Why do liberals support abortion?

I know the usual arguments–that women should have the right to control their own bodies and no government should be able to force them to keep their babies, etc.–but these are not LIBERAL arguments, as such. It would make sense for an Ayn Rand, laissez faire, virtue-of-selfishness libertarian to talk like this, emphasizing a radical individualism and opposition to all restrictive laws. But liberals, as a rule, believe that the state should take benevolent actions and sometimes limit extreme individualism for the common good. Liberals claim to be on the side of the poor, the marginalized, and the downtrodden. So on what ideological grounds is an exception made for the unwanted child in the womb?

Is it because liberals, in their openness to change, back in the 1960’s embraced the sexual revolution and so reject any thing that would limit or place consequences on sexual freedom? Is that what it is? I don’t see how that is particularly liberal either.

I know a number of the liberals who read this blog regularly are also pro-life, which I think is consistent. Can they or, better yet, a liberal who believes in legalized abortion answer this question? I really want to know.

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  • Matt C.

    Abortion is on the side of the poor because single mothers are condemned to a life of poverty. Eliminating a potential child eliminates a huge expense.

    It is on the side of the marginalized because while conservatives FORCE a woman who has made a mistake or wasn’t quite as careful as she should have been to become a mother when she is unprepared or undesiring, abortion releives that burden and takes away the difficulties of motherhood in a bad situation.

    It is on the side of the downtrodden because children limit one’s options in life. Women don’t always want to exercise their childrearing option; they have other dreams and goals. Abortion restores those options and at least prevents further repression on those already stuck in a bad situation.

    …Or so liberals often argue. I’m glad pro-lifers are asking this question. We’ve spent a long time making the case that abortion is unjust (which is very good), but your typical pro-choice person (not your academic feminist or San Francisco politician) is much more concerned with being merciful than with being just. In addition to our current arguments, we need to start showing that abortion isn’t mercy anymore than beating on the side of a television when the picture goes fuzzy is TV repair.

  • As for tying down single mothers or condemning people to poverty, there is that ancient tradition of adoption. Of course we as prolifers might start chipping away at all the barriers to adoption modern law has put in place, and make it a little easier to adopt.

  • john

    Abortions have always been available. It is a question of whether the proceedure is carried out within a state sanctioned medical facility or a squalid back room parlour — an establishment that generally had the approval of corrupt police. I should add the wealthy have always had access to abortion in doctors ‘ rooms with very few questions asked.
    I have always believed that the Christian Conservative’s desire to turn women and medical staff into criminals an inadequate response to what must be a very difficult time in a woman’s life.
    Perhaps the Roe v Wade decision is the lesser of two evils .

  • Texas Tom

    I have to ask a death merchant in “Pro-choice” garb, how many wrong choices does it take to make murder a “choice”?
    1. Choose not to honor your mother and father.
    2. Choose to have premarital sex.
    3. Choose not to take measures to prevent pregnancy.
    4. Choose to take the risk when not emotionally or financially mature to accept the responsibility.

    Any one of these may cause one to face the choice of causing a death. Horrible thought.

    My rhetorical thrust: If all your choices to this point have been wrong… What makes this one right?

  • David T.

    John (#3): What do you mean by the lesser of two evils? Do you mean a legal abortion is the lesser evil? Lesser than what? Lesser than an illegal abortion that might take two lives instead of one, or lesser than allowing the child to live because the child becomes a financial or emotional burden to the mother?

  • john

    It is not a matter of choices being right or wrong, pregnacy just happens Tom. It even happens to young christian kids that have taken a vow of celibacy.

  • Mary

    Abortion stance is one way for the government to limit or accrue its own power with popular backing. So perhaps it is a strategy more than a belief.

    I think pro-life groups should do more research into all the effects of abortion to prove rightly that even if it were to solve one problem (financial maybe), its spiritual & emotional long-term effects are far worse.

    Like Dr. Veith said, it’s not even liberal. The abortions I know about from friends or acquaintances were all done somehow sentimentally & surreally or because of an abusive boyfriend.

