Civil Dialogue with a Humanist on Abortion

Civil Dialogue with a Humanist on Abortion February 7, 2016


Babies don’t magically appear out of nowhere; from a stork or something. There is actually a causal chain, and the decision to engage in sex also entails a responsibility for a possible new person being conceived. Photograph by “macadam13” [public domain / Pixabay]

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This occurred in the combox of my post, Ten Reasons Why Pro-Lifers Vote for Pro-Aborts. RhiForest appears to be either a humanist or agnostic or atheist, from some of his observations about religion, but I don’t know for sure. All of his words from the thread (in blue) are here.

The very existence of this dialogue again puts to the lie the outrageous, groundless claims of several atheists, that I ban anyone who disagrees with me. Not only is this untrue; it’s also a fact that I even broadcast the words of those who disagree with me more widely in dialogues like this. I ban precisely for the reasons I openly provide in my discussion policy (linked to permanently at the top of my blog): for insults and inveterate trolling. RhiForest has done neither thing (note the word “civil” in the title), so despite the fact that I couldn’t disagree with him any more than I do, he’s still here on my blog and is perfectly free to continue to comment as he wishes.

With others in the same thread, it was different. One, for example, called me a “Neanderthal pig” and was promptly banned. Obviously, then, it’s not mere “disagreement” at all that brings about a ban, but rather, inability to engage in a civil, rational, amiable, constructive dialogue: particularly when insults and slanderous remarks are present. 

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This is another article that I do feel compelled to comment on. It may not follow exactly from what is being discussed, but does fall under the abortion issue regardless.

Before I begin, one request. The use of the phrase “pro-aborts” is one of those inaccurate terms designed to evoke an emotion rather than describe the position. The correct term is pro-choice. To use the term pro-aborts gives your opponents equal justification to use the phrase “forced-birther.” I think you will reject such a label, so, for the sake of constructive conversation, I request all refrain from using custom names created by opposition. (If this article was created only to speak to others already of like mind, then please ignore this and disregard the remaining comment)

I will start by saying I am a 2 issue voter. Is the individual pro-choice and do they respect the first amendment? As a pro-choice, I do not want women to have an abortion, but I also acknowledge that people have a right to control their own bodies and who/what uses them. This is basically my position without going hyper-nuanced. To be honest, for the sake of the women in my family, I am terrified of what will happen if Roe vs Wade is overturned. That being said, I have tried to think of a good way to ask these next questions, but everything I think of will either come out as a “gotcha” or I can already think of the stereotypical answer I will get that I can easily refute. Regardless, here is my best attempt with a little context.

My main question basically boils down to “what next”? Say you win, women who become pregnant now must carry to term except in situations of high risk. This carries with it a host of problems so numerous I could type for hours and many of which I think you have have likely encountered already within this debate circle. Those most aggressively fighting against abortion are also weaving their own religion into it as solutions to these problems. Ironically these solutions, outside of areas where their religion has absolute control, end up backfiring to the point where they increase the need for abortion. I fear I have now gone into to much rambling so I will end with my question, broad it may be.

In a secular, pluralistic society where you cannot force people to adhere to the tenants of a religion, do you know of anyone who has a plan to solve the myriad of problems outlawing Roe vs Wade will create?

Also, a scenario question for “fun” (after all, what kind of abortion discussion would it be without these spammed everywhere):

A women you do not know is pregnant. Her risks of carrying to term is as minimal as possible. It is very early in the pregnancy (i.e. not showing yet). She absolutely does not want to remain pregnant. Her mind is made up (you have tried everything you can to convince her, but she will not budge). You have complete control. With a word you can allow her or prevent her from getting an abortion. Do you give permission?

I do appreciate your taking the time to comment, even though we completely disagree.

I don’t buy the terminology game. “Choice” in and of itself means nothing, unless we know what the choice is for. “Pro-choice” in this instance is in favor of legal abortion. The “pro-choicer” wants legal abortion (whether they do the usual bit about “personally opposed” or not). The pro-lifer does not. And of course the abortion crowd often refuses to call us pro-lifers. We have to be “anti-abortion.”

Very well, then, if we are “anti-abortion” (which is quite accurate), then our opponents are “pro-abortion”, and that’s what I call them. The “choice” involves legal sanction of the murder of human beings, who are what they are from conception, based on DNA, with a heartbeat at 18 days and brain waves at six weeks (the last two have traditionally been used to determine death; thus they also apply to the same person in the early stages).

“I also acknowledge that people have a right to control their own bodies and who/what uses them.”

The child is not part of her body. It has separate DNA. If the child is a boy then if he is “part of her body” then women have a penis. This whole nonsense is anti-science all the way. It perverts the very definition of “person” and “human being.”

