simply lead to *more* unsafe abortions?

    Do they care more about witnessing to people and convincing them through charity, grace, and understanding to choose life, or is it simply about winning the legal and public battle?

    And can you convince people to choose life by forcing them to, legally? In any case, should that be Christians’ focus?

    (On a side note, how can Christians claim to love God, whom they haven’t seen, and hate their brothers or sisters whom they have seen? And on a somewhat related notion, how can Christians possess such voluminous love, sympathy, and passionately demand a plethora of rights for unborn children, yet fail to show reasonable sympathy for their sisters, whom they do see and know?)

    We probably agree emotionally on a lot more regarding the myriad of “sanctity of life” issues than you realize.

    But as for making **policy**, these are necessary issues that should be addressed.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    Okay, now you’re just flatly trying to argue that the unborn child shouldn’t possess equal human rights. But if you truly believe that it’s a human being, that AUTOMATICALLY stops the conversation. Mother and child must have equal rights under the law as two innocent human beings. Let’s not come with this patronizing talk of “how we feel” or what our “emotions” tell us. This is not (merely) a matter of feeling. This is a soul-deep recognition of what all of us know to be true, even if not all of us want to recognize it.

    If that weren’t shocking enough, you seem to think that it’s kind and loving to allow women to choose to have their children murdered, a choice which will haunt and scar those women for the rest of their lives even aside from murdering a child. As I’ve said over and over again, look around you and you will see the love that pro-lifers have for these women. Ask any volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center and they will share the desire to help these women. Moreover, you’re making a common but highly dubious argument to the effect that there will be more abortions if abortion restrictions are put in place, which is not at all clear and in fact, probably wrong.

    And yet for all that, you’d probably say that we shouldn’t execute rapists. So you’re in favor of letting a baby conceived in rape be murdered, but you’re not in favor of the death penalty for the true criminal in that situation?

  • jcon526

    Well, then we disagree, and that is that. But I’ve said my peace … for now.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    It seems that we do. But I will pray that God will open your eyes, and the eyes of others like you. Maybe you can answer just one more question for me: Why in the world are you accusing pro-lifers of “hating” women, when it should be obvious that they don’t?

  • ladyruth54

    I was just curious whether you were for or against the SB5.

    You stated that “Seeking to ban abortion by legislation will just create more Gosnell clinics,” when in fact, SB5 would have “…raise(d) the standards of care in abortion facilities to meet that of other surgical centers. The third part required that abortion doctors have admitting privileges to a local hospital (so patients can receive aftercare).

  • ladyruth54

    Your arguments for abortion seem to be mostly about the health of the mother and victims of rape, when in fact, these account for very, very few of the abortions performed in this country.

    “The question at issue in abortion is not ‘reproductive health’ or health of any kind, precisely because direct abortions are not procedures designed to make sick people healthy or to protect them against disease or injury. Pregnancy is not a disease. The goal of direct abortions is to cause the death of a child because a woman believes that her life will be better without the child’s existing than it would be with the child’s existing. In itself, a direct (or elective) abortion – deliberately bringing about the death of a child in utero – does nothing to advance maternal health (though sometimes the death of the child is an unavoidable side effect of a procedure, such as the removal of a cancerous womb, that is designed to combat a grave threat to the mother’s health). That’s why it is wrong to depict elective abortion as health care.” — Protection of Conscience Foundation

  • Esther O’Reilly

    “Pregnancy is not a disease.”

    Exactly.

  • ladyruth54

    Were you in favor of SB5? SB5 would have “…raise(d) the standards of care in abortion facilities to meet that of other surgical centers. The third part required that abortion doctors have admitting privileges to a local hospital (so patients can receive aftercare).

  • ladyruth54

    You have totally misunderstood Jaron’s comment.

  • Susan_G1

    Yes, I was. I liked the bill, except for the requirement that the physician performing the abortions have hospital admitting privileges to a local hospital. The bill made several reasonable safety demands that would have made abortions much harder to obtain in Texas. However, the physician requirement is both unfair and political. It does nothing to increase the safety of abortions. Many physicians practicing medicine of all kinds on an outpatient basis no longer admit their own patients – the have dropped their privileges – and have a contractual agreement with another physician who does have them to admit their patients who need hospitalization. Many hospitals now have full-time “hospitalists” who do all the admissions are are actually better at it than the referring doc, because that’s all they do; they are specialists in hospital care. And while not improving safety, it places a unfair and unnecessary disincentive on qualified physicians; having hospital privileges means the doc must do all kinds of things they would not normally do, such as take hospital call (for other people’s patients) and practice a kind of medicine for which they no longer are well trained (for example, deliveries, stat c-sections, management of ruptured ectopic pregnancies, etc.). Additionally it gives local hospitals complete control over the doc – the hospital can simply deny privileges to any doc that applies, thereby eliminating abortions in their area. This may seem self-serving as a physician myself, but I assure you, it’s not. It is a political ploy that does nothing to help the patient. I hope this makes sense to you.

