…shows the folly of the assertion that you have to vote for Romney because abortion.
This is standard “Catholics for Obama” fare.
Even by that measure, this is a stretch – an ex-surrogate speaking to unlikely Republican voters, later clarifying that he’s speaking his own mind only.
So, let’s put it this way, Mr. Talbot: by this late stage in the game, we’ve already made our respective prudential judgements. Let’s change the station.
[shrug] They’re better than the alternative, lesser of two evils, etc., etc.
I have nothing but respect to any Catholic who has made a prudential judgment too vote for Romney. I do not consider Governor Romney to be evil, great or less.
On the abortion issue, neither candidate has on his agenda legislation to restrict the legality of abortion. My prudential judgment is that the policies and programs of the President will result in fewer procured abortions as well as fewer spontaneous abortions thanks to the EPA rule Romney wishes to repeal.
I liked that, Kurt.
Let’s continue to argue over which part of Catholic social teaching is more important to support at the expense of the rest of it. And we will continue to have war, abortion, and torture, continue to neglect the widow orphan and alien, continue to let the poor struggle in their need and lack of opportunity. This is a much better option than debating how we can get both parties (as we are stuck with a two party system) to recognize, appreciate and support the whole fabric of Catholic Social Teaching.
Best comment of the thread so far.
All aspects of the whole of Catholic dogma and doctrine are important. One iota is the difference between damnable heresy and the victory of orthodoxy. However, there are some things more important. Is it that difficult to see the obnoxious affront to common decency, natural law, and the whole moral order that the “legalization” of intra-womb baby murder is? The very fact that its on the law books that such an action is “legal” defiles the character our country and the integrity of our legal system.
It is not as if an unborn baby is more “important” than an orphan or a widow but no one is legislating that we start shooting street kids/homeless or force-euthanizing widows.
The whole seamless garment thing sounds good, but it garners a whole lot of talk and seemingly not much else. All the while, our country is legally presiding over a holocaust that is going to make Hitler and Stalin look like Boy Scouts.
Dominic – the thing is, neither party genuinely cares about the legal status of abortion. Either way. The Dems don’t care about keeping it legal, and the Repubs don’t care about outlawing it.
Whatever its legal status, abortion is here to stay. I hate that, you hate that, everyone with an intact moral conscience hates that, but it is the cold, hard fact of the matter. Abortion is here because it became technologically possible to procure one with minimal risk to the mother, and because in the industrialized world there is a large and structural economic disadvantage in having children until you’re in your mid-20s at the earliest.
Since the previously-mentioned technology is unlikely to be un-invented, abortion will end when our society is restructured in such a way as to remove the economic disadvantage of having children earlier than your mid-twenties. Outlawing abortion would be a nice symbolic gesture, but would have minimal if any effect on the rate of abortions here or anywhere else. To remove the problem, we need to remove the cause. The cause, in my view, is industrialism: industrialization meant that for the first time in human history, people began not to have sex when their bodies were ready for it, but 10 years later, after they had acquired the training to participate gainfully in the economic system.
Matt Talbot wrote:
“Whatever its legal status, abortion is here to stay. I hate that, you hate that, everyone with an intact moral conscience hates that, but it is the cold, hard fact of the matter.”
The only thing cold and hard here is the whiff of the old ost-politik wafting from this statement. You either don’t know your history, Mr. Talbot, or you haven’t learned from it, thus you fall in the trap of determinism.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sticking with the Holy Spirit on this one. He is the arbiter of what is and isn’t here to stay.
The only thing cold and hard here is the whiff of the old ost-politik wafting from this statement. You either don’t know your history, Mr. Talbot, or you haven’t learned from it, thus you fall in the trap of determinism.
I’ve read and re-read that sentence, and I’ve thrown up my hands in despair – I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Do you disagree with my summary of the current situation regarding abortion? If so, why?
[edit: please post your reply at the bottom of the thread, so that it is not an inch wide…]
Please see my comments below.
People like this ought to be aware of such things.
The sentiments you’ve expressed regarding abortion are uncannily reminiscent of the sentiments once expressed regarding the permanency of Marxist totalitarianisms (hence the reference to Ost-politik, as once practiced by the Vatican in the sixties and some of the seventies). “Cold and hard” – that’s how Ost-politik felt on the receiving side.
Abortion and Marxist totalitarianisms share the same root system, and history has shown the fallacy of viewing the latter as permanent – then why should we believe that the former is “here to stay”, as you put it?
Our continued discussion on this subject seems to hinge on a common understanding of Vatican’s Ost-politik, and the “inevitability” arguments Marxists are so fond of. Once that’s digested, the question of abortion will take on a very different look.
