The Argument

Recently, I answered a challenge from an acquaintance to provide a non-religious argument that provides a rationale for limiting abortion.  Always up for a challenge and hyper-competitive, I got my legal mind rolling.

Back in college, I was at one point a legal clerk, a legal assistant (pseudo paralegal), and eventually the accounts receivables manager for a small law firm in town.  The benefit of such a firm was that my role in the firm was not just limited to filing papers, sending bills, collecting on delinquent customers, and drafting letters.  I actually did legal research and helped formulate pleadings.  So I am not a stranger to the ballet that is jurisprudence.

In light of the Presidential debate on social issues tomorrow night, let’s delve into this.

If someone were to stab a woman in the belly outside of an abortion clinic (before she went inside to have an abortion) and she survived but the baby didn’t, he would be charged and convicted of murder in 38 states. So is it murder or not? Civil law acknowledges that life within the womb, when terminated (by someone other than the mother), is murder. Why is it different when it’s the mother? The life within the womb is forced to take a back seat in that case simply because it is dependent on the mother for survival. Is this not a legal paradox that conveys a superceding right to the mother over anyone else?

The counter to that statement was that the mother had not gone through the abortion yet and could have backed out.  There is merit to that statement, but let’s expand the legal paradox a bit more.

The child must have some sort of legal protection which merits the prosecution and ultimately the conviction due to an attack from outside regardless of the mother’s intent. Opponents of fetal homicide laws, which I linked to above, argue that those same laws could endanger abortion as a right.  The end result is the same in both situations where the child is concerned, yes? Pro-abortionists argue that the laws are a slippery slope and could lead to severe restrictions or prohibition of abortion.

Let’s embrace the slippery slope.  If it’s not murder when the mother is the decider (I know it’s not a word, but it works in this case) then what does the gestational state matter?

Let’s say at one year the mother decides that they no longer want the responsibility of motherhood. They drop their kid off a cliff and go back to being childless (same end result). Why do we equate that last action with murder and abortion, which is effectively the same thing, as an healthcare issue?  This is not a question of morality or religion at all anymore when you view it in this light.  When it is a moral or religious issue, opponents of abortion can be isolated and minimized due to their “dogmatic theology.”  What we have here is an issue of equality before the law.  Is the child, whether it is born yet or not, have equal standing before the law as the mother?

My acquaintance then made the following statement: “Depending on the method used abortion is an operation or administration of drugs to end a pregnancy. Whether or not a separate entity is using her to live her body is still her own. So if a woman does something to her own body which results in what could be considered an abortion then she has every right to do so because it is her own body regardless of another being requiring it to maintain a certain state to survive. This avoids the drop kicked baby cliff problem.  On a more emotional level I feel mid to late term abortions are abhorrent. I think there is a responsibility of the mother to protect the life of the child after a certain point. Perhaps after it can survive outside the womb or maybe once a heart beat/brain is developed… I’m not a doctor and don’t understand such things well enough to make a certain decision one way or another on that.”

Side note: according to a quick internet search, the baby’s heart rate (or “pole”) can be detected as early as 5 to 6 weeks after conception. You’d find many women hard pressed to even know they were pregnant 5 or 6 weeks in beyond a suspicion.

I believe that by splitting hairs between chemical extermination and surgical extermination is the same as saying that putting arsenic in someone’s food is somehow less of a moral wrong than taking their head off with an axe. It’s less “bloody,” but the end result is the same.

They countered “I do understand why you might think I’m “splitting hairs.”  I don’t this “bloody” idea has anything to do with my argument. A person has rights to their own body. Why does a pregnancy suddenly remove these rights from a woman? Do the rights of the unborn child take precedence?”

They do not take precedence, but they must be treated equally if you want to have a fair, just, and legally sound society.

The paradox that you have legally with rights of the mother to her body and the rights of the child are that you have an inequality under the law with the current status quo.  So the paradox in this issue is that your rights only go so far until they limit the rights of someone else. If the fetus has legal protection in the case of a murder, they have been acknowledged as having the right to life, so the mother’s right to her body only can go so far as to not intervene on the fetus’ right to life if we acknowledge equality under the law.

So what is equality before the law?

Webster’s New World Law Dictionary defines the concept.

The doctrine that all persons, regardless of wealth, social status, or the political power wielded by them, are to be treated the same before the law.

So, the crux of the issue is personhood.  When is the fetus a person entitled to legal protection?

