Friday, August 22, 2008

Redefining Pro-Life

Warning : CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC ABOUT TO BE DISCUSSED

Traditionally, the term "pro-life" indicates one's strong stance against abortion. It draws a deep line in the sand and proclaims that one is an advocate for the unborn. It announces that one stands in direct opposition to the liberal, "pro-choice" camp. For evangelical Christians, abortion is often a bottom line issue. Meaning, traditional pro-lifers vote based on which candidate opposes abortion. Other issues take a back seat.

I am a Christian. I love Jesus and try to follow hard after him. I am a leader in my church and am married to a pastor. And, I believe we need to re-draw some lines in the sand.

I contend that being "pro-life" means more than advocating for making abortion illegal. Being pro-life means supporting health care for children across America. It means objecting to loss of innocent life (whether American or not) in war, believing in second chances for those condemned to death row (there is a dramatic increase in death sentences for the poor) , and being committed to education so we can reduce the numbers of abortions that occur every year in the United States. Jesus cared about the marginalized, the oppressed. He campaigned against injustice. So should we. I wonder if it has become easier to oppose ideologies than to actually love people.

We have had a "pro-life" president for the past 8 years. The abortion rate in the United States has not decreased. Perhaps the key to reducing abortions lies in Jesus' own commandment, "Love your neighbor or as yourself." Interesting that Jesus' greatest commandment did not involve the wielding of power through politics. It instead encouraged his followers to care for people, to put forth kindness above all else, to make a difference through personal relationship. I wonder if it has become easier to oppose political ideologies than to actually love people, to actually get our hands dirty. What if Christians agreed to adopt the millions of kids whose lives end through abortion?

What would happen if Christians really got serious about caring for the marginalized, the oppressed, the sick, the orphans? What would happen if we moved out of the suburbs and into the city?
What would happen if we cared more about injustice than our 401K?

Please know that these challenges are more for me than you. I'm struggling to obey Jesus' commandment. I'm a suburban mom who often prizes her own kids' safety more than Jesus' call.

I don't have the answers (Lord KNOWS!) but, I'm willing to ask some tough questions.

Dare I say...Discuss?





43 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post- it is very thought provoking and was insightful for me. Since I live overseas, I am out of the "Christian" culture and don't really know what people think about politics, etc in the church.

    I TOTALLY agree that Christians need to get out of their comfort zones and start actually living their lives in a way that makes a difference in someone else's.

    On the other hand, I think there is alot of confusion about how to actually go about that, and for the minority that try, they sometimes end up going to the opposite extreme. Like the death penalty for example. I just read today about the case of the rape, torture, and murder of 9 year old Dylan Groene. (I'm sorry I don't have the link to post here, but if you want to know more, you can do a search.) It has been shown that pedophiles are never "rehabilitated." They keep offending. And honestly, that just ought not to be. One child hurt is one too many.

    Okay, I am writing a book, so I will stop here. I just think that we need to get off our butts...but do it in a way in keeping with lovingkindness, righteous, and judgement, "for in (ALL) these things I delight, says the Lord." Jer. 9:24

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  2. Thanks for the comment! The pedophile you mention is actually from the Seattle area, my neck of the woods. Horrible, horrible. I probably read the same article today....Are there some people who "deserve" to die? Yes. The problem is, many who don't deserve to are sentenced. There lies the inequity.....

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  3. Good article Jodie. I agree that we who claim the name of Christ should put our money where our mouth is. There are so many who need our help right in our own neighborhoods. (One correction though, according to the Guttmacher Institute (not a pro-life organization), the abortion rate has actually gone down during Bush's presidency. Barack Obama misspoke at the Saddleback Forum on that topic.)
    I have been pro-life since the mid-80's and have been very frustrated at times at the seeming lack of progress in the pro-life movement. But I have no control over what others do. I am accountable for what I do. So I just take it one day at a time and help in any way I can. May the Lord be with you in your work.

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  5. Thanks for the post, Darla.

    Just read the study from Guttmacher.....interesting. It does seem that no one can account for why the rate has decreased. And, although it has decreased, we're still talking about 1.2 million abortions a year. Not such a significant decrease....

