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August 11, 2007

Comments

Steve,
You're correct in your confusion.
Dellapenna can only hold to his view if the unborn hasn't any rights. If the unborn is no more than a part of her, then it's no more of a crime to 'remove' it then it is to remove her breast because of cancer.
Here is the root of the problem. We have lost the importance of political status as it was defined by our Founders. This issue is why the Dred Scott case is brought up so often in the abortion debate, and completely misunderstood by most of us today.
In one of Greg's commentaries, he linked abortion and slavery. He made a very common mistake though, he said Taney said Scott and his family weren't human. That makes me wonder if he has ever read Scott v. Sanford. Taney said Scott and his family weren't citizens of Missouri, and they weren't, they were slaves. At the time slavery was protected by both the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions. Alan can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Taney had niether the territorial nor subject matter jurisdiction to render any other decision. Here's what I think is really going on, when one reads Scott, Taney is giving a no holds barred analysis of many of our founders and what they believed at the time. It pops our little urban legend bubble of the history of the time.
I know this may seem off point, but I believe it is exactly the point. When the slaves were freed they became 'stateless persons'. They had no standing in law because they weren't citizens of the states. The 13th Amendment made them free, not Lincolns proclamation, and the 14th Amendment gave them a type of citizenship. Actually they became more wards of congress than anything else. The black codes were passed by the Southern states because the freed slaves had no rights under state statutes at the time;(their political status was that of stateless persons). The Southern states regulated every aspect of the former slaves lives to the point, that many were worse of then when they were slaves.
Here's the real issue though. If, as I argue, the unborn is human, then it should be afforded the political status of Citizenship under Article IV and the state constitution of whatever state is involved. This gives it protection for it's life and it's health. I believe a solid case can be made that the human life cycle begins at conception. This is an ultimate solution, but there will be many steps in between. The most important is the Gospel. I believe our younger generation is ready for the truth. Ultimately that is where the case needs to be made for the future of our nation, we owe it to our kids.

Tim,
the direct tie between modern Pro Lifers and Scott is not at the law or state level but at the higher Constitutional level. As with Roe, Scott hinged not on Missouri's state rights but on the definition of the black man as chattle. If the black man wasn't designated as 3/5 of a person none of the state laws would stick at the constitutional level.

The debate revolves around where we get out rights from. The laws? No. The Constitution? No. The Declaration of Independence says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

So the only way for both Roe and Scott to circumvent the unalienable equal rights of all men was simply to claim at the court level that the unborn and the black man weren't fully human.

Likewise, where the judges uphold rights to "real people" like pregnant women and slave owners you de facto have a court endorsement of slavery and infanticide.

Read some of the books on abortion by Hadley Arkes if you want a clearer understanding of why Roe and Scott are almost identical in theme.

"Dellapenna notes that a legal focus on the abortionist rather than the woman is necessary in these causes because the law does not allow the conviction of someone on the basis of uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice."

One has to wonder about some of these people. There are exceptions (I knew a woman in an abusive relationship whose husband took here to a doctor friend of his everytime she became pregnant) but in most cases the woman is the instigator. This is another reason for the relatively light penalties with these laws that exempt women. If we prosecuted the doctor for murder and let the person who originated the crime off, it would be too shocking to our sensibilities.

Re: Dred Scott;

"That Constitution was ordained and established by the people of the United States, through the action, in each State, or those persons who were qualified by its laws to act thereon in behalf of themselves and all other citizens of that State. In some of the States, as we have seen, colored persons were among those qualified by law to act on this subject. These colored persons were not only included in the body of "the people of the United States" by whom the Constitution was ordained and established, but, in at least five of the States, they had the power to act, and doubtless did act, by their suffrages, upon the question of its adoption. It would be strange if we were to find in that instrument anything which deprived of their citizenship any part of the people of the United States who were among those by whom it was established."

"It has been often asserted that the Constitution was made exclusively by and for the white race. It has already been shown that, in five of the thirteen original States, colored persons then possessed the elective franchise, and were among those by whom the Constitution was ordained and established. If so, it is not true, in point of fact, that the Constitution was made exclusively by the white race. And that it was made exclusively for the white race is, in my opinion, not only an assumption not warranted by anything in the Constitution, but contradicted by its opening declaration that it was ordained and established by the people of the United States, for themselves and their posterity. And as free colored persons were then citizens of at least five States, and so in every sense part of the people of the United States, they were among those for whom and whose posterity the Constitution was ordained and established."

"Nor, in my judgment, will the position that a prohibition to bring slaves into a Territory deprives anyone of his property without due process of law bear examination."

"It must be remembered that this restriction on the legislative power is not peculiar to the Constitution of the United States; it was borrowed from Magna Charta, was brought to America by our ancestors, as part of their inherited liberties, and has existed in all the States, usually in the very words of [p627] the great charter. It existed in every political community in America in 1787, when the ordinance prohibiting slavery north and west of the Ohio was passed."

