Comment of the Day

There’s a really fascinating string of comments under Tuesday’s post, Are You an MIE (Multi-Issue Evangelical)? regarding abortion.  It’s hard to pick just one comment, but RJohnson’s stood out to me as particularly thoughtful:

“A fetus should not legally be considered a living person until it has brain activity.”

Realize that there seems to be a confusion of terms here. As I see
it, “personhood” is a legal status conferred by the laws of our nation.
It was withheld from African slaves and their descendants until a
series of Constitutional amendments and related laws were passed by the
people and their Congress. It was withheld from women until similar
events happened. And at this point it is withheld from unborn children.

Humanity is a scientifically defined status based on the genetic
makeup of the individual in question. In this case the unborn child is
human from the moment of conception, just as the unborn dog is canine
from conception, the unborn cat a feline, etc.

Science can certainly validate the humanity of an unborn child, and
any unbiased observer of an unborn child after, say, 2 or 3 months of
gestation would say that the unborn child is certainly human. Science
cannot grant personhood under the law. No observation of the child can
be made to determine personhood. Just as one could look at a black
slave in 1830 and say with certainty that he/she was human, one could
look at the same slave and say with certainty that he/she was not a
person under our laws.

Rights, under our governmental system, are granted to persons, not
humans. It may seem like pure semantics, but a study of history will
prove this. Pro-life advocates arguing that the unborn child has rights
because it is human are barking up the wrong tree. Personhood, not
humanity, is the determinant that should be discussed.

  • Mike Margarit

    I guess R. Johnson’s conscience is clear now, now that science and government has validated as to who is human and who lives or dies. Typical of the intelligentsia of our time, to package this in a way that we are all suppose to be at awe and accept it as fact. Funny how civil rights only pertain to African Americans, gays, women, terrorists and every other person on earth, but not for the unborn child. Where does your heart felt compassion really lie Mr. Johnson?
    “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” Eccl. 11:5
    “Rights, under our governmental system, are granted to persons, not humans.”
    Just by looking at his quote from the last paragraph, shows the arrogance and ignorance of such thoughts and ideas. This quote stands on its own merit, as to the blatant disregard for human life. No surprise that, ideology with people like this, trumps all sorts of morals or common sense.
    No Mr. Johnson, we are not barking up the wrong tree. The only tree that we rely upon is the tree that our Saviour was hung from and crucified for us all. That is the only tree that we can come to with our heavy hearts and questions of such importance and magnitude, as to the life of an unborn child and come away with real truth that sets us free. Not relying upon our hearts and minds and the passage of some, man made laws with their ideologies. We are to obey God rather than man, when those man made laws undermine our creator.

  • Dan

    “Rights, under our governmental system, are granted to persons, not humans.”
    If memory serves correctly, the poster has just repeated the chief argument justifying slavery…
    Oops. Forgot. Words only mean what the subjective mind wants them to mean in the postmodern realm, so the poster really said nothing that I can understand.
    Such is the chaos of the times. God have mercy on us all.

  • http://www.LifeNews.com Steven Ertelt

    Well, since brainwaves begin as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy and since 99% of abortions are done after that point, RJohnson appears to support making virtually all abortions illegal because they would involve the destruction of a human being with full legal rights.

  • Njd

    A point of clarification. RJohnson’s definition of “Personhood” as it relates to Africans and especially women is historically wrong. It seems that RJohnson is confusing personhood with the right to vote. By that definition teenagers are not persons, just humans. Furthermore, women’s personhood or africans or for that matter non-property owning white men were considered persons, even though they couldn’t vote.