    We can do more. And, I'm just not convinced the answer lies in policy. I hope the slight decrease comes from the improvement of education...that would definitely be a move in the right direction!

    I'd love to hear some ideas about how we can personally impact people... a life on life kind of thing.

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  6. Jodie, I could not agree with you more, on so many levels. You would think that pro-life would mean anti-violence, anti-war, etc. It's so confusing that these tend to be polarized sides.

    Mark has said before that he would challenge anyone picketing an abortion clinic to find out if they had hosted an unwed mother, or taken in a foster child, etc. We (Christians) seem to be focused on the problem, instead of the solution. I don't know all the answers, but I agree that education, empowerment, and assistance would be a good place to start, so that women in an unplanned pregnancy felt they had a place to turn. I think there ARE some good organizations doing this, but the voice of judgement seems to be much louder.

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  7. Guttmacher Institute Fact on Abortion:


    The abortion rate among women living below the federal poverty level ($9,570 for a single woman with no children) is more than four times that of women above 300% of the poverty level (44 vs. 10 abortions per 1,000 women). This is partly because the rate of unintended pregnancies among poor women (below 100% of poverty) is nearly four times that of women above 200% of poverty* (112 vs. 29 per 1,000 women[3,1]



    The correlation between abortion and poverty astound me............Abortions in poor communities have NOT decreased....

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  8. what a great Post Jodi and I really agree with you on so many levels.
    I am pro life as well, but for me, like you, it is so much more than figuring out that life begins at conception. Pro life means so much more to me than just an abortion issue. Even if Obama misspoke , as an earlier poster commented, I am behind his desire to change policy and to change so much more than just Roe Vs. Wade. As a christian, I think we do a disservice when we focus on whether or not abortion should be legal or not. I think we also do a disservice to american politics when we choose our president based on his stand on abortion. I love how you pointed out how there is a big correlation between the poor and the number of abortions. If we take care of the poor, love them, educate them and fed their soul, I don't think legal abortion would be a real issue.

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  9. Hey Jodie,
    I'm proud of you! I want to read more about the "Seamless Garment" statement that both Time Magazine and Tony Campolo mentioned that came forward from Catholic Priests...seeking to value the life of the unborn, as well as the already born. I love you, and I love the challenge to charge hard after Jesus in more practical and hand's on kind of ways, rather than simply back an ideology. These are hard issues, and the toughest challenge is to dialogue and disagree without demonizing the other side...

    love you tons, mh
    -written from Sarah's computer

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  10. This was a really thought provoking post, Jodie and I couldn't agree more with so many of your points. I'm glad that you included the fact that the abortion rate is so closely tied to poverty. I think this just serves to remind us that abortion is one of the great human rights tragedies of our time--and effectively mass genocide. The pro life movement has clearly squandered their efforts on useless propaganda and protests and lost sight of the importance of education, compassion and love but I think the end goal has to be to completely abolish abortion. I could no easier vote for a president who didn't hold this as an ultimate goal than I could for one willing to turn a blind eye to what is happening in Darfur (and so many other regions of the world) right now.

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  11. WOW! A DEEP post, and a thought provoking one a that! I love your blog...and check in regularly. However, I do have to take issue with redefining "pro-life." Although all the issues you mentioned are incredibly important. I don't think the topic of abortion should be lumped in with all other policies. I believe the slaughter of millions of innocent lives is a travesty, I think God is heartbroken over the way that Americans glide over the issue and continue to allow it. There may not have been a visible "decrease" in abortion numbers under this President, but because of his strong pro-life stance there was NOT an increase in abortions. He appointed pro-life judges, etc...among other things. I think to neglect the importance of pro-life president (as pro-life is typically defined) is something to think twice about.
    On a side-note...I was challenged by a speaker I heard once who said that Christians are so quick to claim to be "pro-life" yet, are they willing to adopt all of these "unwanted" children who will be born if abortion is outlawed? It convicted me and challenged me so much. As I sit here and go on and on about being pro-life I am challenged once again and that sermon was brought to mind. I firmly belive life is precious, and EVERY life has a purpose, but I also belive that it is time for "pro life" people to step up to the plate and DO something, not just talk the talk. (meaning, me :))
    Anyway, hope I wasn't offensive in my "disagreement."
    Love checking in on your blog!!!
    Jess

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  12. Great discussion everyone.