Biologically, life is defined from the cellular level up.  Between one and two weeks from conception, the blastocyst will adhere to the uterine wall and begin receiving oxygen and nutrients that allow it to grow and develop into an embryo.  However, at just three days post-conception, the cellular organization of the blastocyst is classified as an human organism by science (How Should We Define Life and Personhood?).

So, how can we reduce personhood to a definition that all accept?

When considering the criteria for personhood, we would do well to ponder if we should reduce personhood to a set of capacities or a biological marker. Should moral significance come from who we are or from the functional capabilities we express at a given moment of our existence (How Should We Define Life and Personhood?)?

Can we remove religion from the abortion debate and maintain an ethical system grounded in the value of life?

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart.

Jeremiah 1:5

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Luke 12:7

The Mob

Much will be made in the coming few months of the will of the majority.  (Expect much hay to be made about the Electoral College and the popular vote if Romney takes the most Electoral College votes, but comes away on the short side popularly).

Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies?  For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.”

Saint Augustine

In Morality, I wrote about moral populism.  I described it as mob rule at it’s core.  Now imagine moral populists taking the reigns of government and enacting laws based on the mindset of “majority rules.”  I went on to explain how the majority’s will does not make anything good, or morally right, it just makes it popular.

Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
   and clever in their own sight.

Isaiah 5:20-21

As Christians, what should our stand be when faced with an unjust law?  Should we tolerate it as mere temporal folly?  Should we not speak up about the law if it does not effect us?

If society deems evil to be good, should we do nothing?  How much evil should be tolerated regardless of how popular?  Where do you draw the line?  If the culture deems evil to be acceptable and normal, how should we act?

Darkness looms and doubts seed your thoughts:

“What can you, a single person, do against the will of the mob?”

“We live in a democracy and it is the will of the majority.”

It even calls scripture to mind when it tries to force evil down your throat in the form of an unjust law by quoting scripture.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Romans 13: 1-2

Despite the doubts, despite the popularity of whatever law, there are some that are unjust at their core.  These laws would have you sacrifice your core beliefs, your principles, and ultimately force you stand and choose between obedience to Christ or obedience to men.  I pray that all Christians have the resoluteness to stand together and say “ENOUGH.  We will not bend.”

Let the world threaten you with fines, penalties, ridicule, and shame.  They will drag you through the mud and try to convince you of how wrong and regressive you are.  They will try to minimize you with their attacks, but each one that you resist successfully will strengthen you against them.   They may even try to imprison you.  They may even try to kill you.

Regardless of how common the beliefs are, the goodness of God is founded in pure righteousness and if the fight you find yourself in is one where you are rooted in the righteousness of God and His Word, then you will win the day.  They may destroy your earthly body, but in the words of Obi Wan Kenobi, “If you strike me down I will become more powerful than you can imagine.”

Stand against the mob and tell them “No. You move.”

One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God… Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Romans 12: 2, 9

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 15:19-20

Friendship with the world is enmity to God.

James 4:4

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 1: 5

If sinners entice you, do not consent.

Proverbs 1:10

There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

2 Timothy 3:1-4

Will you follow the unjust for the sake of keeping the peace on Earth?

Just because the majority wills something does not make it right or just.  To paraphrase St. Augustine, an unjust law is no law at all. I answer to the One above it all, not to men.

The mob can rule itself.

intelNews.org

Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying

LadyRaven's Whisky In A Jar - OH!

Coffee? Tea? Whisky! - Aspirin anyone?

Stately McDaniel Manor

Culture, Politics, Firearms, Education, Literature, Philosophy, Music, And Other Musings

High Heels and Handguns

This princess is armed- The prince can't always be there to rescue you

Sheeple: People unable to think for themselves

Here to help educate the Sheeple before the slaughter

Reality Check

American Patriot's Reality Check

The Firewall

Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it

The Radio Patriot

Because I have so many words...

Eatgrueldog

Where misinformation stops and you are force fed the truth III

Reality Of Christ

Christian, End Time, and Conspiracy News!

DAYLIGHT DISINFECTANT

DAN SANDINI'S NEWS OUTSIDE THE MAINSTREAM

The Longwood Institute

A site dedicated to the appreciation of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness along with the responsibilities these God-given unalienable rights invoke.

Ten Smiths Blog

What does the Declaration of Independence really say?

Deaconmatson's Blog

observations from America

Fighting For Liberty

LEARN FROM HISTORY OR BE DAMNED BY IT

Stiletto Momma

Balancing the high heels of life.

The DiploMad 2.0

All it takes is a spark

WINTERY KNIGHT

...integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square