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December 05, 2014

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Of course, this kind of objection is brought against people fighting for any cause at all. My mom serves tirelessly and passionately where she has been called: her local dog pound. How quickly everyone jumps on her to say something like, “What about the orphans or homeless in your area?” I have a dear friend who will always criticize anyone’s service or support of overseas missionary work, because he says, “what about the people who need help here?”

I do not share my mom’s passion for rescuing dogs, thus I also feel the temptation to criticize her for neglecting what seem to me more important issues. I also have to remind myself that what I really need to be concerned about is where I have been called. I must take care that I obey my calling. There is no reason to suppose that God will call all of us to with the same calling.

This is an excellent point and not one I'd considered. Is there a term for this fallacy in general? It reminds me of tu quoque, in that it is an appeal to hypocrisy, but it is a different kind of appeal.

Remind them that "pro-life" is actually anti-abortion, and that all those other life causes are beyond the scope of anti abortion advocacy.

To illustrate, ask them if they're "pro-choice", why don't they support the choice to own guns, the choice to opt out of paying taxes, the choice to refuse service to homosexuals, etc, etc, etc. There are any number of choice issues that are beyond the scope of abortion advocacy.

As to a name for this fallacy, I would guess it falls into the general category of Red Herring.

Some great points here. An objection I frequently hear is that pro-life advocates aren't really pro-life unless they themselves go out and adopt all of the babies saved from abortion; if they don't, they are just hypocrites.

Sometimes the thought processes of humans can be downright frustrating!

I agree that this fallacy needs a name. It comes up so much that it ought to have a name of its own. "Red Herring" is a broad category that lots of fallacies fall under. For example, the ad hominem and tu quoque fallacies are both red herring fallacies.

Mike Westfalls makes a good point, too. I've often seen pro-choice people accuse pro-lifers of inconsistency on the basis that pro-lifers aren't pro-life on every single issue. For example, a lot of pro-lifers are okay with war and capital punishment. They also accuse pro-lifers of being anti-choice as if they were against all choice whatsoever, and not specifically abortion choice. So it's a good idea to remind them that the issue is abortion because nobody is pro-choice in every situation, and nobody is anti-choice in every situation.

I'm pro life although I don't also advocate making abortion a criminal offense.

John Moore,

Why are you pro-life?

The audio clip at the end isn't working, anyone have a working link?

I'm pro-life for both philosophical and emotional reasons. Philosophically speaking, I think abortion is always either a problem itself or just a desperate attempt to solve some previous problem. Emotionally speaking, I just love children!

Henry, If you're using Chrome, try another browser. It won't work in Chrome for me, either, (Chrome has been having problems with QuickTime), but other browsers seem to be doing fine.

John Moore,

But what are the reasons?

As far as loving children, I'm pretty sure there are pro-choice folks that would be appalled by that statement. What differentiates your love from their love?

I can see some inconsistencies in the Pro-Life movement as far as it concerns Dispensational "Rapturists" of our current era. Now a huge majority in "pro-life" Evangelical Churches. They crave world war III in the Middle East in order to hasten the "return" of their brand of Jesus.

Walking by sight rather than by faith, they seek literal fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. Prophecies anyone with faith can see have already been fulfilled by Christ and the Church.

As for the people who have all these objections to whatever cause I/anyone are involved with, why don't they get involved with a cause, instead of complaining about people who are involved in a good cause?

How much longer will we destroy human lives with the excuses driven by capitalistic competition? We need to change the culture away from evil capitalistic ambitions or we can expect the same evil results. Just look at the economic excuses for abortion and tell me it ain't so.

Hi Louis, I dont disagree that capitalistic competition is involved but an even prior base desire is only expressing itself through capitalistic systems...abortions are just as prevalent through socialist systems like the one currently employed in the USA. I am exagerating, but not by much...point being that economic concerns are expressions of moral attitudes...in all systems.

Hi dave...I could not agree with you more and would add that those same churchs holding to such wildly speculative scripture interpretations are also largely culturally indistinguishable from the godless population in general.

How about folks who invoke the "you're not really pro-life if" argument "from the right", so to speak?

For instance, "You're not really pro-life if you allow for abortion in the case of rape and incest?"

Or, "You're not really pro-life if you're okay with IVF".

Or, "You're not really pro-life if you're okay with various hormonal contraceptives alleged to be abortifacient".

The point Klusendorf was making is that we should not invoke such arguments. The pro-life community should be inclusive and just focus on stopping abortion from happening.