"And if a prohibition of slavery in a Territory in 1820 violated this principle of Magna Charta, the Ordinance of 1787 also violated it, and what power had, I do not say the Congress of the Confederation alone, but the Legislature of Virginia, of the Legislature of any or all the States of the Confederacy, to consent to such a violation? The people of the States had conferred no such power. I think I may at least say, if the Congress did then violate Magna Charta by the ordinance, no one discovered that violation. Besides, if the prohibition upon all persons, citizens as well as others, to bring slaves into a Territory, and a declaration that, if brought, they shall be free, deprives citizens of their property without due process of law, what shall we say of the legislation of many of the slaveholding States which have enacted the same prohibition? As early as October, 1778, a law was passed in Virginia that thereafter no slave should be imported into that Commonwealth by sea or by land, and that every slave who should be imported should become free. A citizen of Virginia purchased in Maryland a slave who belonged to another citizen of Virginia, and removed with the slave to Virginia. The slave sued for her freedom, and recovered it, as may be seen in Wilson v. Isabel, 5 Call's R. 425. See also Hunter v. Hulsher, 1 Leigh 172, and a similar law has been recognised as valid in Maryland in Stewart v. Oaks, 5 Har. and John. 107. I am not aware that such laws, though they exist in many States, were ever supposed to be in conflict with the principle of Magna Charta incorporated into the State Constitutions. It was certainly understood by the Convention which framed the Constitution, and has been so understood ever since, that, under the power to regulate commerce, Congress could prohibit the importation of slaves, and the exercise of the power was restrained till 1808. A citizen of the United States owns slaves in Cuba, and brings them to the United States, where they are set free by the legislation of Congress. Does this legislation deprive him of his property without due process of law? If so, what becomes of the laws prohibiting the slave trade? If not, how can similar regulation respecting a Territory violate the fifth amendment of the Constitution?"

"I can find nothing in the Constitution which, proprio vigore, deprives of their citizenship any class of persons who were citizens of the United States at the time of its adoption, or who should be native-born citizens of any State after its adoption, nor any power enabling Congress to disfranchise persons born on the soil of any State, and entitled to citizenship of such State by its Constitution and laws. And my opinion is that, under the Constitution of the United States, every free person born on the soil of a State, who is a citizen of that State by force of its Constitution or laws, is also a citizen of the United States."

Too much attention is being paid to Taney's decision. It would be useful to read the dissent by Justice Curtis (excerpts above). Taney's assertion as to the status of those of African origins is simply wrong on fact. As the slavery issue heated up there was considerable backsliding in the States as to the rights of Negro freedmen. Attitudes and practices were in fact retrograde to those in effect in many States under the Articles and at the time of adoption of the Constitution.

Attempts at comparing the status of pre-born humans to that of born humans Ante-Bellum are constructed of whole cloth. As Justice Curtis and other sources clearly demonstrate the status of Negros as persons capable of possessing and exercising rights the same as white folks was widely accepted at the time of the formation of our nation. Political realities may have prevented the full application of the ideals stated in the Declaration and the Constitution, but there is plenty of evidence that the Founders aspired to that application.

"There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." Ordinance of 1787.

The common law standard at the same time re; abortion was "quickening".

It is important to also read the dissents in many of these cases as they often prevail over time. Should the Republic be reestablished, I have no doubt that Justice Ginsburg's dissent in Gonzales will become accepted law (N.B. that Steve rejects the infantilization of women implicit in Kennedy's strange decision).

"Attempts at comparing the status of pre-born humans to that of born humans Ante-Bellum are constructed of whole cloth. As Justice Curtis and other sources clearly demonstrate the status of Negros as persons capable of possessing and exercising rights the same as white folks was widely accepted at the time of the formation of our nation."
Well, given slave owners like Jefferson's personal writings, the status of negros as persons may have been clearly demonstrated but they still made mighty fine slaves. This is tantamount to modern courts saying the court can't determine when human life begins...the fall-out of such weak beliefs is enough to drive a slave ship or an abortionist's suction tube through.

Therefore, the irrefutable tie between dehumanizing of slaves and the unborn is established and unchallenged for the most part. "Negroes CAPABLE of possessing and acting on rights" isn't the same as a court rigorously defending them as ACTIVE and PRESENT. "capable" is a legally weak work that de facto loses the argument as soon as that term is granted. The negro wasn't "capable" of not being a slave, it was criminal, faulty, bogus etc. of the country to consider him anything but a person equal to the most robust form of freedom enjoyed by other human non-slaves.

Further, there was only ONE reason why the black man didn't enjoy the most robsut definition of freedom offered by the Declaration...it was solely because of his skin color. It is this exact unsubstantiated "difference" that we can apply to the unborn, because a younger human is no less human than an older human.

Attempts at distancing the status of pre-born humans to that of born humans Ante-Bellum are arbitrary and usually motivated by other political agendas...as was Ginsburg's lone dissent on Gonzales. Though those who want to have legal sex with 12 year olds do hope another Ginsberg will be appointed by President Hillary, and they might just get their wish given the lack of understanding about the reasons why it's wrong to own a black man or discard an unborn human.

Alan, I'm not sure what your agenda is, but it's weird that you not only try to discount the tie between Roe and Scott, but you try to discount Taney...the Chief Justice and author of the majority opinion. Perhaps you're one of those troubled pro-lifers trying to create traction with the party of death because you can't stomach the slam dunk of the party of life (and war for oil). Regardless, here's a cool article I found that states yet another tie between Roe and Scott:

http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0703/0703state.htm

"Article IV, Sec. 3 says: "The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States." Taney brushes this off by stating that only the states have the right to outlaw slavery, ignoring Congress's power in the territories. Somehow the "right" to own slaves cannot be infringed upon by the U.S. Congress, and according to Taney, by outlawing slavery, Congress had deprived slaveholders of their property without a fair trial. In a 5-4 ruling, the Taney Court voided the Missouri Compromise."

Like Roe which neglects to decide on the definition of human life but is more than willing to defend a woman's rights with her own body (and another unborn body they won't define) so did the Taney court ignore the citizenship of slave decendants to champion the rights of poor unfortunate slaveholders.

It ends up being question begging of the first order because Scott wouldn't even be considered by the Supreme Court if they believed the black man was a man. Likewise with Roe, right to life of the individual trumps state laws, the Supreme court and civilian casualties in the war in Iraq...at least it should.

Sorry Alan, the above was me and I forgot to fill in the name.

Hi Doug, I believe every Justice wrote an opinion on Scott. You point out where Taney was clearly wrong. That was my point. Taney was wrong on fact - lots of them - and, in part, law.

Did you read the dissenting opinion by Curtis?

BTW, you discredit your arguments when you go off into right field and bring in irrelevant points.