  • john

    If abortion is to be made illegal David T, what criminal sanctions do you think are appropriate. Do you envision a fine or imprisonment? What about the woman who tries to “self abort’ or drives down to Mexico for a medical proceedure. Are they guilty of a crime? Should they be arrested? Texas Tom says this is murder — what is an appropriate prison time for murder? What happens to the children of a convicted murderer?
    Can you see what i mean by the lesser of two evils David?

  • Joe

    “pregnancy just happens Tom.” No it doesn’t just happen. There are a few biological and interpersonal steps that have to occur all of which normally can be avoided if you do not want to have a baby.

    Also, as we have discussed here many, many times before, those of you who think that the only thing the pro-life movement does is try to overturn Roe are simply not paying attention or doing any research about the movement at all. Of course, the Roe stuff gets media coverage while none of the positive things the pro-life movement does for women and the babies ever gets any coverage.

    According to NRL, there are about 3000 crisis pregnancy centers that: “in addition to providing pregnancy tests and counseling, these centers often offer a full range of services, helping women obtain housing, maternity and baby clothes, baby equipment, pre- and post-natal medical care, legal assistance and financial support, information about adoption, and even advice on how a woman in school can continue her education.”

    http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/ASMF/asmf15.html I know of and support two in my community.

  • Veith, I suspect that the answer to your question lies, in part, in the definition of “liberal”, which isn’t too interesting. You seem to be considering the state-control axis alone in your question (where “conservative” equals “maintaining liberties”, though that is a fairly recent definition, and therefore not technically conservative).

    I think “liberals'” attitudes towards sex are, in fact, pretty liberal. And that is definitely part of the problem. Sex has become the sacrosanct thing — see how we worship it at every street corner! And, flying in the face of the biological reality, having children has not. The old way was that sex was for building families. Now sex is for fun, with the possible side effect that children might result.

    The more I think about it, the more I realize how much this is the attitude of so many people I know. Everyone assumes you’re having sex, but people can be really shocked when you decide to have a child, as if you’d decided to move to Eritrea or get a face tattoo.

    Somewhere in there, liberals got convinced (how I don’t know) that children aren’t alive/human when they’re in the womb. This is certainly key to pro-choice attitudes — without it, it all falls apart as so obviously wrong. But there’s nothing liberal about believing it.

    No, the more I think about it, this is very much about liberal attitudes towards sex. It is assumed that sex is always happening and should not be condemned. And “forcing” an unprepared mother to have a child is a way of punishing or condemning her foolish, sinful behavior.

  • John (@8), “What happens to the children of a convicted murderer?” I can’t believe you’re expressing concern for the children of a mother who might serve jail time for having aborted one of her children, without seeming to express concern about the abortion.

    What happens to the children of a convicted murderer? One of them already got murdered. I dare say a mother who murders one of her children outside the womb may also lose control of her children. Or, at least, they will have to be cared for when she is in jail.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    And Christians preach mercy and compassion to those who have been especially affected by an abortion choice. The consequences of abortion action are dire enough – 2 lives are lost in every abortion through the slaughter of the innocent and the slaughter of the soul. Hit hard by the law, these people need to hear the sweet Gospel of the Lord’s accomplished forgiveness for them. Lord, have mercy.

    Thanks to john and Matt who have given some good food for thought from the side of those who are pro-choice. I hope I get to read more here.

  • Bryan (@12), reread Matt’s last paragraph (@12). I do believe he counts himself among the “pro-lifers” he mentions.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The “liberal” acceptance of abortion confuses libertinism with freedom. Liberals have scant understanding that we human beings are free only to conform ourselves or not with the moral law including that which condemns the taking of any human life.