I agree that this kind of argument can be used in cheap and unproductive way, but I also think you're missing the broader point.

Abortion is a symptom of many other issues, the sexual revolution, poverty, lack of adequate (or affordable) healthcare, etc... A cancer charity is not just against cancer, it tackles the causes of cancer. It's absurd to suggest pro-lifers should be concerned in the same way about all life's ills, but it would make sense if they showed concern about some of the issues that make abortion seem like the only option for people.

Pro-lifers should be helping create the moral and social environment where outlawing abortion is actually a possibility. If abortion were outlawed right now, overnight, the mayhem ensuing would turn a developed country into a third world one in a few years - with overpopulated slums, sick kids begging in the street, massively overburdened school system and skyrocketing crime.

For the record, I am pro-life, and to me that means looking at the bigger picture, not just the tragic fact that millions of pregnancies are terminated.

Very good. The stomach can't be accused of not caring about the heart pumping when it's only focused on digesting food. That food its digesting is contributing to the heart being able to pump. If the stomach tried to help pump blood and the heart tried to help digest food, neither would get done very well.

Likewise, focusing on abortion contributes positively to work in these other areas. It's better for each of us to focus on what's before us so that each issue is handled well.

“If abortion were outlawed right now, overnight, the mayhem ensuing would turn a developed country into a third world one in a few years - with overpopulated slums, sick kids begging in the street, massively overburdened school system and skyrocketing crime.”

Hi ian,

Do you have any evidence to support this being the case? I’m not sure I buy the argument that abortions reduce poverty and crime. I know of many unexpected children whose parent(s) avoided poverty and worked beyond low income. I also know of parent(s) that decided to end the life of their/her child in cases in which poverty was not even a consideration.

I know a young lady that was engaged three years ago to a man overseas when she became pregnant by a married man at home after too many drinks at the club. At the time, she was divorced, financially struggling, and has other children. A mutual liberal friend insisted that her only intelligent option was to end the life of her child. Her exact words were, “you are stupid if you have this child”.

Two years ago, I was excited to see her child’s picture on a Crisis Pregnancy Clinic’s pamphlet at my church. Today, she is separated, but financially better off (not due to her marriage). I babysat the little brat a couple of weeks ago, and he is a handful. His mother still has many problems, but that child is not one of them.

My point. The doomsday scenarios of having unexpected children are highly overstated.

Around 45 years ago, a 17 year old young lady lied about her age and was impregnated by a married man. She had only been 17 for a month. This will be the second Christmas that her 5 children (two of which were adopted) have celebrated without her (cancer). Being her oldest, I’m grateful for the time we had with her.

My point. I’m just saying….

I am blessed today by you blanco...sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing your story.

Thank you Brad B.

I just spoke with my wife, and she said that our liberal friend, in the first story, said that she offered to take the young lady to the abortion clinic, but never called the young lady stupid. I believe her.

@blanko

Actually there has been some research done showing evidence that around 18 years after a state legalises abortion, they experience a noticeable drop in crime. Naturally some people dispute the findings, but I think if you read the full paper (and the author's later rebuttal to critics), it's hard to completely disregard their findings, even if they are overstated. http://pricetheory.uchicago.edu/levitt/Papers/DonohueLevittTheImpactOfLegalized2001.pdf

But let's just consider the facts. A little under 1 in 4 pregnancies are terminated. If abortion was outlawed (and the law effectively enforced) that would result in approximately 1 million additional births in the US per year. Are you telling me that won't have a noticable impact on healthcare, schools and already deprived communities?

I completely agree with you that poverty does not justify abortion, I also acknowledge that plenty of abortions take place where poverty is not an issue at all, all I'm saying is that there are many social issues that are major contributing factors to people choosing an abortion, failure to address these in preference to just fighting the symptom (abortion) is unproductive.

Hi ian,

From what I’ve read, I don’t find it hard to disagree with the article at all. Among other things, it understates the impact of crack cocaine, as well as the criminal culture that accompanied crack, and it oversimplifies the problems within the black community with the racist assumption that less black people equates to an improved American society. (I actually have a lot more to say about the article, but I don’t like extremely long post)

“If abortion was outlawed (and the law effectively enforced) that would result in approximately 1 million additional births in the US per year. Are you telling me that won't have a noticeable impact on healthcare, schools and already deprived communities?”

