On Reducing Abortion (w Atheist Pro-Lifer)

On Reducing Abortion (w Atheist Pro-Lifer) April 7, 2017

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Image by “Clker-Free-Vector-Images” (4-18-12) [Pixabay / CC0 public domain]

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Jon Curry is an atheist friend and very nice guy, whom I know in real life in the metro Detroit area. His wife even teaches my daughter in a homeschooling cooperative. His words will be in blue.

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If pro-life Republicans really care about women it’s not easy to see it. I noticed Trump was going to remove the maternity care requirements for health insurance providers as part of his Obama Care roll back. It’s basically a means of sharing the burden a bit. If only women within a certain age range need to acquire the care the cost is concentrated on them and it becomes more financially burdensome. So more poorer women would be likely to purchase a policy that lacks maternity care. If they end up getting pregnant these are the kind of women most likely to get an abortion. If you’re pro-life and you care about women don’t you stand up and say something? Criticize Trump a bit on this? I didn’t see any criticism from people I regard as the most vocal pro-lifers, despite this policy which would be sure to increase the demand for abortion.

There’s more to being pro-life than just banning abortion or limiting access to abortion. The other side of it is to make the choice of life easier on a pregnant woman. Maternity care is part of that. Paid maternity leave is another. Universal health care would help. A lot of women feel they need to have a full time job in order to have health care. So when they get pregnant they might believe this threatens their career, which is a threat to their access to health care. If we had universal health care there is no fear in this regard and these women might just choose life. These are ways to help reduce the number of abortions, but they don’t align with the Republican agenda of tax cuts for the rich. How often do the Trump fans bring this stuff up? Not often if ever. So what should we conclude about the priorities here? Is abortion of primary importance or is it really towing the Republican line?

Thanks for the lecture. You tell me nothing I haven’t known in the 35 years I have been pro-life.

It’s not about whether you are aware of this or not. It’s about whether you and people like you (i.e. the most vocal critics of abortion) criticize a Republican when he takes action that makes abortion more likely. Have you criticized Trump for this and I have missed it?

I haven’t followed the fine details of all that. The GOP debate on health care lasted all of 18 days. Now there will be some new plan, so we’ll have to see the details.

Trump has already said that he’d like to see everyone covered. So do I. That’s been my position since time immemorial.

Trump is long on record favoring Ivanka’s proposal for maternity leave: “a childcare tax credit and six weeks of maternity leave”: according to a CNN article.

If Obama — like all singularly compassionate, oh-so-loving liberals — cared so much for every living creature (excepting the preborn) such leave would already have been enacted, wouldn’t it? But somehow it is left for a Republican President to do.

The article notes that this would be part of the tax reform plan which is on the current agenda in Congress.

A good economy and availability of jobs help lower abortion, too, according to the liberal outlook of “more money, less abortion” (which is probably true for the most part). Trump is creating jobs by the tens of thousands.

Maternity care of all sorts for women in problem pregnancies is already available for free through crisis pregnancy centers: of which there are more than abortion death mills, and often supported by the government.

Full pregnancy and childbirth coverage for poorer women was already in place through Medicaid. My wife had all four of our children that way (and she had problem pregnancies and serious postpartum depression). We didn’t pay one red cent.

So once again, where’s the beef? He’s already in favor of what even you and I agree with.

Dave, how easy would it be to say that while you generally like Trump you’re not thrilled with his decision to remove the maternity care requirement from health care plans as this would lead to more abortion, and you are pro-life? I don’t think we should be disagreeing on this.

This has nothing to do with Obama not getting paid maternity leave or Trump claiming he supports such a thing (I doubt he means it, but I hope he proves me wrong as this is another strong pro-life move). This has nothing to do with the fact that your wife didn’t pay maternity costs. It can be true for your lower income level and untrue for middle class income levels. This still will push some middle class women over into the decision of an abortion.

I do not believe you when you say maternity care is free at crisis pregnancy centers. The hospital bill for my son was $15K, and that was 17 years ago. It was paid by my insurance provider. You’re telling me if an ordinary middle class person comes into a crisis pregnancy center and asks them to cover their maternity expenses they will do it? I don’t believe it.