    One more thought to throw in the mix.

    Maybe the most effective change won't come from the top down. Maybe it starts from the bottom, with us. When Jesus was asked direct questions about politics, his response was always the "love your neighbor" variety.

    I'm struggling with what this looks like practically....It has to be more than identifying ideologically with right or left.

    I think it looks a lot like Kristen, mother of 2 adopted kiddos - one from the foster system and one from Haiti.

    Like Lynne, a single Christian woman who adopted a little girl from China.

    Like the McGills. 2 biological kids, one adopted embryo, one on his way home from Kenya, and one adopted from a teen mother.

    I think it looks like mentoring in the inner city, like increasing education funding in public schools....

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  13. Link to Guttmacher institute study on induced abortion in the United States...

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html

    Interesting to note that the abortion rate has decreased every year since 1981....even during the Clinton years......who is in office does not seem to affect the numbers....

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  14. astonished that abortion rates are higher among the poor? Does that mean you are astonished that unwanted pregnancies are higher as well? If we want to reduce the number of abortions (which I agree is good goal....and I am pro-choice by the way)we should ensure these women and girls receive comprehensive sex ed and have access to free or affordable contraceptives.

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  16. you are one brave gal! I love being your friend.

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  17. I appreciate this discussion and had to comeback to see what others had to say. I find it interesting that even within these few women, we all have ideas and solutions that are different. The goal is the same, but the way of getting there differs. It's no wonder that Washington is having a hard time with this issue.

    As a follower of Christ I have to honestly wonder if this problem will ever go away. We are broken people living in a broken world. And while we can make strides to improve the situation and lessen the amount of abortions, it will never go away (not even if it's abolished) The technology is too advanced. people are too greedy to make money off the abortion.

    There are many solutions.....but so many obstacles, the first being us. We get in the way of solving the problem......

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  18. Jodie--thanks for this thought provoking article. Today at church we had 20 or so missionaries speaking--their entire message was one of just what you suggested--as Christians, we must get out there in the midst of the battles. It is so easy to just live our lives, worrying about paying bills, and the daily grind. Today as I was out shopping for some needs for our classroom, I was reminded of the surpluses we see and experience daily--in contrast to the millions in abdject poverty. I pray daily that God will show us the way He wants us to move--the lives he wants us to touch, the life he wants us to save--and that we will be open to His leading and just do it!! I'm too old to adopt and I have truly thought about it often--but I know there are other ways I can be used with children especially--my passion. At this time, I will pray for the students in our classroom this year--even through I haven't met them yet--that God will use Sarah and I to make a difference, both in the classroom and wherever else He chooses.

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  19. After reading the comments, two questions:

    1) do the McGills have a blog?
    2) were those deleted comments pretty nasty?

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  20. Matt McGill (from Saddleback Church) has a blog..www.hokma.com

    One comment was nasty. One was my nasty response that I had second thoughts about posting... :)

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  21. Jodie, it appears that only one comment(yours)was deleted. Surely you aren't referring my comment as "nasty". If so, I'm sorry but it wasn't meant to be nasty at all.

    Reducing the number of abortions requires reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies which requires education and access to contraceptives. Too many Americans, particularly the poor, are not receiving this or are receiving it too late. It all right there in the Guttmacher studies. So how do we fix that instead of getting in the way (as Jen White so aptly put it in her comment)?

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  22. Hi Ginny. No worries, my deleted comment was not referencing yours...:)

    I agree with you that education must increase as well as access to contraception. For a number of years I taught high school English in the inner city. My school had a very high teen pregnancy rate....I know for a fact that the health education my students were receiving was sub-par.....

    Thanks for contributing to the discussion!

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  23. Hi Jodie. And thanks! That's good to hear and refreshing too. Maybe this is where forward-thinking christian women like yourselves can have a real impact... most importantly on individual lives but also on the pro-life movement and its image.

    Controversial, thoughtful, important and brave debate ladies. I applaud you for it.