  • http://kylejoshua85.blogspot.com Kyle

    There is a major flaw in that argument. From a pro-life perspective, abortion is murder. Murder happens to humans, regardless of ‘personhood.’
    Therefore the question isn’t whether or not a right is being withheld. The question is whether or not a malicious act is being committed.
    My question, however, is this:
    If we are dealing with an issue that seems to be equally divided WITHIN A DEMOCRACY and that is supported by past Supreme Court decisions, should our whole focus be on recruit a slight majority to defeat those who disagree with us, or should we address things like poverty and poor sexual education that legitimize abortion?
    Should we stand in stubborn disagreement with those who oppose us, or should we undermine their arguments by changing reality?
    What if we do the work that we’re called to do in serving the poorest among us so that abortion becomes simply unthinkable? What if we address the diseases that cause the symptom so that the pro-choice argument can’t stand up to scrutiny?
    We might not change everyone’s mind, but I think we can change enough of them.

  • http://kylejoshua85.blogspot.com Kyle

    actually, I want to correct something I wrote. I said it was a question of whether or not a malicious act is being committed. I should have said homicide rather than murder, because an abortion can be done without malice, but still with the intent to kill. And the word homicide is clearly more effective, as it is homicide

  • RJohnson

    “I guess R. Johnson’s conscience is clear now, now that science and government has validated as to who is human and who lives or dies. Typical of the intelligentsia of our time, to package this in a way that we are all suppose to be at awe and accept it as fact. Funny how civil rights only pertain to African Americans, gays, women, terrorists and every other person on earth, but not for the unborn child. Where does your heart felt compassion really lie Mr. Johnson?”
    Nice try, Mr. Margarit. Perhaps I will allow you to argue with Justice Blackmun.
    “The Constitution does not define “person” in so many words. Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment contains three references to “person.” The first, in defining “citizens,” speaks of “persons born or naturalized in the United States.” The word also appears both in the Due Process Clause and in the Equal Protection Clause. But in nearly all these instances, the use of the word is such that it has application only postnatally. None indicates, with any assurance, that it has any possible pre-natal application.
    “All this, together with our observation, supra, that throughout the major portion of the l9th century prevailing legal abortion practices were far freer than they are today, persuades us that the word “person,” as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn. This is in accord with the results reached in those few cases where the issue has been squarely presented. McGarvey v. Magee-Womens Hospital, 340 F. Supp. 751 (WD Pa. 1972); Byrn v. New York City Health & Hospitals Corp., 286 N. E. 2d 887 (1972); Abele v. Markle, 351 F. Supp. 224 (Conn. 1972), Montana v. Kennedy, 366 U. S. 308 (1961); Keeler v. Superior Court, 470 P. 2d 617 (1970); State v. Dickinson, 28 Ohio St. 2d 65, 275 N. E. 2d 599 (1971). Indeed, our decision in United States v. Vuitch, 402 U. S. 62 (1971),
    inferentially is to the same effect, for we there would not have indulged in statutory interpretation favorable to abortion in specified circumstances if the necessary consequence was the termination of life entitled to Fourteenth Amendment protection.”
    For 35+ years, the Roe decision itself has held the key to making abortion fully and truly illegal. It’s written there in black and white for anyone to read.
    Why can’t you understand that, Mr. Margarit? It’s personhood (a legal concept) not humanity (a scientific/philosophical concept) that is at issue. Overturning Roe will not settle it. Passing laws in Congress will not settle it. The only thing that will definitively settle it is amending the Constitution to include unborn children in the definition of a person.
    It’s really that simple. I’m sorry you can’t, or won’t see it.

  • Brian

    I think you guys are missing the point. I believe what he is saying is that pro-life people need to change their approach and argue for the personhood of the fetus because it is obvious that it is human.
    Therefore, it makes sense to compare it to the justification for slavery since that is so obviously wrong to us now.