    The most cogent statement of this view is by John Winthrop as follows:

    …For the other point concerning liberty, I observe a great mistake in the country about that. There is a twofold liberty, natural (I mean as our nature is now corrupt) and civil or federal. The first is common to man with beasts and other creatures. By this, man, as he stands in relation to man simply, hath liberty to do what he lists; it is a liberty to evil as well as to good. This liberty is incompatible and inconsistent with authority and cannot endure the least restraint of the most just authority. The exercise and maintaining of this liberty makes men grow more evil and in time to be worse than brute beasts: omnes sumus licentia deteriores. This is that great enemy of truth and peace, that wild beast, which all of the ordinances of God are bent against, to restrain and subdue it. The other kind of liberty I call civil or federal; it may also be termed moral, in reference to the covenant between God and man, in the moral law, and the politic covenants and constitutions amongst men themselves. This liberty is the proper end and object of authority and cannot subsist without it; and it is a liberty to that only which is good, just, and honest. This liberty you are to stand for, with the hazard (not only of your goods, but) of your lives, if need be. Whatsoever crosseth this is not authority but a distemper thereof. This liberty is maintained and exercised in a way of subjection to authority; it is of the same kind of liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free….

    Most contemporary modern “liberals” regard the very assumption of moral law as a conceit of those pesky conservative religious nuts.

  • Manxman

    Why do liberals support abortion? Because they don’t believe in or fear the God of the Bible. And, because this is true, in liberal society, human life is NOT sacrosanct; the human will is sacrosanct.

    Abortion policy is the perfect expression of this God-rejecting principle.

  • kerner

    tODD @ 10 & 11:

    Really good comments, tODD. For example, ” ‘Conservative’ equals ‘maintaining liberties’…is a fairly recent definition” is quite true. My late father used to say that he was a “classical liberal”, by which he meant he held the same constitutional philosophy as James Madison, and the legal theory of Frederic Bastiat. Unfortunately we are at the mercy of labels, as when Lutherans try to call themselves “catholic” or “orthodox” or even “evangelical”. Accurate labels all (in their day), but if a Lutheran uses them now they just confuse everybody.

    You also said, “liberals somehow…got convinces that children aren’t…human when they are in the womb”.

    I think this is the same reason that the southern states once tolerated slavery. At this country’s founding, many southerners raised their voices the loudest in the cause of liberty, yet somehow they came to look as their slaves as sub-human. To the end, they tried to frame their “choice” to own slaves as a constitutional issue, as if the “freedom to own human slaves” were not an obvious oxymoron.

    I doubt that john (@3, 6, and 8) would argue that a woman who killed her infant, or toddler, child was simply engaging in making a choice “at a difficult time in [her] life”, or “the lesser of two evils”. Yet he somehow overlooks the humanity of the mother’s victim if she murders her child in the womb.

    One last thing, john. Every crime has always existed, regardless of laws restricting it. All of them are often committed with the approval of corrupt police. And above all, all of them are much easier for the rich to commit and get away with. It is even true that they all have been, at one time or another, committed by Christians who have promised not to do something like that. So what? None of those statements have very much to do with whether or not a particular act should be a crime.

  • What an easy world you live in Manxman (@15). All liberals are unbelieving heathens. And, I suppose, all conservatives are saints. Cut. And. Dry.

  • kerner

    Argh! that smiley face with the sunglasses was supposed to be an “8” followed by a “)”, but the programming changed it.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    tODD @ 13. I know. I just thought it was good that Matt at least tried to see from another’s point of view. But as you point out it is nice when someone who disagrees with you is willing to state why on their own terms. So, thanks again, john. And I still hope we hear from some others too. And, let me agree: good points both tODD and kerner.

  • Kelly

    Along with liberal and humanist views on sexuality come certain thoughts related to feminism: namely, that it’s somewhat unfair that a God (or Nature, evolution, or whatever) created women with bodies that seem to have less sexual “freedom” than men’s do. Therefore, it is felt to be appropriate to even the score and give women the same “rights” that men seem to have: to have as much sex as they want without necessarily dealing with the responsibilities and biological consequences that come with it. In short, women are practically being taught to despise their own bodies and biology; taught that men are physically superior and that they need to take extra steps to be more like men; taught that if other people do things that are wrong and get away with it, then they should also be able to do wrong and get away with it, too. It’s all quite sad…

  • subcutaneous

    Todd (#10)

    Nice explanation, I’d like to take it a step or two further.

