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Monday, March 17, 2008

Life begins...

Abortion is quite the hot-button issue. For obvious reasons: we’re talking about killing babies, right? This isn’t something I (or anyone else, for that matter) take lightly. And for many people, its as much a political issue as it is a moral issue. I want to try to address both sides.

Psalm 139 says that (speaking to God): “you formed me in my mother’s womb.” Scripture, and science, lead me to believe that life begins at conception. When a sperm enters an egg, it releases its nucleus (which joins with the DNA material of the egg), and a zygote is formed. We call this a human embryo. At the 8th week, we call it a fetus. Semantics, semantics… it’s a baby. No matter what term we use, I believe that since its alive, it’s a baby.

Sanctity of life is a huge deal for me. If you read my post on war and the death penalty (“Curiosity, the cat and I”), you know I feel strongly about respecting life. It would be wrong of me to speak so strongly against war, capital punishment, etc., and to not speak out against abortion. As plain as I could say it: I find abortion amoral. It is killing a human. Period.

Now, I’ve heard some very interesting arguments revolving around the moral side of this. Questions are always raised: "What about rape? What about certain types of birth control? What about a woman’s right to decide for herself?" All of these questions are worth addressing, but either way, aborting a fetus is still killing another human. I simply don’t think you can legitimize this procedure. That’s easy for me to throw out there like that not having faced the situations that others have. But I don’t think circumstance can change this.

So how can I, someone so set against abortion, vote for a Democrat that is pro-choice? Right? That’s the question I get asked whenever this is brought up. Let me respond…

First of all, while I’m sure I will end up casting a vote for either Obama or Clinton, I have reservations about both. Obama speaks loudly about change, but wants to expand the military (which means expanded budget and expanded world presence—neither of which I agree with). I think we spend WAY too much on the military as it is. I think the US government’s spending has no real accountability and is out of control—expanding this area of the budget makes no sense to me. Clinton is on the opposite end of the spectrum, but I certainly don’t hold her viewpoints on everything either. My biggest issue with her, though, is that she’s such a polarizing figure. People either love or hate her—even if they have no valid reasons and don’t really take the time to find out who she is and what she stands for. There is no middle ground on Hillary and we need unity within our national politics. (As a side note: I wish John Edwards was still in the mix. Alas, maybe he’ll end up on the VP ticket if we’re lucky…If we were really lucky, Al Gore would join the race and we would have the chance to re-elect him as president.) But either way, I still will vote Democratic. Why? For many reasons…

Tops on the list is that there’s no way I’d cast a vote for the pro-war McCain. I’ve heard him called a “warmonger” by many people, and I’m inclined to agree. If he gets to the Oval Office, I see four years ahead that look eerily similar to the past four, only worse.

For thirty years, there has been constant shouting from the pro-life right/conservatives/etc about how this needs to change. But in 20 years worth of republican presidents out of the past 30, what have they changed? (There were just as many abortions in 1995 under Bill than there were in 2005 under W.) What I mean is, I don’t think this is simply a “Republicans are pro-life while Democrats are pro-choice” thing. Its much bigger than that. This isn’t a bi-partisan issue. I want to put a candidate in office who can change the social climate nation wide. I want someone to give people in this nation hope for a better life. I want someone who can fight poverty. I want someone who can do something about national healthcare. I don’t think that simply overturning Roe v. Wade would end abortion—they would illegally continue regardless. I know that if someone can change the social and economic conditions in America, give people viable options, give the adoption process a face-lift... abortion rates would go down. That’s a start…

I have a lot of friends who have communicated this to me: I don’t think the Republicans have anything to offer this presidential race, but I cannot vote for a pro-choice candidate. I can understand that. But at the same time, we need to look at the bigger picture. I have a lot of Democratic friends who are so disenchanted with the Republican/Right-wing that they want nothing to do with it—and that doesn’t leave too many options. (I equate that to people like myself who have issues with the American church. Some people see it as so screwed up, and don’t know what to do about it, so they leave. I have hope for change, and am working towards that from within the walls, but am very frustrated still.) A lot of people who align themselves with the left just don’t see the right as having anything to offer the world at large. I was reading a blog the other day in which someone asked: “How can someone be so pro-life and so ignorant of the bigger issues like the environment, healthcare, war, and oil?” Not everything is black and white. Not everything is left and right. Not everything makes sense in these situations. Democrat, Republican, Independent, whatever… we’ve got to look at the bigger picture and not make this into a party-line issue.