I just glanced at the article you referenced. Sargent doesn't know what he is talking about. He writes, "he quotes the Declaration of Independence, which is not a legal document," That would come as news to the folks who constituted the Continental Congress and who passed it. Maybe I'm wrong but, ",,,We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.,,", sure sounds like legal language to me. His reference to the government in force under the Articles of Confederation is just as lame. Also I see no carefully argued connection between the two decisions )Scott and Roe) just unsubstantiated assertions. If this is the best you can do and Robert Sargent is your best advocate - you ain't got a case.

Doug, please read the Curtis dissent so you can understand that the arguments against Scott are not new but were part of then contemporary knowledge. Like Justice Kennedy in Gonzales, Chief Justice Taney just made it up to suit his desired conclusion. Like Justice Ginsburg, Justice Curtis knew that and called him on it.

Hi Tim, the Constitution didn't make Negro slaves 3/5s of a person, in fact, when one considers the logic involved, it did it arguably recognized the full personhood of the slave.

First, the compromise that gave us the 3/5 rule was clearly a practical political compromise, not a deeply reasoned philosophical statement, and was widely understood to be such at the time. Hence it has no status as a morally driven value statement.

Secondly, the slave states in asserting that slaves should be counted as persons for the purpose of representation were arguably asserting their full personhood as citizens. After all, they didn't argue that deer, quail, and other non-human creatures also should be counted for representation. Something centered the discussion around slaves and that something was the recognition they human beings capable of functioning as political actors.

Hi doug, just to be clear here, I oppose the attempts to connect Roe and Scott because, while they both involve substantive due process, they are otherwise apples and oranges. Western tradition going back into classical times and contemporaneous with the formation of the United States didn't recognize a pregnancy as involving two or more individuals until around the 16th to 20th week. The assertion of full legal personhood from conception is a relatively new concept.

Taney's arguments about the legal status of the Negro in Colonial and Revolutionary times are simply historically and legally wrong as Justice Curtis clearly demonstrates.

You have the right to argue for your concept of the fertilized egg but at least recognize the recentness of the argument.

I oppose the concept because it is based solely in a subset of a theology that I don't accept in whole and certainly not in a radical part.

There is no way in which the concept can be effectively implimented without downgrading the legal and moral status of women and at best creating a more authoritarian state.

Hi William, I followed your link to LTI and was including it in my comment. The reasoning is tortured and convoluted. Part of it is based on a variation of the old "Have mercy on my client for killing his parents. After all, he is an orphan."

Posting this here instead of ver. 1.0.

Alan said,
"You have the right to argue for your concept of the fertilized egg but at least recognize the recentness of the argument."

Oh, I definitely see modern life issues as a new thing...just like the equality of black men. Newness of revelation doesn't make it weaker, otherwise our newest laws no matter how correct would have less weight than our oldest laws no matter how wrongly decided.

My point is that making the black man free was largely a new item in the West perpetuated here and by other Christian majority governments around the world.

"I oppose the concept because it is based solely in a subset of a theology that I don't accept in whole and certainly not in a radical part."

Yeah, that's what I thought. It's not about the issue at hand, nor how poorly Roe was decided nor how close Roe resembles Scott, it's that you're deflecting to cover for a different theology and that makes your poor reasoning make a lot more sense.

"There is no way in which the concept can be effectively implimented without downgrading the legal and moral status of women and at best creating a more authoritarian state."

More question begging. You assume that the "unborn woman" isn't already experiencing a gross downgrading of legal and moral status and that's what this whole argument is about in the first place. If the more authoritarian state is freeing Dred Scott and treating him equally with all men then it is a properly authoritarian state...or are the robust rights of the black man another symbol of an authoritarian Bush Whitehouse?

Once we determine that the black man is fully human and no different than the free white man all of the arguments of state's rights and 'separate but equal' distinctions or even Taney and Curtis they fall aside because you don't need to even make those distinctions once the black man is seen as fully human, fully American, fully equal.

There were secondary arguments made at the state's rights level, just as Roe being overturned won't give the human fetus a right to live unless given permission by the states. Scott's hope wasn't that he would be able to live under a favorable state's definition of a second class citizen, his (and MLK's) long term hope was for absolute equality at the Creator level.

Our first step is to overturn Roe and remove the court's endorsement of women arbitrarily choosing when life begines and ends. The next step (which frankly, is nowhere near as likely as overturning Roe) would be for Civil Rights of the unborn human.

Given the #1 victim of abortion is (not coincidentally) the black unborn there's yet another tie to Scott. This country shrugs at many forms of racism, even race-based genocide:

http://www.blackgenocide.org/home.html

Hi Steve,
Dellapenna's first point is interesting. The only way to convict the woman would be to rely on the testimony of those who would be accomplices in the crime (the doctor, nurse, or other person accompanying her to the abortion). Perhaps I'm misunderstanding here, but if the doctor is an accomplice to the woman, and the woman can't be convicted on the testimony of the doctor, then how can the doctor be convicted? Wouldn't any testimony against him also fall in the "uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice" category?

From my understanding of Dellapenna's point, you can't convict an abortionist with a woman's testimony if that women is charged as an accomplice. So a way to make the testimony of the woman (who had the abortion) valid is to not charge her as an accomplice.