    Like so many other temptations that face us now, we have the technology, so it must be OK.

    Nobody else needs to know about it, if I don’t get caught, it’s not wrong.

    Situational ethics. What is right and what is wrong changes continually. I think that this is part of the angst of the current generation – how can I play the “game” if the rules are always changing?

    A lack of Objective truth, something that a lot of us “conservatives” want to conserve.

  • Manxman


    I don’t know what god pro-abort liberals believe in, but if they refuse to see the shedding of innocent blood in abortion as a great evil, then they’d have a difficult time building a case that they believe in the God of the Bible. And, I don’t think that it is an exaggeration to say that liberals regularly elevate the human will above what God has clearly spoken in scripture about moral values.

    God says that if you love Him, you’ll keep his commandments. Not only do liberals break the commandments of God, they often refuse to even acknowledge that the commandments exist in the Bible in the first place. Conservatives may fail in keeping the commandments, but at least they acknowledge that they exist, and this is what they strive to “conserve” in our culture.

    Liberals want to ignore the Bible and set their own rules and call themselves “Christians.” I think they are engaging in self-deception.

  • Don S

    tODD is on to something here. The views of “liberals” and “conservatives” have shifted significantly in the past 25 years. Old school conservatives were strong “law and order” advocates, because of Vietnam war protests and rising crime as public morality began to break down in the 60’s and 70’s. In the meantime, in addition to a historic interest in using governmental means to lift the poor out of poverty, old school liberals opposed governmental intervention in the personal lives of citizens, again because of societal changes in the 60’s and 70’s (sexual revolution and rise of the hippy and protester movements).

    Over time, however, these views have become strangely stratified and inconsistent. Liberals have come to use governmental regulatory power to greatly limit economic and to somewhat limit religious, educational, and parental freedoms of citizens, but have become ever more libertine in ensuring that citizens have an absolute right to be licentious. Hence, an absolute constitutional right to murder unborn children to further the goal of equal opportunity of both men and women to unfettered sex. Also, the strange result of a supreme court which today again affirmed the unrestricted first amendment rights enjoyed by purveyors of porn on the Internet, but is willing to seriously restrict political speech, the very type of speech originally intended for protection under the first amendment.

    On the other hand, conservatives in the past 25 years have come to see that the government has grown to a point where it seriously restricts our individual liberties in the areas of economics, education, faith, and parenting. So, we have become quite libertarian in these areas. On the other hand, we often desire governmental action to restrict some of the so-called moral issues, such as drug abuse, sexual relations, pornography, etc. So our “law and order” sensibilities are much muted today.

    The bottom line, as tODD says, is that we, as a society, are willing to murder our unborn children so that women can enjoy a libertine and unrestrained sexual life, while also pursuing a career.

    I’ve often wondered why a woman’s right to murder her child stops once the child has made the passage from womb to delivery room. The child is still inconvenient at that point in time, and still every bit as dependent upon its mom. What is it about that magical passage through the birth canal that transforms an inhuman fetus into a human child endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

  • subcutaneous

    Kelly #20. good points.

    If men are as obsessed with sex as we all think, women are squandering the power that they have always had, and until recently used, to get men to behave in a certain way. By trying to be like men, and basically “giving it away”, they have given up that power.

  • It seems to me that the abortion debate is the great cultural eruption of our time, the volcanic issue in which a longstanding tension between conflicting visions of freedom has finally come to the surface. Abortion has finally and fully exposed western disagreements about what it means to be free.

    In some ways, the idolatrous ethic of total sexual freedom to which tODD refers is but the logical extension of that strand of democratic philosophy which emphasizes the autonomy of the self. Against that view of freedom is the one articulated by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (among many others):

    [Man] is free for the worship of the Creator. In the language of the Bible, freedom is not something man has for himself but something he has for others. No man is free “as such,” that is, in a vacuum, in the way that he may be musical, intelligent or blind as such. […] Freedom is not a quality which can be revealed–it is not a possession, a presence, an object, nor is it a form for existence–but a relationship and nothing else. In truth, freedom is a relationship between two persons. Being free means “being free for the other,” because the other has bound me to him. Only in relationship with the other am I free.

