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March 30, 2016

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People do change their mind about abortion. Some move from pro-choice to pro-life views. But others move from pro-life to pro-choice views. For example, Libby Anne grew up with strong pro-life, anti-abortion views, but later changed her mind. Her post can be found here:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/10/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement.html
I am not posting this to say I agree with her, although she raises points that must be addressed by those who identify at pro-life. But recognize that a change on the issue of abortion is not always in the direction you would wish.

I am now staunchly pro-life but I strongly supported abortion rights for 15 years before changing my mind. My faith conversion did not change my views but it did open me up to listen to the reasons why my church was against abortion and to question my beliefs about abortion.

What changed my views was when I began thinking about what abortion really is, what an unborn baby really is, and the implications of a democratic society allowing the murder of its own children. Before I was pro-life I would tell people that abortion was "a lesser of two evils". It was worse for a woman to have others tell her what to do with her body than "terminate" the "clump of cells" in her body. Notice, the terms I used to whitewash the reality of what abortion was. What I began realizing when my pro-life husband started asking me questions like "When does a baby become a human? When it looks like a human? What about a day before it looks like a human?" was that I did not have good answers to these questions. In fact my answers didn't make sense at all. Once, I began truly answering those questions it was clear to me that abortion was the murder of a human being (who had no rights), not a decision about a woman's body because a baby is a separate human being from his/her mother, and the most horrible evil our society has allowed since slavery. How can a so-called "enlightened" society so openly support the murder of innocents in the name of "women's rights". So, as you can see, just being questioned about my former pro-choice beliefs was enough to change them - drastically and permanently.

Once again I would just remind people that there are more options than just the typical pro-Choice versus pro-Life positions. Most people can readily agree that killing babies is wrong, but the real question is what to do about it. Is passing a law the best tactic? Or is the pro-Life movement's legal effort causing more harm than good? What other tactics might work better? I hope people can think more deeply about these issues, for the sake of the children!

John,

Yes, making murder against the law is the best option. No, trying to make murder illegal is not going to cause more harm than good.

There, that was easy.

There's a perfect example of non-thinking. Just stating a position without any reasons or background explanation - a sure sign of a closed mind. Well, it's probably sarcasm given the username "Make Fascism Great Again." Anyone else out there in the mood for thinking?

(Reposting because my initial post didn't appear)

John,

You say my post is a perfect example of non-thinking. Actually, it's your post which is non-thinking. For instance, you say that simply stating a position without reason or background explanation is a sign of a closed mind (and, presumably, an example of non-thinking). In fact, that's a non-sequitur. And your non-sequitur is evidence of your own non-thinking.

The fact that I stated a position does not entail that the position was arrived at in a non-thinking way. For instance, it's possible that the correct position is obvious. Should we decriminalize rape? Hopefully you agree that the answer is pretty obvious: no.

Second, is simply stating a position a sure sign of a closed mind? If that's the case then you've given us a sure sign that you have a closed mind, because you have given us no reason or background information on why that is necessarily the case. You committed the same "closed minded" mistake (by your own criteria) when you asserted--without any reasons or background explanation--that the real question in the abortion issue is what to do about it.

So now that we've seen you demonstrate that you're a closed minded non-thinker let's get back to what I said in my last post. As I mentioned, simply stating a position does not entail that there is no thinking going on. Some cases are fairly obvious, like this one.

1. Murder should be illegal.
2. Abortion is murder.
3. Abortion should be illegal.

Premise 1 isn't controversial by virtually anyone's standards. Premise 2 is accepted by most people (according to you--assuming that wrongfully killing counts as murder, which it does on any commonsense analysis). At the very least, it is the dominant position among pro-lifers. Therefore, I've given a very strong and obvious (easy) argument.

OK, maybe you're thinking, but in a very simplistic black-and-white kind of way without considering the essential subtleties. For example:

1) Not all murders are the same. There's first-degree murder and second-degree murder. There's manslaughter. There's murder in self-defense. Which kind of murder is abortion?