So while I’ll vote for a Democratic candidate on election day, I will continue to stand against abortion and do what I can to change things. It wouldn’t be right to speak so loudly in defense of the poor, the marginalized, and the suffering only to ignore the millions killed worldwide by abortion. This is not an easy issue to deal with it—its not even an easy issue to discuss… and it never will be. But I can’t say it enough, we got to look at the big picture of change. We’ve got to do something about the current state of our world.

Hope that makes some sense...

26 comments:

JD said...

"The real issue for us as American Christians is not just how we vote on Nov. 2nd but how we also vote on Nov. 3rd and Nov 4th, etc... What people loved about Mother Theresa wasn’t that she wore a t-shirt opposing abortion, but because when a woman said she didn’t want to have her baby, she said, ‘You can give the baby to me.’"

Shane Claiborne

johnperry said...

Good post. I especially agree considering adoption worked out great for me. I like being alive, it's way better than being killed. Anyway, gotta go enjoy my life some more, see ya.

josh howerton said...

Lol - I just laughed out loud at johnperry's response. "Adoption worked out great for me... I like being alive." I can't wait to tell that to my wife... awesome.

I still don't get it though, JD. I TOTALLY agree about McCain not having much a reserve at all about war, which is awful... but ten times the amount of unborn children were aborted this year (1.4 million) than have died in the war in Iraq since it started. I hate the war in Iraq, but TEN TIMES that many innocent deaths every year to abortion!?

I haven't understood how anyone can be all up in arms about a war that's killed 90,000 people (a horrible thing) but that stopped a cultural genocide (probably a good thing... again, see johnperry), but be comfortable voting for the continuing slaughter of one a half million children every year.

It might not be, but it comes off as the result of caring more about not being aligned with the "religious right" than the sanctity of life.

JD said...

I thought I made it clear that I'm not voting to continue supporting abortion. By voting for a candidate that will do something about America's socio-economic situations, I'm voting to decrease abortion. Like I said, simply overturning Roe v Wade isn't going to end abortion. The problem is much bigger than that!

josh howerton said...

PS - What if in the 1950's, it had been legal to kill African-Americans; would you vote for a political candidate that made this "right" a linchpin of their campaign because "even if it wasn't legal, it would happen anyways"?

Tim said...

I do believe in war and the idea of "justly" taking lives. I also understand a woman's choice to have an abortion. If my wife was raped and got pregnant, I would definitely rid the world of DNA that has the capacity to RAPE. I would proceed to take the rapist's life if possible without consequence on earth, both just. Mainly I believe that we are all free to make choices for ourselves and these choices will be judged only one time that is important.
On the subject of killing; Although, I'm all for the purification of our environment I don't believe in disrupting a natural life cycle on our earth to do so. This includes becoming a vegan and so on.
I think you’re right about the presidential candidates available to us. When you start giving marks to candidates for their good policies vs. their bad, there are a lot more chalk lines on the side of the Democratic Party. While I do believe in war, I don't believe in perpetual conflict and that is what we will have per the GOP candidate. It's time to make like a Catholic so we can protect our home from home, not from Iraq.


Shalom

Tim said...

Josh,

If it comes down to it, are you going to base your vote on Roe v Wade only?

I belive W is against abortion, and 1.4 million children were aborted in a year, the economy is in turmoil, unemployment in on the rise, and we are in a war that is draining our country on every level.

To think the best thing is to vote in a person with the same beliefs and policy is the right thing for our country or the rest of the world is fundamentalist bull poopy. Let the economy get worse and watch crime and abortion both rise, but at least the religious right can feel good about their vote to place a pro-life president in the office.