    Both liberals and conservatives are challenged by this definition of freedom. They both tend to emphasize one side of the equation at the expense of the other. Today’s liberals are reacting against the neglect of the single mother, but they neglect the unborn other. In so doing they actually neglect the mother too, because they create the false idea that she possesses freedom in herself and is not free for the other. But her freedom is FOR her child, who is the other. Thus, even those liberals whose pro-choice views stem less from an idolatry of choice than from a genuine sense of economic compassion are thoroughly entangled in this quagmire. However noble their attempt to be free “for” single mothers may be, it is marred by the failure to be free “for” the unborn. Vice versa for conservatives.

    In my estimation, neither side will never be able to think and speak and act persuasively and winsomely on behalf of the other–whether the other is the single mother or the unborn child–unless we are willing to do the hard and humbling work of critiquing and repenting of the idols to which we have been all too beholden. Surely we are all complicit; surely we all have work to do.

  • Matt C.

    tODD @ 13
    Thank you; yes, I am pro-life.

    Manxman @ 15 & 22,
    As someone who used to say pretty much what you say, your analysis isn’t so much incorrect as it is shallow and unhelpful. Of course abortion is a form of rejecting God’s law. But liberals don’t wake up in the morning, consider how to reject God’s law, then decide to support abortion. People are that sinful but not that simple. You mention self-deception, and you are correct. Nevertheless, doesn’t self-deception at least imply a portion of conscious thought that genuinely thinks allowing abortion is an expression of goodness? Don’t we have to engage that layer both for public debate and to win over individuals?

  • hm…for “neither side will never” read “neither side will ever.”

  • Laura

    I’m a Christian post-abortion counselor. Most folk, regardless of “liberal” or “conservative”, Christian (who make up 43% of those who have had abortions) or not,
    find there is great comfort in NOT being the only one to have experienced something. One tends to justify one’s sins in this way…

    1/3 of all pregnancies now end in abortion. So 1/3 of our population is involved in abortion in some way. There is safety and comfort in the sheer mass of others “like me”.

    And the Church has been largely asleep at the wheel for all these years…not to mention the years when Roe and Doe were coming down the pike.

    We’ve no one to blame but ourselves.

    Q: What are you doing, personally, to save a pre-born life? Talking about it, throwing money at it, or truly saving it?

    You’ve had 49 million chances…

  • Matt C.

    John @ 3,

    Since you’re taking a practical approach to the issue, there is something else to consider. Although abortion has always been available (and always will be), there is more at stake than the form it takes. There is also the frequency (which has changed as a result of legality). Simply from an economic perspective, making it illegal, adding social stigma, and yes, even necessitating an unsafe and destructive technique, all add a “cost” to the procedure. The higher the cost, the lower the demand. One can analyze the exact numbers for a better guess, but in principle, wouldn’t 10,000 back-alley abortions be preferable to 1,000,000 sterile ones?

    As to the historical inequities in its availability, I think we can apply the proverb, “Blessed are those who cannot pay the entry fee to Hell.” Think about the women you know who have had abortions; did they really have a good thing happen to them? Is the spoiled rich girl who could get an abortion really better off than the poor girl who wanted one but didn’t have the option? Not in my experience.

  • Sarah P

    You know, I realized the other day that the problem with things like abortion, divorce, murder, birth, etc. is that our eternal souls are involved. God created our souls to be eternal–we know that because there is heaven and hell; and because we were made in his image, an eternal being. So I think that because of that dynamic, that mothers who abort their unborn (and yes, they are mothers at that point, whether they like it or not) will always be affected by that eternal soul in one way or another, just like many are divorced but are still affected by their ex. And that’s the problem with divorce and abortion: they are lies. People think that the “problem” will just go away if they get rid of it. I feel sorry that they believe that lie and want to find ways to support them on the other side, thus truly walking the talk.
    And I’m glad that #1, Matt C, shared. Those are the true reasons, I think…other than control over one’s body. Still, I feel sorry for you that those things can make someone feel that they have the right to decide which eternal soul lives and which one dies.