  • Wayne Froese

    From this article, you’d think that Republicans in Texas were champions of healthcare for all and the sanctity of all life. Why don’t I find that convincing? If the bill only wanted 3 reasonable actions, why would it be opposed? I think that the author doesn’t tell us that part of the story. Despite what we are told in the article, maybe Democrats are not the ones afraid of truth.

  • Susan_G1

    Texas SB5 required that abortion clinics be in compliance with ambulatory surgical centers. This is quite different than “emergency hospitals” (do you mean emergency rooms? or hospitals that do emergency surgery? There are no emergency hospitals.) This would be essentially to the level that dentists who do molar extractions would need. That would require certain architectural standards (larger doors, corridors – remember in the Gosnell case they couldn’t get a litter into the building because the corridors were too narrow? – bed placements, fire doors, separate waiting room, wheelchair accessibility, etc.), some medical standards – a registered nurse administering meds and anesthesia, a physician present whenever a patient was being prepped, statndars of equipment, the availability of some resuscitation meds and equipment, the staff being certified in advanced resuscitation, yearly inspections, etc. This is not a small matter. Gosnell violated all these standards. But it is mostly staffing, archetectural, and training issues. No outpatient minor surgical center can function as an emergency department can.

  • antimule

    Even if we grant that fetus is a person from the moment of conception this still doesn’t prove that he/she is allowed to use resources belonging to another person. If I find a homeless person in my home, I am allowed to throw him out even if I know that he is going to die on the street.

    A lot of conservative Christians claim that all public assistance should be abolished because using taxes to help others is ‘stealing’, so we should rely only on private charities instead. They are also fiercely against almost all business regulations. By the same twisted logic, we can claim that mother’s womb is a charity that she might ‘rent’ to a baby but doesn’t have to. If I can fire a person solely on the basis of race, why can’t I fire a baby I don’t want? What gives you the right to ‘regulate’ womb?

    If public schooling violates 8th commandment (as some on Religious Right claim), then so does involuntary pregnancy because child keeps ‘stealing’ mother’s nutrients.

    Until Religious Right renounces Ayn Randism that has crept into all pores of their thinking, they have no credibility on reproductive rights. If everyone has a right to do whatever they want with their property, why can’t a pregnant woman do whatever she wants with her womb?

    Catholic church, for example, mandates doing something to go to Heaven. Just having faith is not enough. So, since for them helping others is to an extent mandatory, they can also mandate that pregnant woman carry pregnancy to term. (I am not a Catholic but I can respect them on that point)

    Of course you will never renounce ultra-libertarianism because it’s a great tool for giving more power to those already powerful. And Evangelicals are even more addicted to power than the world they denounce.

  • jcon526

    I’m not in the medical field, but I had previously read on another website how the sections of the law, while they sounded *good*, were surreptitiously geared to effectively eliminate abortion, period. Now, Susan’s answer below is very educated response, so I won’t tread on her.

    One wise proverb that I’ve taken to heart is that every story sounds good until you hear the other side. That almost goes double for politics.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    Libertarians are not famous for their social conservatism. That’s not where I plant my flag. As for what I do believe, I believe you’re being disingenuous to pretend that a baby is the property of anyone, including his mother. You need to repent, sir.

  • jcon526

    Esther, I’m no grand communicator, but I believe you are unfairly characterizing my comments, which is about the issues with loving the unseen more than the seen in regards to the unborn over existing people.

    If you want a respectful reply from me, I would re-read my comments as a whole and gain a more complete understanding of the concepts I was attempting to illustrate instead of cherry-picking statements to attack, as I believe I’ve addressed you respectfully.

  • antimule

    I am not saying that child is mother’s property. However womb is definitely her property, so by libertarian/fundamentalist thinking she has every right to throw the child out of her property. If child dies as the result, too bad. If you put property rights above all, what other conclusion can there be?

    I am actually for some restriction on abortion, but that’s part of my broader belief that we do have obligation to one another that go beyond property rights.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    Yeah, I do think libertarians make some good economic points, but where in the world are you getting this crazy notion that one can’t be in favor of property rights and against abortion at the same time?? That’s just incoherent.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    Are the unborn not “existing people?”