Where’s the beef? Pro-life people should have a beef with policies that lead to more abortion. Under Obama Care everyone has to have insurance and that insurance must include maternity care. There are a lot of women out there not even thinking about their chances of getting pregnant. Under Obama Care if they get pregnant unexpectedly they would discover that they are covered. That’s a huge relief. Relief that will dissuade many women from getting abortion. Financial suffering is a huge factor in the choice to get an abortion as any survey on the reasons for abortion will tell you. I gotta think a person that regards abortion as a priority issue will agree with me and a person that thinks carrying water for the Republican party is a bigger priority won’t object. Where do you stand?

I like maternity care and maternity leave and universal coverage. If people have the money to pay for these things, then it is arguable that they should (which is a separate issue). Health care ought to be affordable.

I don’t agree all down the line that all these things that supposedly cause more abortion, do. Abortion flows primarily from the presumption that it is morally permissible to kill one’s preborn child. That idea is present prior to economic considerations. In other words, the poorer pro-life woman will not commit this act unless driven to it by extreme duress and/or coercion of self-interested pro-abort parties around her.

Of course I would likely disagree on some particulars of a future Trump Care or Ryan Care. That’s the reality of politics and people coming together with a reasonable compromise. No party gets everything they want in these democratic / legislative processes.

If I disagree with something Trump or anyone else believes, I have no problem saying so. It’s a non-issue.

In my experience arguing I’ve come to the conclusion that for most people their beliefs and logic follow their desires. The apologist in you thinks in terms of decisions flowing from logical principles. The decision to have an abortion flows from the logic that it is acceptable to kill a pre-born child. I believe the opposite. People make a decision often based on self-interest. What is best for me in my situation? That includes finances, relationships, and other factors. After that decision is made the moral logic fills the gap. If they choose an abortion the moral justifications enter to support the decision they have made. It’s just a clump of cells. If they choose life then this leaves the possibility they will conclude that what is inside them is more than that.

I’m sure you’ve argued with young earth Christians. You can hardly think of an issue that’s more open and shut based on the evidence. I have to say I’ve never seen a young earth creationist turned based on argumentation. If people won’t turn for such an obvious error why would they turn for something less obvious? People hardly care about the evidence. I don’t think it’s good for nothing, but it barely registers as compared to preferences.

So in my view if you really care about abortion you look at it from this perspective. How do I make the choice of life more appealing to a would-be mother? This to me is a far more effective method. To argue based on science, genetics, logic. It’s almost a waste of time. You’re not wrong, but you’re just not changing the minds of many people. If however you help a woman and get her to a position where the choice of life is less burdensome you not only save the baby, you could see a person that maybe had no firm opinion on the abortion issue now come to be a pro-life person. They come to accept the arguments after the conclusion comes to align with their preferred belief. If their preferred belief is that abortion is fine (it’s preferred for financial reasons) they decide to have an abortion, most likely they will accept the rationalizations for abortion for the rest of their lives and they will not turn based on future arguments that you expose them to.

That’s why I think the maternity care issue is important to abortion.

It’s a proven fact that people convert on the spot by being shown ultrasounds. That’s why the pro-aborts are so vehemently opposed to them. They know what happens.

They say it is “based on emotions” (just as with pictures). That gets back to non-rational elements that you highlight (making a decent argument). It’s normal to emotionally react to a picture of a preborn human being (esp. one that was slaughtered) and a moving ultrasound. It’s tough to pretend it’s not human then.

I was talking strictly about presuppositions and how they affect our actions. This can be quite unconscious. If one starts with sexual revolution premises, one arrives at abortion:

1) one must have unlimited freedom to have sex.

2) If a baby results from this free sex, it’s owned by the mother anyway, and so she has a right to kill the child. (or, alternatively, “it’s not a person yet because of lack of viability or being a part of the mother’s body” [biologically and genetically untrue] or what-not).