  • Anonymous

    As usual when this topic comes up on this blog, the Pharisees start in with their self-congratulatory rants. Today is no exception. Listen to Laura @28. What are you doing to help a woman who may be contemplating having a legal abortion?

  • Rose

    Kelly (@20) I believe men will be held equally accountable by God for eggs they fertilized and refused to support/marry the mother/welcome the child. This is what I taught my sons.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Michel Novak today n NRO Corner makes a good point:

    Has it touched the heart of our first African-American president that the largest single number of the aborted are black children in the womb—13 million of them? These are children who will never be allowed to achieve the dreams they would have developed. These are children who will never be able to vote. These are children whose unique contributions to American politics, the arts, our culture, and the many different professions and occupations of our working lives will never come to full bloom.
    I think many are now praying that the eyes of Barack and Michelle Obama will be opened and that they will not seek to narrow the circle the number of Americans whose rights are protected in law, but rather to widen the circle so that the rights of these great potential talents and loving persons will be protected during the months of their greatest vulnerability.

    Though, realistically, it’s unlikely that Obama will change his radical view on abortion.

  • Kelly

    Anon #31: Why do I get the feeling that if we were to all start talking about the good things we were doing with our local pregnancy centers, as well as one-on-one support, as well as the opportunities we’ve taken to talk to young women about their options and God’s standards *before* they find themselves in the situation that pregnant women have (usually) chosen, we’d be accused of being Pharaisees for bragging?

    Rose #32: I’m glad to hear it.

  • john

    The question remains unanswered — if abortion is murder, what criminal sanctions are appropriate?

  • kerner

    john @ 35:

    Every so often a mother, usually during a period of great emotional turmoil, sometimes with the complicity of her significant other, kills her newborn child. On those occasions my experience has been that the legal system takes into account the difficult and often traumatic circumstances that led her to make such a choice, but the usual criminal penalties of incarceration followed by supervision and treatment are generally imposed. Because of the difficult circumstances, such a defendant usually gets less incarceration than a cold blooded killer, but the specific sentence would have to vary from case to case.

    On the other hand, anyone who would kill a baby for money ought to be treated like any other paid assasin. The particular penalty would vary from state to state, but would be very severe indeed.

    So, now my unanswered questions for you are:

    1. Do you think the usual penalties for killing a child (by the mother or by a paid killer) are appropriate? and

    2. Why should the penalties for killing an unborn child be any different?

  • Don S

    Anonymous @ 31: Did you read Joe’s post @ 9? Plenty is being done by plenty of people. It just doesn’t get publicized by a press and an abortion mill industry bent on presenting abortion as the only alternative.

  • kerner


    I think your first comment was really insightful. In a very real way, the feminist embrace of abortion is a rebellion against nature.

    Consider humanity as a species. We are mammals, which means that our young are utterly dependent on adults, usually parents, to survive. With the great majority of species on this planet that is not true. The female sea turtle buries her eggs in the sand and never thinks of them again. The female salmon lays her eggs, a male swims by and fertilizes them, and they both promptly die.

    With higher animals there may be a period of parental care, but it is very short. Birds usually push their young out of the nest in a month or two. Many mammals are born able to walk, and are weaned within a few months. A few mammals may stay with their mothers for a year or two.

    But WE have to care for our young for 18 years! Our young could never raise themselves, and women are more disabled by child birth than most other species. Shoot, until very recently, our children couldn’t even EAT without their moms for almost a year. So the family is a very necessary institution for us, simply by our nature. You and I, and most of us here, believe that this is God’s plan for His creation.

    But my point is that we cannot control this. It is our nature. We may think it is not fair to us, and particularly not fair to women, that reproduction should require so much time and effort, but all the resentment and stupid rebellion against nature in the world will not change the biological facts.