“What next”? Well, we help women who are in problem pregnancies with the thousands of crisis pregnancy centers that are in existence now, and the Christian charities and other charities, like all the state-run groups. These all exist now. Then if the woman thinks she can’t handle the responsibility of a baby, there is adoption, with millions waiting to adopt. That’s what we used to do before we became so ruthless and bloodthirsty as a society and decided to murder over a million children a year, rather than let them live in a loving adoptive family.

Because the abortion forces prior to 1973 massively lied (exponentially) about how many “coat hanger abortions” there actually were, that’s what everyone has in their minds if abortion becomes illegal. But it was a myth in the first place. There were very few. Suicides are relatively rare, too (though as society continues to reject Christianity they — along with all the other rising social problems — will continue increasing), so is the solution to that also “make it safe and legal” and start injecting people?

We simply make women aware that all their needs through pregnancy will be met, at no cost to them (this is how the CPCs operate).

I don’t think legal abortion will ever end, anyway, without a huge societal religious revival. I expect to be an old man or dead when that arrives (I’m 57). When it finally comes to an end and the holocaust stops, and we mop up all the blood that is up to the horse’s bridle by now, the society will have become pro-life due to the revival that took place and the dying of the generation that was so rabidly pro-abort. So it will proceed smoothly by the will of the people, with the remaining pro-abort stragglers protesting till their own lives (that their mothers all graciously granted to them) come to an end.

It’s like Moses in the wilderness: the entire generation had to die out before progress could be made, and they could enter the promised land. So the baby boomers will likely have to die out. Younger people are already trending heavily pro-life, so there is real hope for the future. They get it. They know that their parents could have killed them and that they wouldn’t be alive at all. It ain’t rocket science. Every person who breathes is an argument for pro-life.

Pro-life doesn’t have to be “religious” at all. I rarely argue it using the Bible, though I am quite able to if a person wants to argue it with the Bible in mind. As I said in court at one of my trials for being in a rescue and saving lives, the pagan Greek father of medicine Hippocrates, included pro-life ethics in his famous Oath. It’s not a Christian issue; it’s a basic human rights issue, just as slavery was, or the outrages of the genocide of the Native Americans, or the Nazi Holocaust or Stalin’s starving of ten million Ukrainians in the 1930s (while liberals were praising him [“Uncle Joe”] to the skies), or the ISIS massacres today.

Abortion is always wrong; it’s murder, so of course I wouldn’t allow it if I had “control” over this situation. “Hard cases” were what were used to bring us widespread abortion, up to nine months, and they are still the stock-in-trade of pro-abortion arguments today, as you amply demonstrate. The law ought to be mainly about what happens most of the time, not about the tiny percentages of exceptions to the rule. You guys talk about these 1% scenarios and then use that as a pretext to kill any child a mother wants to kill, throughout the entire term.

That makes no sense, but then very little in the pro-abortion arguments do. It’s both logical and ethical madness.

My comment about titles is merely to maintain civility. Each side knows what the others side title already means, they just distort the meaning. Choice does not merely refer to the right to a legal abortion, it refers to the right to chose who controls ones own body. See the violinist analogy.

“The child is not part of her body. It has separate DNA….who are what they are from conception, based on DNA, with a heartbeat at 18 days and brain waves at six weeks (the last two have traditionally been used to determine death; thus they also apply to the same person in the early stages).”

What is a human is clear. What is a person is not. There are such a wide variety of factors that determine personhood. To give someone the right to seize control of someone else’s body based on them having DNA, a heartbeat, and brainwaves without any of the other factors is a little…… Besides, my argument does not hinge on personhood at all (though those arguments rooted in it shaky at best). You could show me irrefutable proof the child was 100% aware at 5 minutes after conception and thinking of poetry, and it would still not undermine my argument or position in the slightest. When a women is pregnant (how it occurred has no bearing on the argument either) we have 2 peoples whose rights are now potentially in conflict. If the mother wants to carry the child, beautiful. No conflict. Celebrations! But if the mother does not, now we have to determine if we give the child special rights to say “nope, I now gets to use your body without your consent for the next X months. Have fun” To me, this not only madness, but evil. Carrying a child is one of the most dangerous things a woman can do, even with state of the art modern medicine, and even with a perfect pregnancy it still causes irreversible changes to the woman’s body.

“Then if the woman thinks she can’t handle the responsibility of a baby, there is adoption, with millions waiting to adopt.”

This is by far the MOST irritating pro-life argument. Namely because it does not match reality at all. This begs the question of why are there so many children still waiting to be adopted, and not just ones with problems (though you have to consider them too). There is even the additional problems of many (religious) groups actively denying adoption rights to certain couples who would welcome a child into their home and care for him/her (You know what I am talking about here), holding out instead for what they view as ideal.