Thanks Alan, Doug and the rest of you.Before I begin I would like to ask forgiveness from evryone for my sometimes rude attitude. Now we are getting to the facts of the matter. I agree with Alan on the point that we get to focused on one document.
Alan, a question regarding the 'all men are created equal' clause?
If blacks indeed were included as "men" in DOI, and then held as property by several of the states, wouldn't some sort of 'legal fiction' have to exist?
It seems to me that we need to clarify that our founders were refering to genus in using "men". Not some special political status based on race, or nation of origin. If they meant genus, then the slavery clauses in the constitutions are void & null without a legal fiction. Perhaps the homo/persona issue you helped me with has some bearing.
Another point about focusing on one issue. I think we need to look at another area as well. The state has the jurisdiction to, hold in a type of nullity, a 'man's' God given Rights. A man or woman convicted of 1st degree murder for instance. A man or woman acting alone can only take anothers life when acting in self defence or in defence of another. Once the offender has been taken into custody, only the state has the right to execute or imprision.
Let me make a case for the states responsibility to protect life. The man or woman above is sentenced to death by lethal injection. They had killed my wife and I want revenge not justice. I manage some how to gain access to the executtion room and stab to death the convicted murderer 1 minute before their execution was to take place. I then drop the knife and surrender to the authorities. I would then be guilty of homocide. I'm not going into all the possibilties of my defense afterwards. My point is that the state's duty is to protect the convicted murderer's life right up to the point of execution. The state's duty then would be to bring me to justice for denying that man or woman's right to life until the appointed time. The state would not be able to put me on the execution table without due process, the state would then be bound to protect my life until my case was resolved.
Included in the state's duty is the protection of life as well as executing those concivted of a capital offence. The murderer's right to life isn't based on their state of developement, gender or race etc., it's based on them falling under the "all men" clause, which means the founders probably meant genus, not political status.
Now as to the age of the murderer. If he or she were 10 years old or 25 would have a material effect on what the prosecution could do. The younger a child is the more limited the state is in executing them, and therefore is more and more bound to protect their life at a minimum. Their age however is secondary to them being "men" under the DOI, although their age is important.
If an unattended 3 year old puts a car into neutral and kills someone walking by on the side walk, it's the adult that will be charged not the child. The state holds the child harmless in such cases.
My case is that the state in the vast majority of cases is bound to protect life, and under current conditions cannot abbrogate that duty. I know Alan is likely single out the issue of genus, or child. He would be correct in doing so. If the fetus is human by genus and the founders meant genus in the DOI, then it is protected and Roe is wrong. " We don't know when life begins", is in error. If they didn't mean genus, then Taney would more likely be correct and some sort of legal fiction was created in defining "men" in the DOI regarding black slaves.
It seems to me that if the genus of the fetus at the point of conception is human, then the basic rights of life, and liberty at a minimum belong to it; unless of course some sort of legal fiction is in existence.
I'm unaware of any case where a human life cycle didn't begin at conception. I'm also unaware of any other genus developing from human conception. Unless I'm incorrect, it would be genetically "men" under the DOI, unless some sort of legal fiction is in place.
I don't claim to be a legal scholar, so why is my case be right or wrong?

BTW, the test for belonging to a specific genus is, if when in the fertile stage of it's life cycle it would under normal circumstances when egg and sperm combine, produce live fertile young. Blacks can obviously intermarry and produce live fertile young with others of different skin colors.
This is just a general test. Being to young or to old doesn't mean you aren't human, nor does being barren.
If the entity thus concieved, if allowed the chance to develope to the appropriate stage, could potentially produce live fertile young, then it would qualify as human.
Further, today because of the state of our medical science we can determine by genetic markers whether it is human or not.
In the stem cell research area, they are fertilized with human sperm, nothing else would make the resulting fertilization viable.
The mechanics or geography do not change thr genus.

"the genus", sorry.

"It seems to me that if the genus of the fetus at the point of conception is human, then the basic rights of life, and liberty at a minimum belong to it;"

Tim, you apparently don't have to be a legal scholar to get to the real issue at hand. "What is it?" has always been the crux of slavery and abortion issues. The law CANNOT give to the human what he doesn't already have.

It was the wisdom of Reagan who warned that if the government gave us our rights then the government could take them away. And that's why all of these legal arguments fail us since they beg the question.

I agree with Doug on this one.
As I noted above, our science only proves more clearly at earlier stages how human a fetus is.
And Alan you're absolutely correct about the theology. However just because you disagree with Doug and I, doesn't make your theology correct and ours wrong. That's what Doug and I and others like us are arguing for. Bring all of the evidence to the table and let's see where it leads.
Christianity from it's core cannot be reconciled with any other view of God and His role in history. Your theology (point of view) is that God doesn't exist. That theology cannot be reconciled to any theology that recognizes a diety of any kind.
My point is that everyone makes their decisions from their theological point of view, even an atheist. As a Christian, Romans 13 prevents me from killing an abortion doctor or blowing up the Supreme Court because I don't like Roe. According to my theology, Christ died for the sins of an abortion doctor just well as mine. While I profoundly disagree with the doctor and you, my concern is for your eternity Alan. I pray for you and others on a regular basis. We can't afford to be wrong about our eternity. If my theology is correct, we will stand alone before God. Yours says we just disolve into the basic elements, we both can't be right.
The theology asside, the change in my life is beyond dispute. I was 50 years old when I came to faith in Christ. I lived a long time on the other side of the fence. I've seen masive changes in my life in the past 8 years that run contrary to the norm for those of my age who are set in their ways. The only thing that changed was that I accepted Christ. I'm still getting older, my hair is still falling out, I'm sure not getting any better looking, the one thing that changed is my eternity. My perspective on the meaning in my life changed.
I love you and others Alan, not as the culture defines love. But because God is seeking you out Alan, as He did me and any who will hear His call. You are as unique and bear His image as any other man or woman He breathed life into. God is seeking you out Alan. He wouldn't have me or other Christians in your life if He wasn't.
I didn't have anyone wittnessing to me when I came to faith in Christ, but I heard Him calling. It was almost a year before I really realized what had happened.
All I was looking for was 'the truth'. I didn't know if there was or wasn't a God and didn't really care at the time, I just wanted to settle the issue. But which ever way it went, I was going to follow it. The truth is just that, the truth. It doesn't rely on me or anyone else to believe it to still be the truth.
I have found Christ to be just who He said He would in my life. I don't say that just because these things are written in the Bible, but because of the real day to day impact on my life and purpose. I have no doubt He will do the same for you or any others who respond to his call Alan; including abortionists.
I don't have the slightest idea what's going on in your life, but don't ignore God's call.
God bless you Alan; be assured that I'm praying for you.