I can only think that you’re making strange assumptions about the premises from which I write.
For one thing, while my politics are somewhat to the left of the American middle — and that “middle” these days is actually pretty far to the right, by the standards of history and the rest of the world — I’m no Marxist, believe me. If I had to characterize my positions, I’d say I’m closest to being a New Deal Democrat, and New Dealers were absolutely loathed by Real, Actual Marxists.
But look: abortion came about as a result of technology making available an option that the industrial system and its effects made attractive. Tinkering with the law will have no effect on either of those facts, and as someone or other once said, facts are stubborn things. Those facts need to be dealt with, if the problem of abortion is to be comprehensively addressed.
I only addressed the underlying assumptions on which you based your posts, not your actual politics.
Mark – I’m at sea… my underlying assumptions are not Marxist. You seemed to be saying that they were. Do I have that right?
The Dems don’t care about keeping it legal, and the Repubs don’t care about outlawing it.
If I can jump in here: What do you mean, the Dems don’t care about keeping it legal? Consider the “war on women” canard and the despicable attack on Mourdock in Indiana for saying that life comes from God — to me, it seems like the Dems are quite committed to keeping abortion legal and will erect strawmen in order to scare people into thinking their abortion rights will be violated if they support a Repub.
As for “the Repubs don’t care about outlawing it”, I know it’s sometimes easy to think of the abortion battle as either the overturning or the non-overturning of Roe v. Wade. If that is how the abortion battle is described, it’s true that it doesn’t look like much has happened or will happen. But the abortion battle is more much more nuanced that that. The abortion battle involves abortion restrictions, funding, conscience clauses, etc. And, to me, it seems that the Repubs generally advance such restrictions, etc., as opposed to the Dems. A good example is Supreme Court decision on partial-birth abortion. If it wasn’t for Repub legislators, Repub President, and Repub judges, our law would now state that there was a fundamental constitutional right to have a partial-birth abortion. Thankfully,, we don’t have that in our law.
I am also not a fan of the deterministic language and agree with MarkVA, there was a time when folks though Communism was here to stay, useful idiot 5th columnists in the West would tell us its the wave of the future and then low and behold the whole rotten mess collapsed. China still flies a red flag but they have all but admitted that they are just Statists. Abortion is even more unnatural than Communism is, to me it seems that its fall will be inevitable once enough people are sufficiently scarred by it and let the ’60s radicalist feminist propaganda go the way of Mao’s Little Red Book.
As to our own two parties, the Republicans at least do advance restrictions on this abomination, even if not all of them are on board or on board all the way. The Democrats, by and large, are fervent supporters-its in their platform after all. They have hardly done anything tangible to even bring any sort of restriction to it. I for one will not let the perfect be the enemy of the good enough. The Republicans do not do enough, but since we aren’t in the City of God, they are the best we have to work with. Maybe if the Democrats hadn’t thrown their lot in with outright godlessness, we could reasonably work both sides.
The practical side must be acknowledged, of course, but it is not good enough to look to that imaginary future when all of society is somehow reworked. Outlawing abortion will not end it, but its a matter of principle. How are we ever going to meaningfully reform society to a point where abortion just won’t happen when we cannot even stop giving it the official governmental green light? Its a matter of principle. Even if we cannot completely prevent it (and no state can make people not sin), we certainly should not even give it the slightest official approval.
Dominic – see my reply to Mark.
The abortion battle involves abortion restrictions, funding, conscience clauses, etc.
For me ( and I am not judging anyway else’s prudential judgment) is that we already have restrictions on abortion funding in law, conscience clauses in law, a ban on partial birth abortions in law. So we have pushed forward on those fronts. President Obama gives us an opportunity to move forward on fronts the GOP will not — stopping abortions from Mercury poisoning as the EPA rule Romney wants to recind, health care for all, WIC, etc.
It is nuanced and complicated and therefore we should all respect those who on different initiatives.
dominic1955 and Matt VA you both miss my point completely. I think abortion is every bit as evil as you do, but I do not believe the Republicans are working to eliminate it. The fact is 5 of the justices in favor of Roe v. Wade were appointed by Republican presidents. Since Roe v Wade the current 6 – 4 majority of Republican appointed justices on the bench is the least control they have had. At one point 8 of the 9 justices were appointed by Republican Presidents! Yet the ruling stands. The Republican party controlled congress, the presidency and the the supreme court for 6 years and the only anti abortion legislation they even proposed was to ban partial birth abortions. The current head of Pro-Life admitted that this legislation (necessary as it was) would do little to reduce the number of abortions. In fact there is no indication it had any effect at all. The most restrictive abortion legislation offered in the past 40 years was the Affordable Care Act with the Stupack amendment. Liberals were outraged when this passed as it would have had the effect of nearly eliminating abortion coverage from all insurance no matter who paid for it. If just 1 Republican senator would have voted for it, it would be law today, but not 1 did.