2) Should all kinds of killing be punished the same? How indeed should we punish abortionists? Is jail the best? What about capital punishment? Should we punish women who get abortions, as Donald Trump suggested?

3) On what basis should we decide laws and punishments? I suggest a pragmatic approach where laws and punishments are aimed at stopping the activity from happening again. On the other hand, some Christians seem to take an ideal or absolutist approach where crimes simply deserve certain punishments, regardless of consequences.

4) I suggested the pro-Life movement's legal crusade might be doing more harm than good. I'm sure if you think about it you can come up with example scenarios. If you want, you can present those scenarios in your own words and then explain why they're not really problematic. Or you could ask me to present some example scenarios first.

5) Just in general I would ask whether putting abortionists in jail really causes the abortion rate to fall. This isn't an easy thing to determine, because if abortion becomes illegal in the U.S., how many women will travel abroad for an abortion? How many illegal black-market abortions will there be? How would we count that?

6) I plead with good-hearted Christians to think about the health and welfare of babies after they're born, as well as their mothers. Liberals accuse you of caring only about the fetus and turning your backs on infants. You need to work a lot harder to refute this kind of criticism. Otherwise, the pro-abortion movement will never go away.

John,

There's such a thing as pseudo-complexity. Trying to kick dirt up into the air and tell us it's a fog. This is a tactic many pro-choicers have fallen back on recently because they just don't have very good arguments for abortion. So they think their best bet is to pretend like it's at least a very very grey area as to whether we should allow babies to be murdered. It's not.

1. Whether all murders are the same is irrelevant to my argument, since all murders is illegal. I notice you try and leave yourself a backdoor here by labeling killing in self-defense as murder. Let's not play dumb, John. Killing in self-defense is only considered murder by a very few pacifist extremists--and there is no rational justification for that position.

2. Irrelevant to my argument.

3. Irrelevant to my argument. Penal codes can be settled apart from the legality of the issue per se. There is no penal code, set in stone, for first degree murder. The penalty is decided by the judge or jury on the case.

4. I reject the assertion--which you give without reason or background information.

5. This is a good example of how a pro-choicer often argues inconsistently. The pro-choice position doesn't seem like a very considered, principled position. Instead it's a "defend abortion at any cost" sort of position, a "use whatever argument works for the moment" position. Pro-choicers are constantly telling us that we need free and easy access to abortion because those who need it most are the poor. But now you're suggesting that many women who rely on abortion are going to be traveling abroad for their abortions. Where did they suddenly come up with all that money? Furthermore pro-choicers are constantly telling us that even modest regulations on abortion clinics will significantly hamper women's abilities to access abortions. But now you're suggesting that not even throwing abortion providers in jail is going to significantly hamper a woman's ability to abortion. Pro-choicers have no consistent narrative. They will fabricate any narrative they need, on the spot, to try and deter pro-lifers. Whether the piece-meal laws currently being passed by pro-lifers is having a significant impact is a complicated question. See here, for instance: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/do-state-level-anti-abortion-laws-reduce-abortion-rates But that doesn't suggest that pro-lifers should drop the legal issue.

6. A pro-choice person pleading with pro-lifers to consider the health and welfare of babies after they are born is very ironic, since pro-choice logic devalues the life of the infant as much as the pre-born. It's crocodile tears. Liberals have no rational basis for caring about infants. Their twisted logic leads to infanticide. It's not that there is any merit to the liberal's crocodile tears that makes this criticism stick--it's the wickedness in men's hearts. In fact there is nothing which suggests pro-lifers don't care about infants or their mothers. It's a distraction technique. HEY LOOK OVER THERE!

You talk about pseudo-complexity, but if you want to end abortion, you need to work through these issues with your political opponents. The good news is that many pro-Choice people are willing to discuss these complex issues and will actually agree with you. The bad news is just that it takes effort on your part. It takes careful thought and a bit of Christian humility.

I'm not your opponent on this issue. I'm actually offering some ideas for how to make progress and save babies' lives. So much of what you're saying sounds like "ad hominem," which suggests you're not really interested in saving babies at all.