Hi Tim, I prayers can't hurt so thanks. The legal part of the DOT is the part I quoted; the rest would fall under the 'findings' category and parts of that are clearly asperationa. What the dissent of Justice Curtius makes clear is that several of the first States recognized freed slaves as men capable of full participation in the political system. As it is obvious that manumission changes nothing about the former slave other than his legal status, it becomes clear (or at the very least arguable) that Africans, regardless of status are "men" in the sense that word is used in the DOI. it is also clear that the contradictions of the institution of slavery with the stated ideals on which the Nation was founded was on the minds of more than a few of the founding generation. The prevailing standard for a state interest in pregnancy, at the same time, was 'quickening." There was to my knowledge no serious disagreement with that view, nor was it a political issue. You all are simply barking up the wrong tree trying to draw a parallel here.

The problem isn't that a given viewpoint is theologically impelled; it's that when that is all you have, you don't have sufficient grounds to impose the power of the state. Romans 13 may persuade you to not kill abortion doctors or blow up clinics but it is clear from past experience that when folks do things like that unimpeded by the law, it becomes impossible to have a civil society. On the other hand it is also clear that a society can function just fine with abortion on demand in the first weeks of a pregnancy. Hence the law is properly drawn this side of criminalizrtion. Doug's willingness to accept a less free society in order to impose his theology should give everyone pause to consider what you are really trying to do and what are the likely results.

"On the other hand it is also clear that a society can function just fine with abortion on demand in the first weeks of a pregnancy. Hence the law is properly drawn this side of criminalizrtion."

Our society functioned just fine with slavery too. We prospered quite well on the backs of human chattle. Remember that your definition of "quite well" includes "sucking 5,000 living humans down a sink to avoid responsibility." Hence, the law is only properly drawn if you *le sigh* beg the question.

"Doug's willingness to accept a less free society in order to impose his theology should give everyone pause to consider what you are really trying to do and what are the likely results."

Yes, we all really do believe what we believe don't we Alan? Because 40 million American's aren't around today doesn't impune the integrity of my religion, it impunes yours'. If 40 million unique people...primarily minorities...doesn't give you pause then I don't think your fears are well placed. My religious expression would force some women into a psychologically rough period that would still create brilliantly unique innocent human beings...your religious expression would enable those same women to go through the tramatic experience of infanticide...and don't get me started on HItler redefining the human Jew as being a rat...that's also just like Dred Scott.

Being an atheist I don't see what the big deal is about forcing a woman to have a child she doesn't want. Your caring is arbitrary. As Sculea said, "Don't like abortion? Pass a law." That's about as high of an authority as you can appeal to.

"Our society functioned just fine with slavery too."

Actually it didn't. We got into a civil war because of it and slavery isn't at all suited to an industrialized society or the formation of a middle class necessary for democracy, prosperity and stability.

Slavery is sort of suited for a plantation type economy but that isn't much fun unless you are part of the one or two percent that gets to sip the mint juleps on the veranda - and then you'e always having to watch your back.

Thanks again all.
Alan here is where our theologies enter in. Your assumption that any nation can exist and prosper with abortion is based on the fact that you discount the possibility of God bringing judgement on a nation because of it.
The Christian who takes the Bible seriously understands that God cannot ignore such a transgression. The scripture has enough references to the unborn child having special importance so as not to be able to ignore things like abortion.
One of us has to be wrong, there just isn't any way to reconcile the two theological points.
When God brought His complaints against Israel or another nation, it usually was in the form of a legal pleading. Child sacrifice (causing their seed to pass through the fire) was always in the top three or four complaints and always ended in judgement on a nation. I don't expect you to take these things seriously. In fact if the scripture is accurate, you most likely can't understand abortion as it relates to sacrficing a chid to a false god, the false god in this case would be convenience.
God either will or won't judge a nation because of things like abortion. If the God of the Bible does exist, then He can't not bring judgement if abortion is allowed to continue. Scripture refers to Him having plans for us before He even brought the universe into existence. Killing after conception by any means isn't an option for a Christian.
I do understand how you can hold your position because I was pro-abortion for many years, even helping a young girl get to an abortion clinic after she got pregnant under the bleachers at her school by a friend of hers.
I didn't have the slightest doubt at the time about doing it. I've since confessed that as a sin. I would never be able to do that again without clearly knowing it as an abomination in God's eyes.
If your right and I'm wrong, then it won't matter much to anyone in 100 years. But if I'm right and your wrong, then the temporal and in particular the eternal consequences are very foreboding indeed.
The Romans reference wasn't meant to be exclusive, in fact the Roman empire did keep order and promoted commerce as a result. My point was to make clear that, as a Christian, my interest in life goes far beyond just a civil society. There are eternal considerations involved. Your position as an atheist has eternal consequences as well, here again we both can't be right. Your position is as based on your theology as mine is. It will of necessity be how you view and decide things like abortion. You really don't have anything more to fall back on. You view thousands of abortions over the past 30 years as acceptible because there is no devine judgement pending. I do not because I see judgement as imminent. Besides my theology isn't disconnected from reality. There are huge problems with the after math of abortion that don't get general exposure for whatever reasons.

Alan said,
"Actually it didn't. We got into a civil war because of it and slavery isn't at all suited to an industrialized society or the formation of a middle class necessary for democracy, prosperity and stability."

So if we get in a civil war over abortion you'll admit that we didn't get along fine? Further, if we COULD get along fine with slavery and have a stable, prosperous middle class built on the backs of human chattle would that make the black man any less human?