My point is not to say Republicans bad Democrats good, I could go on a long rant about the Democrats, but Matt Talbot does a good job of that in a later post. My point is we are being used by both parties for them to get into office. The Republicans have no intention of losing the abortion issue. They know that the day they succeed in outlawing abortion is the day they loose a significant number of votes. The example is the same as the Democrats with the civil rights legislation. When they finally succeeded in doing the right thing, the lost the South to the Republicans.
My point is we have to be consistent in talking to our politicians. “Yes, I am glad you are standing up against abortion, now can we talk about your use of the military and your plan for the poor? How about immigration reform and treating those in our country without documentation humanely?” “I support you plan for healthcare and to help pull people out of poverty, but how can I change your views on abortion? How can we eliminate the use of drone attacks and collateral death?” This is what we need to do.
And to directly answer one of your statements, yes I have heard good pro-life Catholics say that if someone gets sick and does not have health care we should let them die. I have heard good pro-life Catholics say if we didn’t give the widow and orphan and alien food and shelter they would get jobs and feed themselves (contrary to evidence from all of human history that shows that most of the poor don’t want to be). There is no moral superiority between allowing people to get abortions and requiring me to pay for drone attacks, or letting people die when they could be saved by simple medical procedures.
If one is at sea, then a sturdy rudder is a necessity. So:
Abortion is here to stay because “… in the industrialized world there is a large and structural economic disadvantage in having children until you’re in your mid-20s at the earliest.”
In my view, this clearly states that the mode of economic production determines the morality of those engaged in that mode. Thus, to “remove the problem”, you wrote that we need to remove the cause, which in your view is industrialism.
This may seem like an attractive solution, but to actually prove it based on historic, economic, or anthropological evidence, is something else entirely. At best it’ll prove to be a quarter truth.
Further, let’s play along and say that the above is true (which it really isn’t). Then, nothing will prevent us from expanding this field of inquiry, and propose that the Ten Commandments are also nothing more but expressions of a certain mode of production (stealing – private property, adultery – hierarchy, or, if one likes, private property, and so on). Likewise, our concept of “God”, what else but the ultimate owner of all capital, etc, etc. Where to do you think this leads us, if we take but a few more short steps?
We’ve already been there, and it’s not a pleasant place – so let’s not move back, but forward.
May I recommend Father Charles J. McFadden, O.S.A, Ph.D. who presents these ideas in some of the most lucid prose I’ve ever read. Most importantly, what he wrote corresponds with the truth of this reality.
this clearly states that the mode of economic production determines the morality of those engaged in that mode.
I mentioned two factors: the development of technology to the point where abortion is a simple and safe procedure for the mother, and the structural factor you mentioned. Those together mean, in my judgement, that abortion is here to stay.
While there are ways to use the law and the power of government to address this in a way that would likely make a substantial dent in the rate of abortions, those methods would be so unpopular (not to mention oppressive and authoritarian) that they would be quickly overturned as part of the democratic process, and would be extremely unlikely to to return.
I mean, walk me through this: give me a scenario where abortion is outlawed, the new law is enforced in a way that has a substantial and lasting effect on the abortion rate, and where said enforcement does not include means that your average American would find unacceptable. Please also provide an example of where your proposal has been tried successfully.
Outlawing abortion right now in the United States would result, again in my judgement, in an unenforceable law that would be widely ignored, and which would for all practical purposes have no real effect on the abortion rate.
Let me put this another way: it will take a whole lot more than tinkering with the law to end widespread abortion.
When discussing abortion, I believe it’s important to work with facts.
You’re undoubtedly aware of the astonishing correlation between the married status of a woman, and the odds of her having an abortion (roughly 4.5 to 1 for unmarried vs. married, or 82% vs. 18%, respectively). If you still want to make the case that it is industrialism that causes this correlation, then the elementary question to you would be: out of the many complex sets of factors affecting the lives of contemporary single and married women in the USA, how did you eliminate all of them, except for industrialism?
You’re also undoubtedly aware that there are several EU countries where abortion remains illegal, except in some tightly defined circumstances. In at least one of these countries, abortion was outlawed after being legal for several decades. It would be inaccurate to say that these countries are “oppressive and authoritarian” (even though certain western media outlets have periodic hissy fits over the audacity of these countries not to toe this line).
