Friday, August 5, 2011

A Dialogue about Abortion

Little Catholic Bubble: Answering Michelle: I don't think you want all babies aborted

From a favorite blog by Leila Miller a dialogue with a young atheist woman on abortion.:

Answering Michelle: I don't think you want all babies aborted

After my last post, Michelle (a friendly young atheist) left a comment which deserves a whole post in response. Her words are in red, and my comments are in black.

To those saying that the Obama administration views pregnancy as a disease: 

Before you go on, let me just say that it's hard not to conclude this. If fertility/pregnancy is not a disease, disorder, illness or pathology, then why are health insurance companies now forced to provide free contraception and morning-after pills to all? What "disease" is being "cured" or "prevented" if not pregnancy? This should elicit a short medical answer, not a long philosophical one like the one you are about to give….

consider this rough analogy. Most of you have probably seen the show Extreme Home Makeover, where families in need are given a fancy new house (and I think sometimes a car as well), one that even the richest families would probably be lucky to have. 

Yes, I used to love that show! "Bus driver, move that bus!" (Screams, excitement, tears!!) Good times watching with the family. :)

It's a feel-good sort of show, and you're always left with the impression that despite all of their problems, their lives are finally looking up and everything is going to be fine. 

Yes, that's the illusion that "feel good" TV shows leave us with. We Americans like to "feel good", and it sells. Definitely an hour of escapism (and envy!).

But think about the taxes and the maintenance the house will require that they probably can't afford, and how the money spent on the house could probably have better gone towards addressing whatever problem (medical, financial, whatever) was originally plaguing them.

Yes, exactly! Building folks a big house and and providing lots of material things cannot solve the underlying problems that families in crisis face. Thank goodness there are real people in real life who do provide real help, every single day: Catholic Charities, the Societies of St. Vincent de Paul, crisis pregnancy centers, Catholic hospitals and shelters, etc. Real help, real solutions.

Saying that Obama's insistence on contraception means he necessarily considers pregnancy to always be a disease (and babies to always be a punishment) 

Did I say "always"? I don't think I did. There are plenty of babies that Obama does not see as "punishments". And then there are the others. For example: 

Obama thinks these baby girls were worthy of love and life. 
Obama thinks that this this baby girl was not.

He celebrates the "wanted" babies while ardently supporting the legal killing of 53 million other "unwanted" babies. Heck,he even notoriously voted more than once to let born babies die alone and without care should they survive a late-term abortion. (This was no mere academic exercise for him, as he knew from first-hand testimony what was occurring in his own state.)

In the pro-"choice" world, there are plenty of valuable children, worthy of love and life. But there are plenty of children with no value, who are worthy of neither love nor life. 

So, for Obama, I'm guessing that pregnancy is not a disease when it's wanted, and babies are not a punishment when they are wanted.

Wanted = Good
Wanted = Valuable

is the same as saying that I'm heartless for recognizing that getting a big new house is not always the best thing for a family. 

Not the same thing at all. Look...

These are not heartless:

"It is not good for this family to get a big new house."
"It is not good for children to be conceived out of wedlock."
"It is not the best thing for this drug-addicted battered woman to raise a child."

But this *just might* be considered heartless:

"Because this is not a good time for this woman to have a child, the child must die."

See, the "not heartless" statements don't imply or necessitate that someone has to die as a solution to the unfortunate situation. But the "heartless" statement does. Big distinction.

Just as big new houses are, under the right circumstances, a wonderful thing, so are babies.

Michelle, are you really comparing houses to babies?
Catholics don't believe that houses have the same moral standing, rights and dignity as human beings. I hope you can see that distinction.

Say a teenage mother's conservative parents would disown her if she gave birth out of wedlock,

Whoa, wait. Why do you make "conservative" parents the heavy? I know plenty of conservative parents, and I have seen how they react when children come to them with news of an unplanned pregnancy: Many tears, but also love and support for child and grandchild. I also know several liberal mothers who coerced or forced abortion on their pregnant daughters. So, why not just say "parents"? Sorry, but that is a pet peeve, as if conservative parents are heartless meanies while liberal parents are kind and loving. 

ruining all her chances of a healthy, normal life thereafter 

Seriously? Ruining all her chances of a healthynormallife, thereafter? Utterly, totally hopeless? How on earth can one possibly know or predict such an outcome? We can't predict that outcome anymore than we can predict someone being hit by a car tomorrow and being paralyzed for life. And even that scenario wouldn't equate to a "ruined" life. But, okay, let's go with your impossible hypothetical:

- is the baby still a wonderful blessing? 