Again, I don't call killing 40 million people 'getting along just fine'.

"Slavery is sort of suited for a plantation type economy but that isn't much fun unless you are part of the one or two percent that gets to sip the mint juleps on the veranda - and then you'e always having to watch your back."

Likewise abortion is sort of suited for the post-modern types who are used to defining truth based on personal convenience...and really really wanting to finish college without those icky pregnancy stretch-marks and stuff.

Hi Tim, given the present quality of our national leadership, it has occurred to me, that should there be a God, His allowing the likes of Karl Rove to walk the planet and prosper would certainly be a means to effect a judgement, so who knows? Anyway, why would God respect the empty and, in the end, meaningless gesture of criminalization when you could probably do better with a few tweaks of our social safety net. It seems that fidelity to conservative ideology counts for more among most "pro-lifers" than effectively reducing the number of abortions.

No matter what we do there will be a certain number of abortions - just like there were a few decades ago when abortion was illegal. That wasn't an insignificant number then and would probably be greater under any new abortion laws that would be politically feasible. Hence it would seem to me that any calculus that God would respect would have to consider actual conditions and real results not just empty posturing.

If criminalization resulted in a whole new underground abortion network inside this country as well as women who could afford it, suddenly taking a lot more foreign "vacations", so that we wound up with a net of X abortions while reforming the health care system, and providing family allowances and child care and the like left us with a net of Y abortions and Y is less then or equal to X then shouldn't we do X?

Why not do both? Because the political realities wouldn't allow it. The folks who really run the Republican party would never allow serious social reform and the constituencies comprising the Democratic Party would never go for criminalization.

Oops, my brain slipped a cog. S/B, "then shouldn't we do Y?"

Hi Doug, if slave societies were superior to free ones then we would have slave societies - they would have prevailed over the free ones. We don't because the internal contradictions - a result of our natures - make slave societies inferior to those that have been able to understand freedom and make it work.

Yes, if we fought a civil war over abortion, it would definitely be a sign that things weren't working out so well; but we aren't mustering our respective battalions, so there you are.

Speaking of freedom and slavery, it turns out that Jack Balkin (Yale Law) and Eugene Volokh (UCLA Law) have a dialogue on the First and Second Amendments on Bloggingheads TV.

http://bloggingheads.tv/video.php?id=352

"It seems that fidelity to conservative ideology counts for more among most "pro-lifers" than effectively reducing the number of abortions."

You can't effectively reduce the number of abortions without fidelity to conservative ideology...it's one of the pillars of our platform.

And there's no such thing as a liberal platform that isn't for the billion dollar industry of flushing unborn blacks down the sink...it's one of the Progressive ten commandments.

While there were still pockets of slave holders and larger states that treated black men like crap long after their 'emancipation' the difficulty to prosecute Civil Rights violations in no way means we shouldn't have kept trying to gain ground.

Yes, the more we publicly disregard unborn human life, we make it socially acceptable to create and support an underground abortion industry, but you'd still have millions less people executed, which is still a good thing.

You'd have to distribute a whooooole lot of clothes-hangers to kill 5,000 people a day. The numbers of "back ally abortions" are even more exaggerated than the supposed link between Roe and Scott.

And if you want to know why God lets scum like Karl Rove walk the earth you need look no further than the mirror. Before a perfect God, all fall short...but perhaps none fall quite as short as Darth Bader Ginsberg. Still, she's an image-bearer and that's why I'm glad she was neither enslaved nor aborted.

An interesting resource that touches on elements of this issue is The Soul of the Embryo: An Inquiry into the Status of the Human Embryo in the Christian Tradition by David Albert Jones.

Alan said: “ This is another reason for the relatively light penalties with these laws that exempt women. If we prosecuted the doctor for murder and let the person who originated the crime off, it would be too shocking to our sensibilities.”

This is one reason why, if you did read the NRO link, I think you did not understand the arguments. From the first opinion by Hadley Arkes: “Once again we find ourselves twitted by the partisans of abortion to show our own seriousness by our willingness to punish in the severest way the taking of an innocent life. Is the implication that, if we use a gentler hand, we must not really think that human beings are being killed in these surgeries? It has apparently escaped the notice of Ms. Quindlen that the law does not need to invoke the harshest penalties for the sake of teaching moral lessons. The point may be made at times with gentler measures. In the tradition of legislating on abortion, a certain distinction was made out of prudence: On the one hand there may a young, unmarried woman, who finds herself pregnant, with the father of the child not standing with her. Abandoned by the man, and detached from her family, she may feel the burden of the crisis bearing on her alone, with the prospect of life-altering changes. On the other hand, there is the man trained in surgery, the professional who knows exactly what he is doing — he knows that he is destroying a human life, either by poisoning a child or dismembering it. And in perfect coolness and detachment, and at a nice price, he makes the killing of the innocent his office-work. Certain women may indeed be guilty of a callous willingness to destroy a child for the sake of their own self-interest. But the law makes a prudent, tempered choice when it makes the abortionist the target of its censure and brings solely upon him the weight of the punishment."

From Jone's book mentioned above: “The constant and consistent Christian tradition from the early Church to the 19th century repudiated abortion at any stage of pregnancy, while offering different penances as a mean to reconciliation”.

Alan said: “The common law standard at the same time re; abortion was "quickening".
This is true but misses the point that pre-quickening abortion was still considered an immoral act. If you don’t understand Arkes, here is Jones again: “Under the English common law abortion was a serious offense, at least after quickening. But before quickening it appears not to have been a crime but neither was it a proper lawful action to which citizens could claim a right…..By 1880 most states had enacted laws against abortion irrespective of quickening”.

Alan said: “BTW, you discredit your arguments when you go off into right field and bring in irrelevant points.”