Finally, you set up somewhat of a straw man argument: you insist that an ideal outcome be produced, or it’s the end of the argument for you. It doesn’t work like this in real life. In cases like abortion, experience shows that only proximate solutions are available, but these solutions can, nevertheless, have substance. Changing the law is not the entire solution, and no one I ever heard who is serious about this issue, claims it is. There are many additional components to the solution for this serious problem, and some may even touch on your favorite one (although not to the radical degree you seem to favor).
I am not Matt (sorry Matt), but I wish to respond to some of Mark’s points.
Few would argue that a family with both parents present and active in their children’s lives greatly reduces abortion.
Two EU countries which have decriminalized the procurement of abortion are Ireland and Poland. In Ireland and Poland, a doctor may not perform an on-demand abortion without risking the cancellation of his or her licensure or even prison time. However, Irish women who travel to Britain for an abortion are not prosecuted. Similarly, Polish women who have aborted their child in Germany are not prosecuted. The Schengen Agreement allows additional protection for EU women who reside in countries where abortion procedures are proscribed by law.
A better, and completely orthodox tact, for the Church to take is an legal endorsement of decriminalization per the “Ireland model”. As A Sinner has noted elsewhere, under this model the advertisment of abortion would be a crime. He also contends that a GP who performs abortion after hours and without advertisement of services might evade prosecution unless he or she maims or kills a patient. A woman who suffers a botched abortion might elect to report the doctor who harmed her. I would add that a woman who has been harmed by abortion should be immune from prosecution or civil penalty if she decides to testify against the abortionist. A Stasi-esque vice police whose sole task is to seek out abortionists and women who have had abortions is a totalitarian solution which, as history as amply shown, results in its own grave human rights abuses.
Totalitarian societies which have either completely abolished abortion or alternately forced abortion on women have often gravely wronged women these regimes claim to protect or uplift. A just and Catholic state constitutionally enshrines the protection of human life without reifying the complex chain of events between a woman who seeks an abortion and a doctor who performs the procedure. The Church’s call for complete abortion criminalization as a absolute prerequisite for a just society stems from a scholastic casuistry which relies on a certain unyielding theological order. The call for an uncompromising abortion criminalization ignores the vagaries of a fallen world.
re: Jordan [November 6, 2012 5:26 am]
“Few would argue that a family with both parents present and active in their children’s lives greatly reduces abortion.”
Might better read
“Most would argue that both parents present and active in their children’s lives greatly reduces abortion.”
Pardon the neurological misfire.
Mark – all those “complex sets of factors” are consequences of industrialization itself. The industrial revolution was the first time in human history that people were not routinely having sex and raising children more or less from the moment their bodies were ready for it. Romeo and Juliet were barely into their teens, remember. This was a direct result of industrialization: people suddenly needed to be highly educated in order to run the machines to make the industrial goods, and even more educated than that to design the machines themselves, do logistical planning, keep the books and so on – and as technology has become more complex and specialized, the need for education has only increased. Not getting an education pretty much means a life of desperate poverty, and being treated as the lowest caste in society, especially in America, which of the western nations is by far the most merciless with its poor.
Doing things on an industrial scale also obliterates community, and community support is essential to abortion prevention.
I’m realizing that this is becoming a post in its own right, so I’ll quit here and just say, watch for a new post in the next few days.
@Mark VA, Again I must note the irony displayed in the comment “you insist on an ideal outcome be produced,,,, It doesn’t work like that in real life” as the conservative position has been rather absolute in its insistence on the competence of the governing authorities in this matter which is indicative of an oppressive and authoritarian policy however you may wish to characterize the government.
You have a very odd understanding of what real life political oppression and authoritarianism are. It certainly doesn’t sound as if it is based on any experience of the thing itself.
Happy sailing, Trellis.
Then again Mark. perhaps you are oppressed with a mindset so imbued with authoritarianism that you couldn’t possibly recognize when you speak in its defense. Rather odd the odd calling they see odd odd.
I would agree with the comments regarding the Republican’s duplicitous nature regarding abortion. as was pointed out, even when they theoretically had tha ability to do so, they have not on a national level advanced much serious legislation to disrupt or end it. My cynical opinion is that it remains a consistant base of support for the party…each election year they can whip up support and donations by talking about abortion and overturning Roe V. Wade….which would require either the supreme court overturning it or a constitutional amendment, correct? So it is in essence, an ongoing non-issue in terms of voting. Which has more relevance…a candidates stand on abortion, which they will not have the power to overturn, or their stand on dropping missles from unmanned drones that kill innocent kids etc as is so aptly pointed out in the thread “Don’t choose Evil”