That’s a whole progression of thought that one has to arrive at. It’s the “way down deep” presuppositions: what philosopher Michael Polanyi called “tacit knowledge”. Christianity (the traditional real thing) goes totally against this. Even the pagan Hippocrates also did (which I once mentioned in one of my rescue court cases, before being sentenced to a week in the slammer).

One has to in effect reject many key tenets of traditional morality (which I would also argue are inherent in human souls) and accept secular premises to arrive at the pro-death position. Relentlessly secularizing culture and society is right along with that tendency, and so it became widespread. People wanted free sex. Once traditional morality (and Christianity in our own society) were rejected, legal and widespread abortion was absolutely inevitable, as a result. Contraception was the intermediary step, as I have written about. Homosexual “marriage” was also inevitable, since it is the ultimate non-procreative outlook on sex (procreation not even being possible).

What you say is also true (environment, hardships, etc.). I just think it is relatively less of a factor than you do. I’m right with you about improving conditions.

It remains true, however, that bad conditions, which have always been with us, did not cause millions and now billions of abortions, till it became sanctioned by society and made legal. Then they happened. The sanction of law and the pseudo-veneer of “respectability” had to occur first.

That’s why the “environmental” argument only goes so far, and I don’t accept it to the degree that you do.

“most people their beliefs and logic follow their desires”

Absolutely. I’ve said that for over 40 years. There is that saying, “the heart convinced against its will retains its original beliefs still.” You’re an atheist because you desired to be one: not because of reason. :-) OOOH!

I’ve also consistently maintained for many years that abortion would not go away simply upon a legal reversal. It will go due to a massive spiritual revival. People have to have a desire for it to go away, and to not get one, as you say, and that comes from a change of heart, which goes back to societal and personal revival.

I was different (you’re also right about that). I saw the facts of fetal development and learned what exactly was being killed in the womb, and immediately became pro-life. I considered it perfectly self-evident. Before that I was simply ignorant about it (having bought the “clump of cells” bullcrap).

I didn’t “desire” to become either an evangelical or a Catholic, but moral theology, internal factors, and facts and reasoning led me into both. I followed the facts (as I could best determine them).

But I readily agree that for most people that is not the case.

This has been a rare good discussion between us! I think you’ve brought up some really good points. I think we mainly disagree on relative emphasis or causality with regard to various factors having to do with abortion.

So you agree that these environmental factors play some role in the decision a woman might make with regard to abortion. Maybe not huge, but some. So it would seem that for some women that are on the edge this could be the difference. What Trump was proposing would have ended some lives. It would have led to more abortions, though maybe not a lot.

Based on that is it fair to say you object to Trump’s proposal? Because I still haven’t quite seen you say that. You say it’s easy for you to express disagreement with Trump. I’m just trying to see if I can tease that out of you. Can you criticize Trump on this?

If he’s wrong, of course. As I said, I didn’t study it. I’m too busy writing. I have said what I favor, and it’s very similar to what you believe. How it is financed (and specifically for whom) is a matter where honest people can disagree. In any event, now it’ll be a different proposal for health care.

Bottom line: abortion rates are lowering because of moral legal restrictions and things like more education about chastity. The younger generation is becoming more pro-life. Perhaps growing up with the knowledge that one’s parents could have killed one before they ever saw the light of day does something profound to the psyche.

That goes back to the underlying presuppositions, since there is suffering and poverty and lots of problems, just as there always have been (yet the rates are lowering). Ultimately, legal abortion (like slavery, institutional racism, sexism, and other huge systemic evils of the past) will only end due to massive societal revival.

If you want to analyze and accept something like that from an atheist / secularist / sociological view, minus God and religion, you could hold that it will be as a result of a change of heart on a wide scale, for various reasons, leading towards a more pro-life society: a society that is once more rational, compassionate, life-affirming, sane, and not barbaric, heartless, and anti-scientific.

We don’t kill the most helpless among us, etc. That intrinsic understanding of justice and virtue was amazingly lost, but we can get it back. It’ll just take a long time.

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