    Different cultures have reacted to the biological facts in different ways. Some (at least some asian cultures that I am aware of) have chosen to treat children as the property of the parents; or maybe of the father. In such cultures it has been common to abandon (that is, kill) babies that were undesirable for some reason, such as being deformed, or girls. Our culture, guided by God’s Word, has traditionally chosen to regard children as people who must be protected and raised to adulthood.

    So, I guess I agree with Manxman about this much. The farther our culture gets away from Christianity, the less respect for inconvenient life our people will have, and the more our people will reject the idea that their responsibility to protect their children is more important than their selfish interests.

  • Trey

    Laura (#28) Blame the church? How about blame the eugenics and the atheists. For those who preach in a church building that abortion is okay are not part of Christ’s Church. Let’s review real quick what comprises of the visible church that is the pure preaching of the Word of God and the proper administrating of the Sacraments. Any church that teaches that abortion is acceptable to God except for the life of the mother is NOT a Christian Church. Thus, I blame those who have distorted and rejected the Word of God . It is historically inaccurate to say the Church remained silent. There was great opposition to it then as it is now.

    Scripture is clear when it defines actual sins that condoning and practicing sinful behavior is the same. What we are doing here is defending the right of life for all, born and unborn. People must be won on this issue not by our good deeds, but by making sound arguments of why abortion is wrong. This is done by using the natural law. In essence, we seek to persuade of the truth concerning the sinfulness of abortion. We seek their hearts and minds. One serves the way they have. Scripture teaches us that not all have the same gifts.

    I must concur with #31 that what you have stated is very Pharisaical and self-congratulatory not to mention arrogant. Remember that we are only good because of the ONE who makes us good for the sake of His Son’s life, suffering, death, and resurrection.

  • John,

    If you examine pre-Roe abortion laws and penalties, you will find that in most states women who obtained abortions were either granted immunity from prosecution (as in New Jersey, New York, and others) or given light sentences (as in Wisconsin for example). That does not confirm the Supreme Court’s assumption that those states did not therefore regard abortion as murder; to the contrary.

    What it means is that those states took other things into consideration. For one thing, they granted women immunity from prosecution so as to ensure their untainted testimony against those who performed the procedure. After all, she was often the only reliable source of incriminating testimony. Moreover, legislators tended to see the woman as the second victim of abortion, often driven to commit the deed out of desperation. They took that into account. The real or primary perpetrator was the abortionist.

    Essentially, pre-Roe legislation sought to reduce abortion by balancing a variety of considerations: the personhood of the unborn child; the evil of abortion; the mother’s need for mercy in light of her circumstances; and the need to prosecute.

    Presumably a similar balance could be struck today, although it would undoubtedly take time and wisdom.

  • Booklover

    Though prior liberals may have had a biblical worldview, “liberals” of today have an entirely different worldview, a worldview in which this world is all there is.

    Here is a manifesto from a modern “liberal’s” point of view:

    1. No Lawgiver exists outside of myself.

    2. Since there are no rules, individuals, families, and small communities cannot change things through growth of character or moral choices; therefor, we look to the larger world community, the PLANET, for change.

    3. Since there is no God, we look to other saviors (the current president) for change.

    4. We worship these saviors; hence, after attending inaugural balls, we will write back on our facebook pages such things as, “Michelle and Barack are SO HOT!”

  • Laura@28 I need to take issue with your idea that “1/3 of our population is involved in abortion.” First, the Allen Guttmacher Institute’s numbers estimate that 22% of known pregnancies end in abortion, not 1/3. Those getting these abortions amount to 2% of American women. 47% of those women have had a previous abortion. Almost 10% of the total have had three or more.

    I’m not sure if you’re the one offering women comfort with these numbers, or have some other point, but I think accuracy is important.

  • FW

    “I know a number of the liberals who read this blog regularly are also pro-life, which I think is consistent. Can they or, better yet, a liberal who believes in legalized abortion answer this question? I really want to know.”