In the decade spanning from 1990 to 2000 the US population increased by 13.15% (32,712,033). Assuming all things are constant (which is a “huge” assumption) and that 25% (not sure about the %, but being conservative) more babies were born instead of having been killed in the womb, that would have meant a population increase of 16.4% (40,890,041). Yes, that would have an impact in other areas. No, it would not be anything like the Armageddon that you seem to think it would be. Two things, the growth rate has been much higher in American history, and second, are we really discussing continued abortion as a means of population control?

Abortion is not a symptom. It is an end, the end, the end of a life.

Brad B,

"Hi Louis, I dont disagree that capitalistic competition is involved but an even prior base desire is only expressing itself through capitalistic systems..."

The point I was making is that this is not an natural, innate desire. It is an artificial one that comes from without, from society and the godless capitalist propaganda that has convinced people that killing of the unborn will bring about capitalist success in life. That this comes from our sinful natures is true, but what drives it to permeate society is social pressures. The decision to have an abortion is often driven by others around the mother.

"abortions are just as prevalent through socialist systems"

You are right. But both the socialist system and the capitalist one would be abhorrent to the first century Christians who embraced the family model of charitocracy.


"like the one currently employed in the USA. I am exagerating, but not by much..."

No...not by much.

"point being that economic concerns are expressions of moral attitudes...in all systems."

Right. A socioeconomic system based on charity would do just that and be far superior in terms of results. Early Christians knew this intuitively and they weren't the only ones. Even Greg came within a millimeter of admitting the truth of that.
How many times has he stated that charitable organizations are superior in meeting the needs of the less fortunate over the programs put forth by our government? He is that close to realizing exactly what I have said here is the truth. I find it interesting that deep down he actually realizes that this is the case, but for some reason he is having trouble making sense of it.

@blanko

Do I propose abortion as a method of population control? No, of course not. Is it a fact that abortion is keeping population growth down, and more significantly in underprivileged sections of society, yes.

Abortion is a symptom of many things, that's not to minimise it - it's a fact. You could say the same about lots of things, war for example. Failure to address the causes will be fruitless. Tackling something like abortion must be done in a pragmatic, rather than idealistic way. Work to reduce the time limit for getting an abortion, work to improve the availability and affordability of healthcare, work to improve women's maternity rights and access to childcare, work to support and encourage families to adopt. Addressing abortion is not an all or nothing issue, there are a myriad of underlying issues that can incrementally reduce the number of babies being aborted (with each one being a victory in itself), and lead us to a place where the complete outlawing of it is actually a viable option. Even if you think my predictions are overstated, I say there is zero chance in the near future of abortion being outlawed by any political party - but don't wait to see me proven right on that, there are still plenty of things that can be done to make a difference!

Hi ian,

I don’t have a problem with attacking abortion on all fronts, but saying that we can solve our abortion issues once we’ve solved our social problems, is like saying we will worry about abortion tomorrow. Or better yet, like saying we could have ended slavery once we provided more viable economic alternatives.

You seem to be under the impression that if we take away the excuses for abortion, there will be no more reasons to kill our children. Sounds like a dog trying to catch his tail. How many reasons do we need to stop killing our children?

No offence, but you sound a little like Obama campaigning.

“So let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions. Let’s reduce unintended pregnancies. Let’s make adoption more available. Let’s provide care and support for women who do carry their children to term.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/18/us/politics/18obama.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Call me a scenic, but I don’t believe his intentions were ever to reduce the number of abortions. How many abortion “victories” would you say he’s chalked up?

"Call me a scenic" - call me cynical. duh

Ian,

Let’s assume there is a massive factory that supplies crucial necessities to a small town. The small down is very dependent upon the factory. However, this factory is located in another bigger city. This bigger city has an unlimited access to labor.

Let’s further assume that the factory is very hazardous as a result of a taxed capacity and increased demand from the small town.

Each and every day countless people are losing limbs, dying, and getting diseases from these hazardous conditions. This is basically a sweatshop, but without it, the small town would surely suffer and have to find an alternative, more expensive route for crucial goods.

If you were in charge of both the large city and the small town:

What would you do first?

1. Tend to saving lives, impose regulations and laws, and/or close the factory and tell the small town and the factory workers they’ll have to live with the consequences?

2. Assess situation and conduct a lengthy study in the small town to see if they can handle down time in the factory before you take any action?

3. Assess the situation and conduct a lengthy study for sweatshop works to see if there are any other jobs available?

4. Chalk it up to cheap goods and tell the small town and factory workers they should be thankful for cheap goods and jobs?