Alan, print this out in 24 pt. text and post it above your computer :)

Alan said: “Western tradition going back into classical times and contemporaneous with the formation of the United States didn't recognize a pregnancy as involving two or more individuals until around the 16th to 20th week. The assertion of full legal personhood from conception is a relatively new concept.”

This is very misleading. It is well documented that abortion in the western tradition going back into classical times (see The Soul of the Embryo) recognized that abortion involved an immoral act. Advances in biological knowledge just make it more convincing that we are in fact dealing with a new individual person!

Alan said: “The problem isn't that a given viewpoint is theologically impelled; it's that when that is all you have, you don't have sufficient grounds to impose the power of the state”

Why not? I would suggest that a true theological worldview is what you need first and foremost! I expect that you approach this issue with an agnostic, utilitarian worldview as it is consistent with your philosophical claims in previous threads. I find the reasoning of the apologists for the new eugenics movement used to deny the full humanity of the human child from conception, advancing the idea of life not worth living, both tortured and convoluted. A Christian sees the power of the state as given by God for a particular purpose. Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it!

Alan said: “On the other hand it is also clear that a society can function just fine with abortion on demand in the first weeks of a pregnancy.”

Its not clear to me! Even so, an efficiently run killing machine can function just fine. The question remains, is the function good and right. These questions can’t be adequately addressed by your philosophy, in my opinion.

Alan said: “Hi Tim, given the present quality of our national leadership,"

See reference to 24 pt. text above.

Alan said: “if we fought a civil war over abortion, it would definitely be a sign that things weren't working out so well; but we aren't mustering our respective battalions, so there you are.”

The war has been on since at leat 1973, battles rage, but without guns, so there you are!

"Alan said: “Hi Tim, given the present quality of our national leadership,'"

"See reference to 24 pt. text above."

Hi William, sorry but the comment is absolutely on point. Recall that Tim feared a Judgment on the land. What better way to chasten a nation then to give it evil rulers who seek to usurp power and undermine its ancient traditions? Just a thought.

"The war has been on since at leat 1973, battles rage, but without guns, so there you are!"

I would like to think there is a difference between seeking change through the political process and taking up arms and killing one another.

"Why not? I would suggest that a true theological worldview is what you need first and foremost!"

Only if one wants a theocracy. That, of course, is what the Christianist element in your movement seeks to impose on the rest of us. Our Constitution mandates a secular Republic. As long as you all don't resort to taking up arms, you are free to promote your vision, but if that is what you want, we will have far different and far worse nation then the one that came to be with our present Constitution.

"This is very misleading. It is well documented that abortion in the western tradition going back into classical times (see The Soul of the Embryo) recognized that abortion involved an immoral act."

That something is an "immoral act" isn't a sufficient reason to criminalize it. If you believe something to be immoral, you have a right to use persuasion and perhaps benign social policy to effect change, but that is all.

There is no new knowledge re: the human reproductive cycle that would impel a state interest prior to that 16 to 20 week period. Putting a "scientific" gloss on theological concepts still leaves us with theology, and that is not enough in our system.

I read the article and it infantilizes women and reduces their status as moral actors. Such nonsense may have flown in the 19th Century, but we are, I hope, past that by now. Also what is historically behind such conceptions is the notion that women of a certain class need to be controlled while women of another class should have abortion available when it is "needed". Such laws are written so that doctors who minister to the "right" women need not worry.

"Its not clear to me! Even so, an efficiently run killing machine can function just fine."

Where and when did that happen?

Hey Alan, when's your birthday?
I'll get you a pair of heat resistent shoes for that hot tin roof you're on all the time. Maybe I could interest you in a good used lightning rod, yes,no, maybe? Actually given the extreme opposite views expressed, I do have to commend you and Doug and others for their level of civility, even if the barbs do draw blood sometimes. I don't think I would trust anyone who didn't hold their view with passion.
Re: Rove,
Actually you have hit on something that I caught myself doing, and now is an irritation to me when I hear Christians do it. There is actually a lot of anger with Bush in the Christian community in certain areas. I had one such person say he was tired of voting for the lesser of two evils,(in the same breath) while telling me why he doesn't bother much with the political debate. He is actually a very good Bible teacher. I pointed out to him, that the Bible says we all have fallen short of the glory of God, so expecting any president to walk on water isn't Biblical. Further I told him that if he wanted elected officials that represent his views, he has to run them for office. That means we have to come out of the wood work and make and defend our case like we do here. Life isn't a touchy feely trip.
So touching Rove or any other ' pile of filthy rags', including me, Doug answered it as well as I could.
I don't want to beleaguer the slavery/abortion issue much more, we've all pretty well staked out our rocks and trees and lifted our legs to mark them; so to speak.
Here are of the similarities I've found.
They are/ were:
Legal, institutions,industries,contravening,argued from moral points of view,defining, etc.
The list isn't all inclusive by any means, and this is perhaps where a major difference exists. The pro-slavery side had it's own Bible verses, however tortured (see Philemon NT);there is no justification for abortion at all from a Biblical point of reference.
On a purely historical note, has anyone read, The Lincoln Reader, Paul M. Angle, Rutgers University Press, 1947. Or, The Crisis, William Churchill, THE MACMILLAN COMPANY, London, 1901. ( Not Sir Winston Churchill).?

Wow, I just was scrolling through the comments on this post and ready something about Rove. Is that right? How did that subject come up? Wasn't this post about Pro-Lifers?

Hi Neal, read further up. Tim feared a Judgment and I merely pointed out the obvious.

Oh, so it was Alan.
Huge surprise!

Alan said: :Hi William, sorry but the comment is absolutely on point"

No, sorry, I think that you were led off topic but this comment does not contribute to the subject of this thread.

Alan said: "I would like to think there is a difference between seeking change through the political process and taking up arms and killing one another."

It's obvious that there is a difference but the conflict is deep and no less real and of course some people are dying!