    Problems with this post I see as the words “liberal” being used in a fuzzy way. usually tyhe terms liberal and conservative in fact seem these days more like a partisan checklist than terms tied to any consistent underlying philosophical point of view.

    This is probably because the philosophical rout is a little more difficult. Example: I could see a libertarian argument supporting pro-choice or pro-sanctity-of-life positions. pro-choice in support of the foundation of roe v wade which was a womans right to privacy or the sanctity of life being that the prime role of government is the protection of the individual and their lives from being harmed by others.

    I see another problem in that both sides get locked into a single simplistic solution that implies no middle ground whatsoever.

    The common ground is where pragmatism meets ideals. This is where I am at. My ideal is that there should be NO killing of any human life ever. So then I would support whatever ideas come closest to that ideal. Being in Brasil, where abortions are illegal and prosecuted vigerously, and yet are arguably more common than in the usa, I am not sure criminalization urged by so called “conservatives” will get us closer to my ideals. So I am willing to entertain creative alternatives. Maybe more attention governmentally to conditions that favor fewer abortions, attention to medical care, economic conditions, family conditions, education, etc. How much would each of us be willing to pay more for in taxes if we could be relatively certain that abortions would be reduced by 60-80%?

    Ah. But a conservative would respond that the problem is not social conditions but rather right and wrong and personal morality. A poor person cannot use as an excuse their poverty to commit murder. True!

    On the other hand, that social safety net, that existed since the dawn of time until around 1930 is gone forever. I am talking about the extended nuclear family. The “tribal system” if you will. Could THIS be the root cause of many social ills? Is there any way to get that “system” back? (I think not….). In that case, what are the possible solutions? I see only government to be able to replace the services provided in the past by the millions of extended families that are no more….

    THIS is my “liberal” basis in support of focus on social programs. I assert that the root of most social issues fought over by conservative/liberal, this loss of the extended nuclear family is at the root of most all of those problems.

    since there is no “fix” for this in the form of restoring the past order, there is also no ideologically defined neat and clean solution.

    There you have my liberal arguments for decriminalizing abortion.

  • FW

    #40 tickletext

    “Moreover, legislators tended to see the woman as the second victim of abortion, often driven to commit the deed out of desperation. They took that into account. The real or primary perpetrator was the abortionist. ”

    This line or moral relativism would lead directly to social chaos. This reasoning is about as wrong as it can get…..

    we are ALL the victims of sin. those sins we commit, those we contribute and participate in with others and those sins of others perpetrated upon us. But guilt is still guilt and sin is still sin.

    This “need to prosecute” and so to grant immunity to get testimony has it´s place. but in the context you present it it, this looks like some of the crassest hypocracy I could imagine.

    I am a woman who seeks out a doctor to give me an abortion and then turn on that same doctor claiming that he victimized me. Really.

  • FW, I was merely summarizing the historical record, not necessarily presenting an argument.

  • I will say that the focal point of those pre-Roe laws was to reduce abortions, which I think is a legitimate aim of law. However, I do have some doubts about the “second victim” notion. While I think that there is a moral sense in which women are victims of the abortion culture, I am not sure whether that should be applied as a legal rubric.

    Moreover, legal scholars have suggested that the “second victim” perspective may have partially been due to the paternalism of the pre-Roe era. So I certainly would not favor a paternalistic measure which denies women moral agency.

    But what bothers me about the argument from pity that John and many others have made regarding criminalizing abortion is that it tends to leave the abortionist out of the equation altogether.

    Also it is interesting that abortion is an issue where anti-abortion liberals are pro-free market (let’s reduce demand) and conservatives are pro-regulation (make legal proscriptions).

    Also, there is going to be hypocrisy and moral entanglement no matter what the law is. You have already noted that in your Brazil the abortion rate is very high despite (or because of?) abortion being illegal. But to my (very limited) knowledge, very few women are actually imprisoned there. (That’s according to articles like this: http://tr.im/csz2 ).

  • Dose anyone believe that God is the creator of babies? Quote from old jewish bible,”I knit you in your mothers womb” Plain and simple its murder!!!!!!!!