Believe it or not, but this is a much more difficult decision than the abortion question. In other words, this is a very far cry from abortion and the unjustified killing of innocent human life.

To summarize my comment above:

Ian,

Do you stop the killing and maiming, or do you try to address the social ills that I've described first?

It's a very straight forward question.

ian,

"Abortion is a symptom of many other issues, the sexual revolution, poverty, lack of adequate (or affordable) healthcare, etc.."

Yeah...exactly what I said that a good portion of it is indeed capitalist driven and motivated.(i.e. aided and abetted just like genocide and abortion in the communist states are aided and abetted by a move away from God).

"Pro-lifers should be helping create the moral and social environment where outlawing abortion is actually a possibility."

Exactly! This is my point too. The problem is that capitalism is so overbearing that it twists the church's arms. This is why it is so important to focus on a system that will promote a culture where we are brothers and sisters in the family of God. There is much talk about how things from the world invade the church community and cause damage. Well, that is exactly what capitalism has been doing for a very long time. You want to get rid of abortion, you had better start thinking about getting rid of capitalism and its derailing influence in the church from the goals to erase this evil of abortion.

blanko

" Or better yet, like saying we could have ended slavery once we provided more viable economic alternatives."

Well, why would you not think that industrialization helped us to move away from slavery? When the need for slaves to labor in the fields no longer exists, it is pointless to keep the institution going. If you can have armies of willing machine slaves do the work, why bother to deal with the problems that human beings bring to the table? We see this in today's automation in the automobile industry where the majority of the work that used to be done by human workers is done by robots.

Hi Louis,

"why would you not think that industrialization helped us to move away from slavery?"

Because slavery exist today? The only reason you apparently are not aware of this, is because American law has limited it to the underground.

Hi Louis and ian,

Slavery is not an industrial problem, it is a moral problem.

Abortion is not an economic problem, it is a moral problem.

People with lower income raise children successfully every day.

Just curious. Nearly 80% of abortion clinics are near a college or University. Are college students low income citizens?

BTW Louis, I get your point. But wouldn’t you agree that despite industrial advancements, slavery was still made illegal a few hundred years too late?

blanko,

"Because slavery exist today? The only reason you apparently are not aware of this, is because American law has limited it to the underground."

Good point, but it is not supported by the establishment within this country and where it does take root in other nations, it is by those who seek to step back in time (possibly to the time where it was culturally normative) with their culture...which is why it persists there. Even there, it is not the kind of institutionalized affair it once was and that changes the reasons behind having it to start with. The institutionalization was indeed linked with industry and as that industry changed, the demand for slavery on an institutional level began to fade.

blanko,

"BTW Louis, I get your point. But wouldn’t you agree that despite industrial advancements, slavery was still made illegal a few hundred years too late?"

I would be as eager to be rid of it as you, but I don't think that either of us are in a position to make that call. If I were to agree with that, I would make claims to know a lot more than I do and I don't think I am prepared to do that.

Even as evil as that institution ultimately was and indeed is, I lack perspective to make the claim that in some way...it could not be used by God to accomplish a greater good. I can't see what God sees.

blanco,

"Slavery is not an industrial problem, it is a moral problem."

Absolutely right.


"Abortion is not an economic problem, it is a moral problem."

Quite right and I don't think that I have said otherwise. I have simply broadened the scope to perhaps show the interplay of social systems with that moral problem.


"People with lower income raise children successfully every day."

Of course they do. The problem is not the reality of things, but the perception that culture insists on imposing on folks.


"Just curious. Nearly 80% of abortion clinics are near a college or University. Are college students low income citizens?"

I suspect that some are and some aren't. Certainly for some it is a struggle to pay for their education, while others have their rich parents pay the tab. However, there is a certain kind of culture that exists in secular institutions of learning that aids and abets situations of crisis pregnancies in university age folks.

Thanks Louis,

The reason that I asked is because I believe I read somewhere that around 69%(?) of abortions were from persons of low income. This is higher than what I expected. I was trying to figure out if college students, having low income themselves but coming from families with more income, might have skewed the numbers. Just curious.

Also, I agree with you that God can use an evil institution to accomplish good, but my point was that it would have been wrong for people to have waited for industrial advancements before trying to end slavery.

I apologize if my comments weren’t always clear. Half of my comments are made while multitasking and some from my phone. Plus, I could improve on my written communication skills as well.

Thanks for the conversation Louis and ian.

Also, thanks for the analogy KWM. I get it, and it helped me clear my thoughts as well.

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