For example, you characterise the pro-Choice position as "defend abortion at any cost." If you really think that, then the debate is over. And the babies lost.

You call pro-Life logic "crocodile tears." That's witty and all, but it just widens the gulf between you and the people you need to persuade in order to save babies.

You said that many of my questions were irrelevant to your argument. I'd reply that your argument is irrelevant to the real issue at hand, which is saving the lives of babies in the womb.

John,

Acting as if I have to agree with your framing of the issues and what's important or "the babies lost" is an attempt at rhetorical hostage taking. I had a conversation with an abortion apologist on this website several months ago that attempted the same sad tactic. They insisted that abortion would continue until all pro-lifers met their demands for women and the post-born. That doesn't show genuine concern for the life of the baby on your part. If you really cared about the lives of these babies, you wouldn't use them as props for having the conversation on your terms.

Pointing out the irrelevancies in your position and that some rhetorical "pleading" is phony (crocodile tears) isn't due to a lack of "Christian humility" (that's your own ad hominem, right?). When I pointed out that any pro-choicer who pleads with a pro-lifer about the health of the mother and post-born is crocodile tears that's not an ad hominem fallacy because I didn't say "Your tears are phony and therefore you're wrong." Rather, I pointed out that there is a *logical* inconsistency to the pro-choice concern for infants and the pro-choice position on abortion. It is this logical inconsistency that is the basis for my claim of crocodile tears.

The truth is that with abortion we are dealing with an evil position. Killing babies is evil and for a mother to kill her own baby requires a certain level of darkness and moral callousness. (And I don't say that as if myself and pro-lifers are all above such evil.) It would be very naive of pro-lifers to overlook the fact that evil positions are often defended with disingenuous communicative strategies. We need to be on the lookout for it. We need to clearly mark it and, thereby, neutralize it. An example of this disingenuous communicative strategy is when pro-choicers frame their position as "health care" or "reproductive health." If someone tells me that I have to go along with that framework "or the baby dies!" that's pathetic. A person who uses the life of a baby in such a fashion shows that their primary concern is not for the life of the baby to begin with. They want their position to be framed in that way because they know that they can gain some foothold in the minds of the general public with it.

This article is about how people do change their minds about abortion. To be more precise *some* people change their minds about abortion. Sadly, some never will. I don't know who will or will not change their mind, but generally speaking the abortion apologists who try and keep the cogs in the abortion complex, with its systematic killing of 3,000 babies per day, well greased are the more morally hardened (and twisted). And sometimes what's needed with the abortion apologist is simply for someone to point out that the emperor has no clothes.

If your concern, John Moore, was for the life of the baby in the womb you wouldn't be spending time trying to convince pro-lifers to give up the legal progress they are making against abortion--an absurd strategy if there ever was one--you would be spending your time arguing for the life and dignity of the unborn.

A few brief tips on social engineering:

1. Try to reason them out of their position. As C. S. Lewis pointed out in Screwtape, this has several disadvantages. It's especially a weak strategy when there just aren't very good reasons behind your social engineering. Thankfully, most people aren't primarily rational. That's especially true when it comes to deep moral issues like racism.

2. Make the issue to seem more complicated than it actually is. If someone is very confident in the truth of their position then they will be very difficult to persuade. Thus, you need to try to make the person think the issue is much more complex than they initially thought. If you can get a person to think there is a lot more grey area here then they become more open to questioning their original position. But how do you make an issue seem more complicated than it actually is? Pull some peripheral issues into the center and demand quite confidently that these are in fact the *real* issues! We can stir up faux-complexity by shifting focus to tangential issues. For instance, what should the punishment be for the woman who has an abortion? This question is irrelevant to the morality of abortion just as such and isn't even directly relevant to the legal issue just as such. But keep focusing on it. Tell them it's the real issue. Act as if one can't have a stance on the other issue without also having one on this issue. It's close enough that you can get a person along a certain train of thought: "Huh, I don't have any clear answer for that... I don't want women to be thrown in prison for life or to be sentenced to death... Perhaps this reveals that I don't really believe a zygote has the same rights as an infant... Perhaps I should at least not be advocating for it's illegality." This leads into the next tip:

3. Make the person believe that their actions are ineffective--maybe even counterproductive!--even if their belief is correct. In this way the threat is neutralized without actually having to engage the position. It doesn't matter if a person believes abortion is wrong as a matter of private opinion, so long as their belief doesn't lead to action. What we are primarily concerned with is the fact that babies are killed--not what people think about why they are killing their babies.