If the baby's born to a drug addicted mother who can't and won't even provide for the baby's most basic needs?

Yes. Please get the mother help, and if she truly can't care for the child (who already exists!), then it's time to help her with an adoption plan.

If the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother?

Yes. (Ask Becky how she feels about that one, since she's going through it right now.)

I know, it's not a black-and-white moral standpoint, and what constitutes good circumstances for a baby will change from person to person. 

Right, but you're not talking about good circumstances for conception, you're talking about killing a baby. I think Nicole C. got right to the heart of it:
I get so tired of hearing the argument surrounding good and bad circumstances to "have a baby", when what we're really arguing is acceptable circumstances to have an abortion. Please remember, when a woman is pregnant, she already HAS A BABY. As Mark Crutcher would say, "The question is, will she have a live baby or a dead one?" 
So, you see, I think you are confusing two different things.

I get it, Catholics don't like that sort of moral ambiguity. 

Actually, it's more that Catholics "don't like" the willful killing of innocent human beings. What you call "moral ambiguity", I would call "attempting to justifying an immoral act".

Sometimes, "moral ambiguity" = "moral relativism"

But saying that pregnancy is either always a blessing or always a curse, or a baby is always a gift or always a punishment, is silly at best. 

I never once put it in those terms, that liberals think pregnancy is "always a curse" or babies "always a punishment". So, I am not sure where you are getting that? 

However, it's not "silly" to believe that all babies are a blessing. They are. They are all equally valuable, and they areall worthy of love and life. To hold any other position is dangerous -- to say the least.

Please, give us some credit and don't ascribe such simplistic ideas to liberals/pro-choicers/whoever.

I never did ascribe those ideas to you or other pro-"choicers". Like I said, I have no idea where you are getting that. Of course you love and cherish some babies.

If I were to get pregnant at this point in my life, it would undoubtedly be an enormous punishment. 

Who would be punishing you? The baby? And what would the punishment be for? I truly don't even understand this statement. 

At the same time, though, my cousin recently had a baby and I was excited about the baby the moment I heard my cousin was pregnant. 

Because in your mind, the baby had that elusive quality that made him valuable and worthy of love: "Wantedness"

Or was it something else that made the baby worthy of your love? I'm interested.

It's not an "either you love babies or you want them all dead" sort of thing, 

Right, and I never said that, so we are good.

and I'm offended every time someone suggests that liberals think babies are worthless drooling monsters that all should have been aborted.

I'm glad that's never been said to you here, then. Has someone elsewhere said these things to you? That you thinkall babies should be aborted? That's outrageous if so.

I'm on vacation and won't be commenting after this (blame icky Internet Explorer that won't let me post, plus the fact that abortion debates always, always, always turn ugly whenever I get involved). 

It's not exclusive to your involvement, Michelle. Abortion debates necessarily include discussion of the actual act of abortion, which by its very nature is horrifically ugly. The stuff of nightmares, really. So yes, abortion debates are never pretty. We are discussing the willful killing of innocent children, some of whom are shredded in the womb, some of whom are dismembered, and some of whom are burned alive with saline, and some of whom are stabbed in the neck and have their brains sucked out while still living. Most of whom are thrown out as garbage, labeled "medical waste". Ugly, indeed. 

But did you think the reality of abortion could be sugarcoated? I realize that's what the "choice" and "women's rights" euphemisms are aiming for: Pleasantness. Our own atheist commenter MaiZeke has said with confidence, "Abortion involves only one person: the woman."  How it eases the mind to believe this, when it's the "non-person" being extracted and eviscerated. It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and we can sleep well at night, because there is no "person" being killed in an abortion. Just a pregnancy being "terminated".

I hope my points made sense, even if you don't agree. 

Some of them didn't make sense, which is why I wanted to flesh them all out here and give you a chance to respond. Thanks for you willingness to dialogue honestly, and I hope to hear from you after your vacation!

Blessings to you, Michelle! I've always enjoyed our discussions.

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