Alan said: "Only if one wants a theocracy. That, of course, is what the Christianist element in your movement seeks to impose on the rest of us."

I don't recall any instance of contributors to this blog calling for theocracy. I do recall many instances of specific denials to this accusation. I think Doug T might suggest this is time for your tin foil hat. Right now this thread is dealing with the debate surrounding the consequences of the US Supreme Court forcing, in effect, legal unrestricted abortion on the nation. This is the tyranny taking place today that we are seeking to overcome. The speculations on the appropriate punishment for a woman who has her child aborted are premature since the court still stands in the way. We can debate the moral issue and I think that christians and others have presented good reasoned, responses.

I thought that the Founders made it very clear what the appropriate response to tyranny would be in the Declaration of Independence.

Christian values and the theistic worldview of the Founders were the base of our governmental system. They cannot be divorced.

Alan said: "That something is an "immoral act" isn't a sufficient reason to criminalize it."

Agreed, so you think it reasonable and don't object if the penalty for abortion falls on those who perform it rather than those who request it performed on them. This was Arkes point!!!

As far as I can tell, you don't have any other reason to think this way other than personal sentiment, whereas Christianity has a well developed and reasonable approach based on a Christian world view concerning the value of all human life.

Jones' book is very good about demonstrating how the Christian view of the embryo changes as scientific knowledge gave us more detail. Science and theology are not so mutually exclusive as you propose. As to state interest, that is, of course, the question which has not been settled so I will not conceed it to you.

Christianity doesn't infantilize people it recognises that they are all sinners and are in fact all morally responsible.

"Alan said: :Hi William, sorry but the comment is absolutely on point"

No, sorry, I think that you were led off topic but this comment does not contribute to the subject of this thread. "

Hi William, point taken.

"Alan said: "That something is an "immoral act" isn't a sufficient reason to criminalize it."

Agreed, so you think it reasonable and don't object if the penalty for abortion falls on those who perform it rather than those who request it performed on them. This was Arkes point!!!"

I understand the point but it is poor public policy to exempt the instigator of a crime from punishment and then turn around and punish her agent. It does violence to the basic concepts of fairness and equality under the law as well as reducing women to something less then free moral agents.

Abortion is imposed on no one (that happens in China), to do so is a crime. Women choose to have abortions of their own free will and you are free to argue that they shouldn't so act.

Disagreement and imposition are two different things.

One need not argue overtly for a theocracy. If one wishes to legislate that which is only the product of theology then that is enough to effect a theocracy should one be successful.

Alan said: "it is poor public policy to exempt the instigator of a crime from punishment and then turn around and punish her agent. It does violence to the basic concepts of fairness and equality under the law as well as reducing women to something less then free moral agents."

You are avoiding the implication of what you have already said. The person who performs an abortion kills the baby willingly for money. I think it would be good public policy to punish the abortionist first and most severely. It is good public policy, in my mind, to shut down the abortion business. It is good public policy to support Carenet and other organizations that give pregnant women options other than abortion. It is good public policy to create a moral climate in this nation and the world that respects all human life as of value. It is good public policy to resist the new eugenic movement where ever it tries to push its way into acceptability.

Alan said: "One need not argue overtly for a theocracy. If one wishes to legislate that which is only the product of theology then that is enough to effect a theocracy"

This doesn't make sense to me. Aside from the fact that there is no covert desire for a theocracy on this blog either! As a matter of fact I think most Christian posters on this blog recognise the limits and form of our Constitution which prohibits theocracy.

"Alan said: :Hi William, sorry but the comment is absolutely on point"

"No, sorry, I think that you were led off topic but this comment does not contribute to the subject of this thread. ""

"Hi William, point taken."

William, give Alan a break. That's probably the first time he's done that, right?

I've just been going over the U.S. Constitution. I still hold to my view about Taney's jurisdictional limitations in Scott. Articles I,IV & V clearly contain passages directly pertaining to slavery. It is clear though, that it was a thorny issue.
Article IV, sec2, clause 3 seems to make it clear that just because Scott crossed into a non-slave holding state, no statute or Constitutional provision within that state good change his political status of slave. I'm not sure how the process of freeing a slave worked, but based on what I see, Scott's owner didn't free him. I'm assuming Taney was bound by Arts.I&IV.
Correction Alan, I said judgement was imminent, I not only fear it, but expect it.
William you're right about the subject of theocracy, and so were the founders. Just a brief view of the in house debates over covenant theology is enough to convince me I don't want a theocracy of any type.
As far as theology itself goes, there has been an attempt to paint Christians as the only ones holding a theological view. Ahteism is a theological view, and if that is what informs your opinion, then you are "glossing" your theology in whatever way you are interpreting science. Using theology doesn't make it right or wrong in and of itself.
My theology indicates that at conception there is a living soul formed, it is an image bearer of God and He has a plan for it. I am compeled to argue through the political process in existence for laws that give the image bearer the chance to be born and live out the plan God has for it, however 'inconvenient' it may be.
Ahteism seems to say if it is inconvenient, kill it and go do whatever you think is going to make you happy. There's no intrinsic value based on it's genus.
As far as dealing with the legal ramifications of Roe being overturned if that happens. Look at how different and conflicting the oppinions are just on this thread alone, even between myself and other pro-life advocates. Prudence would seem to indicate that some forethought be given to how we're going to deal with it at the judicial level.

"

"Alan said: :Hi William, sorry but the comment is absolutely on point"

"No, sorry, I think that you were led off topic but this comment does not contribute to the subject of this thread. ""

"Hi William, point taken."

William, give Alan a break. That's probably the first time he's done that, right?"

How come doug gets a pass on this?

"How come doug gets a pass on this?"

Because Doug doesn't take every subject posted on this site and turn it into an opportunity to bash Republicans.

"this comment does not contribute to the subject of this thread"
~William Wilcox

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