I believe we should put a lot more thought into our votes and not one belief.

Shalom

Sheffield said...

Never dull, eh?

JD said...

Never, Sheffy. Never.

josh howerton said...

Tim - I've really given that a lot of thought, serious thought. But it comes down to voting for the quality of life for some people (economic issues, social security, immigration) or voting so that someone can have it in the first place. It's got to be a higher priority that people are allowed to live at all than that people are provided a better quality of life.

My point in asking the question I asked was that I don't think anyone would vote for a candidate that was running on a campaign to keep it legal to kill adult black people or adult hispanics or homosexuals. If I - and you - truly believe that an unborn child is a human, either I vote against that as my highest priority or I'm not being honest with myself about it.

How would you respond to the question I asked? Would you vote for someone who made a major part of their campaign the "right" to kill black people? John-David? Tim? Sheff?
___________

PS - please never read anger into my responses. I've committed to myself not to even look at a blog if I'm going to respond in anger. Therefore, on a lighter note, Kentucky will beat Marquette in the first round. Tennessee will lose to Butler in the second. Write it down.

JD said...

I would say "no." Obviously. But that's an easy call to make, especially in a theoretical situation like you posed. That's pretty straightforward--I wouldn't elect someone like that. But you seem to think that someone who is pro-choice wants to keep Roe v Wade alive and well. Or that improving the quality of life for all but not outlawing abortions won't change the situation. Neither of which are true.

I couldn't fathom voting for a candidate simply because of one issue. That makes no sense. I understand how huge this is, I really do. Its huge to me. But putting a candidate in office that would screw the country (more than its already been screwed by our current administration) simply because they're pro-life is absurd. BIG PICTURE! BIG PICTURE!

PS-John McCain is pro-choice. So there goes the whole idea of voting for someone because they are pro-life. Obama, Clinton and McCain are all pro-choice. You can read about their stances and voting records here (http://www.ontheissues.org/John_McCain.htm) if you'd like. So that should throw everyone's "I can't vote for Obama or Clinton because they're pro-choice" argument out the window. Who would you vote for in light of this???

josh hussung said...

John David,

On abortion, I totally agree with you. People try to make it sound a lot more ethical with words like "fetus" etc, but when it comes down to it, it is taking innocent human life. As far as the political side of things...I honestly haven't got a clue. On one had, I have a problem with voting for a pro-choice candidate, and on the other hand, I don't really think that pro-life candidates would be able to change things much anyway. So it's tough.

I may have understood Tim, so I was going to ask,
Did you mean by saying "both just" that you would consider it morally acceptable to abort a baby because it had the ability or potential to commit rape? Just curious.

On another note, Laura, my wife, works at a crisis pregnancy center, and the number one thing that changes the minds abortion-minded women is the ultrasound. I remember us seeing Isaac on the ultrasound for the first time. Did he look anything like a human? Nope...looked like a jelly bean. But he had a heartbeat, he was alive then. God is awesome.

Tim said...

Uh oh, spaghetti Os. That fact does throw a monkey wrench into the conservative side. Make note, that as it came closer to the election McCain has changed his mind enough to fit in with his conservative counterparts.
I'd like to look into your thoughts on putting blacks, Hispanics, and homosexuals into your hypothetical situation and not just "any man", but that's your own issue:)
You imply with your question that the democratic candidates are running on the sole idea of killing babies because as a part of their platform they are pro-choice.
Being pro-choice isn't a vote for killing babies and abortion it's a vote for the an individual to be able to make their own moral decisions, which is a pretty nice right. Why don't we put in virginity legislation or imprison fat people for their gluttonous behavior, or maybe even chunk stones when we see a man or woman checking each other out...seem crazy? I know you'll say that murder is a moral decision and that abortion is murder and should be treated as such and that's fine. I don't necessarily support abortion, I support the idea of letting people in bad situations choose. If your wife was raped and became pregenant as a result, based on your beliefs you will keep the baby and that's your decision. It's about choice. The pro-choice candidate isn't saying you must kill the baby.
If the economy gets further out of hand and law enforcement is cut, as it has already been in our county, we all may have more opportunities to make these decisions.
I'm scared for our country and what it might become if it's not turned around. John David makes a perfect point about socio-economics. To think that a great economy will help the few is a wild thought, it trickles down to everyone and creates a better quality of life for everyone and that is why it is necessary to vote on all of the issues. If all the president had control over was whether or not abortion should be legal, I might vote differently, but that's not the case.