  • RJohnson

    “From a pro-life perspective, abortion is murder. Murder happens to humans, regardless of ‘personhood.’”
    From a legal perspective, murder happens to persons. If a human is not considered a person under the law, the taking of that life cannot be considered murder. Period.
    http://www.dinsdoc.com/goodell-1-1-14.htm
    As you can see by reading this, the various slave holding states did not uniformly consider the intentional killing of a slave to be murder. Many did not even consider it punishable as anything other than a property crime. For example:
    SOUTH CAROLINA, 1740.—The Act, in its preamble, sets forth that “cruelty is not only highly unbecoming those who profess themselves Christians, but is odious in the sight of all men who have any sense of virtue or humanity.” [Therefore:] “To restrain and prevent barbarity being exercised towards slaves, Be it enacted, that if any person shall wilfully murder his own slave, or the slaves of any other person, every such person [i. e., the offender] shall, upon conviction thereof, forfeit and pay the sum of seven hundred pounds, current money, and shall be rendered for ever incapable of holding, exercising, &c., any office, &c. And in case any such person shall not be able to pay the penalty and forfeiture hereby inflicted and imposed, every such person shall be sent to any of the frontier garrisons of the Province, or committed to the workhouse in Charleston for the space of seven years, &c., &c., at hard labor.” (2 Brevard’s Digest, 241.)
    However, once the Fourteenth Amendment was passed such laws as these were rendered invalid and unenforceable. Supreme Court decisions supporting them were invalidated. Intentionally killing a newly freed former slave was murder under the law, and the law could seek to punish the murderer.
    The key to this has always been changing the definition of person with regards to the Fourteenth Amendment to include unborn children. Once that is accomplished the “pro-life perspective” as you call it, becomes law. Abortion will be murder.
    However, we know that will never happen. The Republican Party has shown it lacks the integrity and will to pass such an amendment. From 1994 until 2006 the GOP enjoyed an almost unbroken period of control of both Houses of Congress, and never once brought forward the Human Life Amendment or any similar amendment to address this issue. It never saw a hearing in any committee or sub-committee. Why? Political pragmatism trumped pro-life intentions.
    With so many evangelicals in the single-issue category on abortion, the GOP needs to keep abortion as an active campaign issue. The only way to do that is to NEVER pass the HLA, and only pass laws that nibble around the edges of the issue (partial birth abortion bans, parental notification laws, health regulations on clinics, etc.). Take away the abortion issue and the single-issue evangelical may not vote Republican. He or she may decide to stay at home or vote for another party.
    The GOP needs the abortion issue to activate its base and have any hope of regaining power. Once in power, it needs the abortion issue to stay there, to activate its base every 2 years to keep putting more Republicans in office.

  • RJohnson

    Brian: “I think you guys are missing the point. I believe what he is saying is that pro-life people need to change their approach and argue for the personhood of the fetus because it is obvious that it is human.”
    BINGO!!!

  • Mike Margarit

    “The key to this has always been changing the definition of person with regards to the Fourteenth Amendment to include unborn children. Once that is accomplished the “pro-life perspective” as you call it, becomes law. Abortion will be murder.”
    Speaking for myself, I don’t believe that I’m missing the point. As of now, 48+ million abortions have been performed in the U.S., arguing the point as to who is human or have personhood is just asinine. Now with a Senate and Congress and a President that is willing to continue the atrocities on the unborn, how long and how many more children will have to be murdered, before we come the conclusion of a passing of law, as to who deserves to live or die. The argument that will trump all, is not whether an unborn baby has personhood or is human. The argument has always been and always will be, the rights of the women to choose. That is the foundation of the Pro-Abortionists and that’s what they will stand on, until the end of time.
    Thousands marched on our streets on the passing of Prop 8. People where outraged as to how can we be so heartless for taken the rights of gays to marry. Christians, straight people, celebrities, politicians…all came together to protest as to the horror that took place in our country on November 4th. News on all networks have been covering it for weeks. Where is the outrage regarding over the million + innocent defenseless babies, that have been murdered in 2008? How many more years are we to sit and debate this issue? If this country is not going to be judge for the holocaust that we have allowed to be perpetrated upon the defenseless ones, then God will have to apologize to the cities of Sodom and Gomorra.

  • http://tanstaaflblog.wordpress.com Jeff Moulton

    “arguing the point as to who is human or have personhood is just asinine.”
    I would argue that following the same failed strategy for year after year after year after year after year after year … (repeat for a total of 35 times) … would certainly qualify as asinine.
    But go ahead, continue to employ a strategy of failure, the babies can wait.