4. Pretend as if their concern for one issue somehow hampers their concern for another issue. For instance, pretend as if you can't be an active pro-lifer and be concerned with women at the same time. Combine this strategy with strategy number 3: the pro-lifer can go on believing in their pro-life position, but they must give up all action on behalf of the pro-life position in order to take up action on behalf of women. Remember that it doesn't matter what the person believes so long as their outward behavior is indistinguishable from the pro-choice person.

John,

I hope people can think more deeply about these issues, for the sake of the children!

For the sake of born or unborn children?

For the sake of the children, for example, do you think it should be illegal to kill a baby when the only thing inside the mother is the baby's head? Is there nuance there? It’s currently illegal, but it doesn’t have to be. Would you change the law?

How deeply does one need to think on that particular circumstance? Does one need to decide a proper punishment for a specific actor before one can decide that ought to be illegal? What if that child ends up on 'free and reduced lunch' at school? Should that be considered?

Some people believe that a doctor should be able to puncture the back of the baby’s head and crush the skull. They would change the law in a heartbeat if they could.

But no fear, now doctors can just inject potassium chloride into the baby’s heart. Should that be illegal, John?

The good news is that many pro-Choice people are willing to discuss these complex issues and will actually agree with you

What will they agree with? What part? That killing unborn babies is morally wrong? That it should be stopped?

The bad news is just that it takes effort on your part.

If you want a picture of effort – look at what pro-life groups and individuals go through to save unborn babies. They “discuss”, they contribute, they march, they sacrifice, they weep with mothers.

What a lie. Effort? You have no idea what you’re talking.

On the flipside:

What effort is required of people that are pro-abortion? Do you have to expend any effort?

No. Of course you don’t.

And it appears you don’t believe anyone else who thinks killing unborn babies has to either.

Again I just want to point out that I am not your opponent on this issue. Our common goal is to stop abortion.

The person called "Make Fascism Great Again" seems intent on discussing debate tactics, with a sharp "us versus them" attitude, but I just want to discuss actual policies to stop abortion.

There really are points everyone can agree on, such as that abortion is bad. Yes, even the pro-abortion people will admit that abortion is a messy medical procedure that nobody gets pleasure from. No one goes out and gets pregnant just so they can enjoy having an abortion. Even the worst pro-abortion activist recognizes that abortion is a last-ditch emergency solution to a prior problem.

What is that prior problem? Maybe we can solve that problem first, and then the abortion problem will be much easier. I think this is where we can find common ground.

On the other hand, if you just like having arguments with people, and if you'd be satisfied just with a federal law banning abortions, then the status quo will probably continue.

By the way, do you really think the next U.S. president will be pro-Life? And the next few Supreme Court justices? Do you think the pro-Life faction will continue to control Congress for the next 10 years or more? I'm just wondering because if your strategy for ending abortion depends on passing laws, then I wonder how practical that is. It might be a doomed strategy, in which case you need to consider alternatives.

John,

It's naive to just discuss policies without being aware of the deceptive communicative strategies that abortion apologists often employ. For instance, it's not going to be a fruitful conversation is the pro-choice person frames the policy in terms of "women's health" and the pro-life person does nothing to pull the mask off of that rhetorical strategy.