I do fear the yo-yo effect myself. But it has determined how I will be voting this election. I want Sanders as president. While I like almost all of his views, he is literally the ONLY candidate who can make the claim “I am a good human being.” However, if Clinton wins the nomination, she has my vote. For the very reasons you outline above. We will be losing justices soon, and a pro-life president will cause harm that will not be able to be changed for decades. Ironically, my mother is very anti-Clinton (she remembers the last time Clinton has power in the White House) but I am extremely confident that I can get her to give Clinton her vote because she is extremely pro-choice, also remembering the time pre-Roe vs Wade. If we get a pro-life president and Roe vs Wade is overturned, The yo-yo effect will begin to swing back as the women begin to realize just what has been done to them. As a human with empathy, I am terrified for the women who would suffer during this swing back, though such a decision will never affect me directly.

Two final notes before I again return to lurker status.

First, the whole “1% scenarios” argument. The pro-life side is just a prone, if not more so, to use 1% scenarios to try and made abortion harder to acquire or change minds. The shock groups who use photos from non-abortions, the use of that one abortion “doctor” who was little more than a murder (I forgot his name), the whole “I regret my abortion” stories, and the stories of complications that occur during abortions, just to name a few. These are also the “1%” blown out of proportion. And just to make it clear I am not pulling a “but the other guys do it too” type argument here, my position does not hinge at all on the “1%” arguments of the pro-choice side. It is based entirely on the right to bodily autonomy.

Second, I do not think there will be the religious revival in the manner you are expecting. Religion will never die, though not for the reasons those religions claim. The internet popped the bubbles religions depended upon. De-conversion stories now abound along with conversion stories. Claims of religions can now be tested outside of those religions. Counter-apologetics are readily available to show the flaws of traditional arguments (as well as to their own rebuttals), both recent and centuries old. And when someone does something terrible in the name of their God, both their action and the response/silence of others who believe in that same God are put on public display. This is very telling. When society does start to shift back to religion, it will be something more akin to humanism rather than Christianity, even if it has taken Christianity’s name. The rise of the nones already gives us a glimmer of this.

So much more I want to say, but yet again I sense we shall have to agree to disagree. You view abortion a murder, full stop. I view forced birth as slavery, full stop. We both views the others views as rooted in propaganda and not facts. We downplay the other sides stories in favor of those told by our side. This subject is extremely polarizing due to the suffering involved. I truly wish there was a middle ground here. I do not want potential life to end, but without an alternative it is by far the lesser of two evils.

I again thank you for making your case calmly, minus insults (at least directly to me), despite the fact that I think your view is outrageous and yes, evil (since you sling that word around, freely). I think what little talking back-and-forth the two sides do on this issue is good, at least as far as it goes.

Abortion itself is so unspeakably evil, that it is clear that it never came about in our society in the first place through any sort of reasoning (let alone moral reasoning), but rather because of the madness that the sexual revolution has brought us. The only “reason” at all that legal abortion is here is because people wanted unlimited sexual freedom with no consequences. Where sex is involved, we know what the possible results could be. When these dehumanized “results” are not wanted, secular and liberal “Christian” society demands the right to eliminate the dehumanized “problem.” Hence, abortion.

That’s why it’s here. It’s not even primarily about bodily autonomy (even in the irrational “my body” mentality sense). It’s about unlimited sexual freedom. If a baby results from our sexual fun, to hell with it: it must be murdered before anyone even knows it’s there. And because a person is murdered, we must pretend that it is not a person at all, because murder, at least, is still unacceptable in our society. This is the devil’s entirely selfish, ruthless approach; the devil’s method; his “diabolical reasoning.” The first thing any revolution does is play with and co-opt words (back to our initial discussion about “pro-choice”), and start telling and spreading as widely as possible, Big Lies.

“if the mother does not, now we have to determine if we give the child special rights to say ‘nope, I now gets to use your body without your consent for the next X months. Have fun’ To me, this not only madness, but evil.”

That’s because you look at it as if a child is a blob of cancer, or poison in her body, and as if she had no responsibility whatever for how it got there.

Once she hops into bed with a man then there is the potential for new life. The responsible, ethical person understands that from the outset. Therefore, if a baby is conceived, there is responsibility for this new life, who is a human being and person from conception (any other supposed time of beginning is nonsensical). That life would never have begun if there hadn’t been a choice to engage in sexual acts. Once those acts are decided upon, it should be understood (in any civilized nation) that a new life begun is the responsibility of the parents.

We despise deadbeat dads because they don’t care for their own blood: their offspring. Yet we honor women who are deadbeat moms when they decided on a dead baby: their own. It’s the ultimate Deadbeat Parenthood: knock them off so there is no further responsibility.

The reductio ad absurdum of your “choice” mentality would be a woman having babies just for the hell of it and aborting them one-by-one: possibly up to 20, 30: just as the ancient Romans would eat, throw up at the vomitorium and go dine again, all for pleasure’s sake.

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