If we could kill just the bad blacks, whites, homosexuals, hispanics, asians, etc., I'm in!

Shalom everybody

josh howerton said...

John-David. If 1.4 million adults were being murdered in America based on other people viewing their existence as an inconvenience, I have a feeling that would be the big picture to you.

BfH said...

I don't think the government ought to have any say over the legality of abortion, shy of policing it the same way that open-heart surgery is policed (making sure that medical procedures are as safe as possible).

I'm not pro-abortion, at all, but, as seems to be the case with most issues brought to light on this blog, I think life choices should be left to the person living the life.

JD said...

Howie, I agree. I'm just saying the picture is much bigger than simply voting for a pro-life candidate. Which, by the way, there isn't one in this race at this point. They're all pro-choice.

Regardless, my whole point in this whole thing is: do you really think that overturning Roe vs Wade and making abortion illegal would change much of anything???

josh howerton said...

(I accidentally said the exact opposite of what I meant to say and so I deleted my previous comment... because I'm an idiot) This is what I meant to say:

"Yes, I do and don't see how anyone would expect it not to significantly diminish. We're not China.

I really don't think that matters much though. Killing a million and a half people - that's like legally slaughtering the entire state of Maine every year. Whether it changes things or not (which is will), an ideology that supports this is so awful I can't fathom it.

I also don't think that any party/nation/person that supports legalized abortion has any moral ground to stand on in order to critique other injustice in the world.

Why did you answer the way that you did to my "hypothetical" but not to the current situation? It's the same situation."

johnperry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
johnperry said...

She was 17.

BfH said...

I like your perspective, John. You really put things into context.

Anonymous said...

John well said. It comes down to the great quote by Mother Theresa. John David touched most of her quote, but here is all of it. I especially like the end.

"If you know of a woman who does not want her child and wishes to abort, try to convince her to bring that child to me. I will love them and will see in them a sign of God’s love." Mother Theresa, upon being granted the Peace Nobel Prize (Oslo, December 10th, 1979).

If I continue to be against the killing of innocents, whether a terrorist needing love, an iraqi fearing his life,or a baby needing life. I have to start acting on those convictions.

Collin

Jeremiah said...

"Being pro-choice isn't a vote for killing babies and abortion it's a vote for the an individual to be able to make their own moral decision."

One of the problems of pro-choice supporters is not simply that they support the right for women to choose. They also aggressively vote for the government to finance abortions. Supporting (financing) abortion and supporting the right to abortion are different things, but its clear that 'pro-choice' is a deceiving word in that it supporters actually encourage that the government should support (finance) abortions.

Brittany said...

All I am going to say about all of this is that I am the only woman that has made a comment on here. All you men say things about it as if it would be your decision anyway. While I am defintely pro-life, I just find it amusing that it is all men commenting as if they are the ones carrying a baby. That's all. No arguing or anything, just tht I find it interesting.

JD said...

So Jeremiah, so you're saying ALL pro-choice individuals in America "aggressively" support the government funding abortions?

Jeremiah said...

I'm sure not all pro-choice voters support the public funding of abortions, likewise nor do all aggressively support it. But congressmen who claim pro-choice status are either afraid to oppose seemingly pro-choice legislation or consistently vote for the government funding of abortions.
So when you vote for a candidate that is pro-choice you are not just voting for a candidate that believes that women should have the choice, but they also believe that the government should assist (financially) women in having an abortion. There is a big difference.
Certainly, Senators Hilary and Obama support the government funding of abortions because they support socialized health care, which will include abortions.

Tim said...

I'm just really glad we finally got a woman's detailed perspective. Thanks for the thought provoking comment B, that cleared everything up!