You rely on an "us vs them" slogan to frame my own position. But what's the actual substance behind that slogan? At the most basic level, the phrase suggests that there are two opposing groups. And at that basic level there is nothing wrong or false with "us vs. them." The fact is that there *are* incompatible positions. So what, precisely, are you suggesting is wrong with my approach? In the context of this conversation, it seems that your problem is with the fact that I've rejected your attempt to shift the focus of the debate and downplay the importance of legally fighting against abortion. And insofar as that is the case, you're reliance upon "us vs. them" as a boo-word is just an empty rhetorical strategy.

There really are points everyone can agree on, such as that abortion is bad. Yes, even the pro-abortion people will admit that abortion is a messy medical procedure that nobody gets pleasure from.

If I was over generalizing abortion advocates earlier then you are certainly over generalizing them here. Many abortion apologists don't think abortion is bad. Several abortion apologists have tried to reposition the pro-choice stance as being *proud* of abortion and there is a whole movement of abortion apologists who are trying to "destigmatize" abortion.

Talking about it being a "messy medical procedure that nobody gets pleasure from" is a complete joke. That is an example of you trying to employ the rhetorical strategy I mentioned above of pulling a peripheral issue into the center and acting like this is the real issue. No one on the pro-life side of the debate cares about the mere fact of a medical procedure being "messy" or "pleasurable." There many medical procedures that are messy and unpleasurable that no one cares about. We only care about this one because it murders an innocent human being. Whether that is done in a messy way or a pleasurable way is irrelevant.

Even the worst pro-abortion activist recognizes that abortion is a last-ditch emergency solution to a prior problem.

That's either outright false or very misleading. Here is an organization dedicated to casting abortion in terms in which it would make absolutely no sense for the woman to see it as a last-ditch emergency solution.

Furthermore, ultimately the "prior problem" of 99% of abortions is a woman's lack of respect for the innocent human being in her womb. Financial troubles, for instance, are not truly the prior problem that needs to be solved.

On the other hand, if you just like having arguments with people, and if you'd be satisfied just with a federal law banning abortions, then the status quo will probably continue.

This is the false rhetorical strategy number 3 that I pointed out above. Pretend as if the pro-lifer is being ineffective. In fact, the pro-life position has made lots of progress in legislating against abortion.

By the way, do you really think the next U.S. president will be pro-Life?

That's still an open question at this point. It's possible that Cruz will get the nomination at a brokered convention and that Cruz will beat Hillary. Hillary is a very bad candidate for the Democrats, in terms of popularity and electability. Her best shot at being president is Donald Trump getting the Republican nomination, since he's probably the only candidate that has less popularity and electability.

I'm just wondering because if your strategy for ending abortion depends on passing laws, then I wonder how practical that is. It might be a doomed strategy, in which case you need to consider alternatives.

This is false rhetorical strategy number 4 that I pointed out above: pretend as if concern for one issue somehow hampers concern for other issues. Gee, you're really playing this one by the book, aren't you? The fact is that pro-lifers don't solely focus on legislation. We also have discussions, write books, host debates, etc. etc. And we are making progress. More people lean pro-life today than have in the recent past, since Roe v. Wade:

http://www.lifenews.com/2015/09/14/cnn-poll-america-becoming-more-pro-life-58-oppose-all-or-almost-all-abortions/

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/aug/2/ken-blackwell-americans-becoming-more-pro-life/

John,

Again I just want to point out that I am not your opponent on this issue.

You are the very picture of an opponent on this issue.

One of the worst kind.

I know that people can change their view of abortion. I moved from the prochoice to the the prolife position while still an atheist. It was actually my atheism that pushed me toward prolife since I saw this life as so short, we should give a chance for everyone.

One more thing:

Something else that would follow the line of John’s terrible logic:

When talking with someone that is anti-death penalty, tell them you are anti-death penalty too because no one wants to administer it. No one likes it. No one gets up in the morning thinking about how great it would be to kill someone today.

After you tell them that, tell them that you’d like to address all the problems that lead to the administering of the death penalty first. You want to eliminate the societal problems that contribute to the existence of the death penalty first.

See what they say.

That’s John’s logic.

Perhaps he’s anti-death penalty too. Does he like that argument?

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