  • Mike Margarit

    Do you actually think, that by arguing the humanity or the personage of someone is going to change their minds? They have seen the proof of a living being inside a woman’s womb, through sonograms, 3D views, botched abortions, for three decades now. Even if the argument is proven to be right, they will never admit that they are in the wrong and would have to take responsibility for the atrocities of the last past 30 years. The left is only concerned about their ideologies and how they can advance their agenda. Just look at the courts and how they are going to turn Prop 8 and silence the voice of the people. Just like they did in Connecticut. The people voted and the courts just decided that their voice and vote were neither valid nor important. I’m not that naive and gullible to think that Obama and his administration all of a sudden, are going to have a change of heart. They will do the same if there is ever a time, that we would have the chance to overturn Row. The ACLU, Planned Parenthood, State Supreme Courts… and every lawyer imaginable will be in line, to overturn the will of the people. Guaranteed.

  • RJohnson

    Mike, how well has your strategy been working for you? How many unborn children has it saved? How many abortions have not happened because of that strategy? You seem quite comfortable pursuing it year after year while the dead children continue to pile up. How many more are you willing to let die before you decide something else might work better?
    The GOP had the chance to bring the HLA to a vote and push the issue…they failed to even try. Why? They need dead children to win elections…primarily because of folks like you, Mike.
    I would much rather save children than win elections, Mike. Which one is more important to you?

  • RJohnson

    “Do you actually think, that by arguing the humanity or the personage of someone is going to change their minds? They have seen the proof of a living being inside a woman’s womb, through sonograms, 3D views, botched abortions, for three decades now.”
    And how many years did people look at living, breathing human beings being sold as slaves or treated as second class citizens before we actually began to move towards equal rights based on race, Mike? For 35 years the pro-life movement has pushed the humanity argument…and for the most part has failed. Token victories here and there, but no real bite into the heart of the matter.
    The GOP does not want to win this battle. They want to win elections. Single issue voters help them win elections but do precious little to help stop abortions.
    35+ years…isn’t it about time to try something new?

  • Milo

    RJohnson,
    The “humanity argument” has not failed. Most Americans get that it’s murder. The rest have never looked to see if it’s murder.
    Next, 30 years of activism is nothing when it comes to incremental strategy. So, the Pro-Life cause has plenty of time. The legal and political recourse takes time, but it’s worth it and it’s peaceful. The whole deal is judges, since that’s the main way political change takes place in America. (Liberal judges make anti-life decisions, Conservative judges make pro-life decisions.)
    Outside of the legal system, pro-lifers have a whole networks of pregnancy shelters and clinics to reach out to pregnant women.
    Any other efforts you supply are welcome!

  • RJohnson

    “If we are dealing with an issue that seems to be equally divided WITHIN A DEMOCRACY and that is supported by past Supreme Court decisions, should our whole focus be on recruit a slight majority to defeat those who disagree with us, or should we address things like poverty and poor sexual education that legitimize abortion?”
    And here is where the Democrats need to be held accountable. They made some decent moves in their platform, but actions speak MUCH louder than words (as 28 years of inaction on the GOP’s part has shown). The Democrats said they wanted to enact programs that would help on the economic side, which could well result in a reduction in abortions. I’m all for that IF THEY FOLLOW THROUGH.
    The GOP has failed miserably. Not only will they not move on their professed platform issue of the HLA, but they refuse to even consider spending a penny to help alleviate poverty, which has been shown time and time again to be a contributing factor to the abortion rate in our nation. The Democrats SAY they want to work on the poverty issue. If they do, and if abortions do decline, they deserve the credit. If they fail to try, they are no better than the GOP.

  • Lori

    Rick Warren, in his book The Purpose Driven Life. said something that struck me profoundly. I can’t quote it verbatim but it went something like this: “Long before we were concieved by our parents, we were concieved in the mind of God.” This is biblical. It’s too bad our law makers cut God out of the picture. If they were more concerned with what their Creator thinks, then abortion would not be a viable option. It would not exist at all. Law makers of today make up rules and laws that cater to their own wharped ways of thinking, to defend their rights, not the rights of the innocent.


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