  • jcon526

    Substitute “people that are born” instead of “existing people”, if it helps your understanding.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    It’s not a matter of my understanding. It’s a matter of using accurate language.

    I’ve already tried to go through all your arguments and respond blow-by-blow. I’m not sure what else you’re looking for from me. Every time I’ve tried to get clear answers, you’ve responded by asking questions that stray from the main point, or just stating things as fact that aren’t clearly true (like the statement that outlawing legal abortion will only increase their frequency). You did in fact accuse Christians of “hating” pregnant women who choose abortion—I wasn’t cherry-picking since I’ve tried to answer just about everything you’ve said, but I think you’ll admit that that is one of the more striking things you said. If you meant to convey a different meaning, please elucidate. Your exact wording was, “How can Christians claim to love God, whom they haven’t seen, and hate their brothers or sisters whom they have seen?”

    Many of the arguments you’re making could just as well be applied to a mother with a 2-year-old. If the 2-year-old was conceived by rape, has no present father, is being raised in poverty, all those other circumstances you were laying out before… then why shouldn’t there be clinics for her to have the toddler “terminated?” Are the laws against killing 2-year-olds really changing hearts and minds about toddler-killing? Should it really be our goal to force people not to kill their toddlers just because we think it’s wrong?

    This is the problem: If you really, truly believe that the baby in the womb is a human being, no less so than the 2-year-old, then all of this comes tumbling down.

  • jcon526

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I really don’t see how you’re gone through my arguments and responded in kind.

    In conjunction with the argument of loving God vs. hating your brothers/sisters, I continued, stating that many right-wing Christians show more sympathy for the unborn (who they have not seen) than they do for the born (who they do see).

    The former statement is Scripture, therefore I did not wish to change the wording (i.e. hate).

    However, the second statement was merely a comparison. As you can see in my aforementioned comment, I did not use the word “hate”, but related how illusory it is to show more passion for a person you can’t see than for a person you can.

    Why do I say this? Overall, the church over the years has created an atmosphere where if a single woman reveals her pregnancy, she is practically shunned from the church. She *should* be receiving help and sympathy; instead, she is deemed as “damaged goods” and considered a pariah. Don’t you think this type of shunning encourages women to have abortions, just so their loved ones, their employment, or their church doesn’t find out?

    Ere go, many in the church have more sympathy for the unborn than for the born, specifically the woman. If they had just been more sympathetic to the mothers, perhaps the woman would have received the support that she needed and decided not to get an abortion.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    “Maybe I’m missing something, but I really don’t see how you’re gone through my arguments and responded in kind.”

    Yes, you should be able to go back in the thread and find a very long comment where I break down what you’re saying point by point. There’s not much you’ve said since then that’s new.

    “The former statement is Scripture, therefore I did not wish to change the wording (i.e. hate).”

    Yet you quoted it, seeming to think it apt.

    “I… related how illusory it is to show more passion for a person you can’t see than for a person you can.”

    I am advocating passionately for the rights of the unborn child because the rights of the unborn child are under direct, legalized attack. If people were legally murdering pregnant women (the true parallel to what’s happening to these babies), I would be protesting that just as passionately. However, women are not being murdered en masse, therefore their right to life is not in question. What you’re arguing is akin to saying that it wasn’t compassionate to protest slavery without considering how much more burdensome the harvesting task would be for the slave-owners without extra human labor.

    “Why do I say this? Overall, the church over the years has created an atmosphere where if a single woman reveals her pregnancy, she is practically shunned from the church. She *should* be receiving help and sympathy; instead, she is deemed as ‘damaged goods’ and considered a pariah. Don’t you think this type of shunning encourages women to have abortions, just so their loved ones, their employment, or their church doesn’t find out?

    Ere go [sic], many in the church have more sympathy for the unborn than for the born, specifically the woman. If they had just been more sympathetic to the mothers, perhaps the woman would have received the support that she needed and not decided to get an abortion.”

    To the extent that certain specific churches *have* actually ostracized young pregnant single women, certainly this is wrong, and psychologically you’re absolutely right that many women try to cover up the pregnancy out of embarrassment. But number one, the fact that there are three times as many crisis pregnancy centers as abortion clinics in this country (many strategically placed directly across the street from said clinics), coupled with the massive push for adoption in the Christian community, indicates that when you accuse “the church” of rejecting/shunning pregnant women, you are probably in reality only accusing a small minority percentage of the church. Second, this is not an argument for the respectability of abortion as a moral option, nor is it an argument for the continued existence and funding of abortion clinics, which are the true points in question.

    You seem to believe that abortion clinics *should*, as a matter of principle, be an open option for all women even when their life/health is not at stake. Yet you can’t seem to see the soul-destroying nature of abortion, for all who are involved in it. How can you claim to have compassion for women, yet argue so strenuously for their right to participate in such a horrifying act? Sometimes I wonder whether these pro-choice Christians would be so matter-of-fact about this if they were forced to watch an actual abortion unfold before their eyes.

  • jcon526

    Respectfully, I have not found such a comment where you have *not* unfairly characterized my argument while making fair, even-tempered, point-by-point rebuttals.

    Bottom line, right-wing Christianity has undermined its pro-life stance by creating a hostile atmosphere for single women who become pregnant. If such shame didn’t exist, there would be no need to hide it.

    (Not to mention that the “pro-life” label has been compromised by the right-wing’s tendency to support military imperialism and the military-industrial complex, pre-emptive war, “trickle-down” economics favoring the rich and corporations over the poor, a stumbling-block to health care for the poor based on Ayn-Rand-esque, self-interest policies as opposed to Christian charity … but I digress because it’s not just one side, and nobody’s perfect.)

    If right-wing Christians want to real, moral change, they need to instruct their churches to have mercy for their sisters when they become pregnant out of wedlock, and create an atmosphere to help them rather than shun them. The gospel is about forgiveness and remission of sins, and if the church is seen as a agent of shame, it is resurrecting the law and making God’s grace of no effect, and essentially being anti-Christ.

    Eliminating the shame will, in many cases, eliminate the desire to hide a pregnancy, thus leading to the thought of abortion.

    Again, simply legislating anti-abortion policies will not work without the churches’ cooperation in changing the culture.

    (And that also includes using the unnecessarily contentious “abortion is murder” rhetoric.)

  • jcon526

    And I will add … despite this back-and-forth, this is essentially been my critique from the beginning of this conversation: the church needs to engage these controversial issues with more understanding if it wants real progress in the discussion. If it wants to simply win arguments and elections but lose souls, then by all means continue politicking as planned.

    (My misspelling of “Ere go” is noted; should be ergo. Mental glitch.)

  • jcon526

    “this is not an argument for the respectability of abortion as a moral option, nor is it an argument for the continued existence and funding of abortion clinics, which are the true points in question”

    My point has always been about the church engaging culture in a different, more understanding way than simply making it an “abortion is murder” argument.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    Once again, you are making these sweeping claims about “the church” writ large which simply are not true on a large scale, even if you might be able to find some individual churches that really would treat these women as badly as you say.

    The question of whether abortion is a respectable moral option, even setting aside the life-of-the-mother sub-debate, is indeed the heart of the matter here. I don’t see you urging Christians to be more tolerant and understanding when it comes to infanticide. Presumably you would agree that a mother who had her born baby killed should not be able to do so legally. Yet you’ve said in so many words that abortion is “a grey area.” So do you in fact think that abortion is not as bad as infanticide? Do you think abortion clinics should exist and should receive government funding? Moreover, do you think we should applaud, respect and vote for politicians who joyfully celebrate the taking of human life in this fashion?

    I won’t be distracted by side arguments about economic policy, military policy, etc., even though you’re mischaracterizing the opposition there too.

  • jcon526

    Oh, they’re not sweeping claims … it is and was a reality for many women growing up in the past century in fundamentalist households and churches. Just look at how many articles Christian women have published regarding these issues. To deny that such practices happened is not the answer. To actively change the culture is.

    You can be in favor of legislatively pushing for anti-abortion policies … but in order for real change, I believe they must be accompanied by the church’s engagement and understanding as to *why* women even think about abortions. Putting up more pregnancy clinics won’t help without a heartfelt change in the church’s approach to life issues … and it has to start with an acknowledgement of its own involvement and hypocrisy in the creating such a culture.

    I know you don’t want to be distracted about how the right-wing party is perceived in the “pro-life” cultural debate, but it’s a major and valid distraction as to why laypeople do not trust Republicans to have their best interests at heart.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    All I can say is that I grew up in a pretty fundamentalist homeschooling community. I’ve known families who have adopted kids. I’ve campaigned for a congressman who helped to found our local crisis pregnancy center. Not one person I’ve known and become friends with fits your stereotype. I’ve never denied that there are some churches that have reacted poorly. I still maintain that it’s grossly exaggerated to say “Christians don’t love pregnant women.”

    Meanwhile, you haven’t answered my question: Why do you think it should be considered a basic “right” for women to have their unborn children murdered for any reason whatsoever, and what logical distinction can you make between abortion and infanticide in arguing for this right? Do you not agree that even when a church doesn’t step up to the plate in caring for its women, the babies are an entirely innocent party who do not deserve to pay for that mistake?


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