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  24. I love your original post. I agree. I am a Catholic and feel that I am Pro-life as well in the true sense of the word. Sometimes I think that making it illegal would actually be more pro-death since it would increase the number of unsafe illegal abortions leading to an increased death rate for the mothers.
    I think we really need to focus on the root of the problem and do what Jesus said. Maybe if we would have followed his direction, we wouldn't be having this discussion because abortion wouldn't exist.
    Chrissy

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  25. I'll bite, anonymous.... What's the root of the problem? And how do you propose we fix it?

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  26. I think the root of the problem is poverty (as the orginal post suggested). It is much easier to make excuses than actually attempt to help.

    I didn't mean for this to be anonymous, but I forgot my blogger password and username. It is just easier to send it anonymously.

    Chrissy

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  27. 57% of abortions are for economically disadvantaged women so I wouldn't say poverty is the "root" of the problem. what about the other 43%? No, the root cause of unintended pregnancy and abortion is lack of sex education and access to affordable contraception. Helping improve that will reduce the numbers of unintended pregnancies and abortions. And this may be a challenge for (some?) pro-lifers to come to terms with.

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  29. I agree with Jess. I feel that abortion is one of the worst evils in the world and it is my personal 'issue' - the one I feel the most passionate about and want to work against all my life. Hence, I think above trying to stop the war in Iraq to save soldiers lives (which are voluntarily given for the safety of our country and Iraq/Afghanistan's), saving the environment (global warming has killed nobody), or giving free healthcare to children (you may note that healthcare is denied to nobody in the United States, regardless if they are able to pay or not. We really do have the best healthcare system in the world.) I think abortion is the only issue in the US that allows legal genocide of more than 40 million unborn lives. Our next president, whether it is Obama or McCain, will no doubt attempt to remedy poverty and other issues. However, I see only one that is willing to appoint pro-life judges, allow doctors to refuse to give abortions based on moral grounds, and save the Down’s-Syndrome baby in the closet (I’m sure you have heard about that).

    Sorry for the long, late comment on this. I couldn’t resist. :)
    Katie Acone
    P.S. I agree with you 100% about how Christians need to step up to aid those personally who give their babies up for adoption. However, I would like to point out that there are around 1.2 million people looking to adopt right now. If abortion was made illegal, those people could adopt those babies and no one would have an 'unwanted' child.

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  30. Katie, you are passionately anti-abortion and want to spend your life working to reduce abortions. So you should consider the facts: Legal restrictions on abortions do not have any affect on its incidence, just its degree of safety. Here is a quote to consider from www.guttmacher.org:

    "Evidence from around the world shows that placing restrictions on abortion to make it harder to obtain has much more to do with making it less safe than making it rarer, " says Susan Cohen, director of government affairs at the Guttmacher Institute. "Yet in the United States, abortion opponents take credit for the mounting state and federal restrictions on abortion, rather than working to reduce unintended pregnancy to begin with."

    The United States has one of the highest abortion rates and teen pregnancy rates in the developed world. If you think that voting for your president based on his abortion position will save unborn lives and help the poor, you are sadly mistaken. What you should be doing is voting for a government that will ensure its people are properly educated and protected against unwanted pregnancy. That is where this country is failing.

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  31. Jodie... I'm a blog lurker (Sarah Lyons is one of my favorite people ever) and I've been following this thread.

    First... I absolutely agree 1000% on your post. If we want to say "pro-birth" I can buy that, but not pro-life when the very platform that is anti-abortion doesn't then support the quality of life of the baby once it is born.

    That aside, I am writing because of the comment that there are 1.2 million parents wanting to adopt.

    Respectfully, this angers me.

    I work for Child Protective Services in Alameda County (Oakland, CA) as the first point of contact to investigate child abuse and neglect. On average, about twice a month I place infants in foster care because they are born drug exposed. Because mothers are so sick in their own addiction, many are not able to recover and reunify with their children. These babies then become adoptable. The same is true of older kids who are abused or neglected... they need forever families. And do you know what happens to them? They languish in the foster care system.

    I know that infertility is difficult and I know that not all families are prepared to manage the challenges of kids in the CPS system. But to say that there are not enough kids to adopt... well, that hits a hot button in me.

    I think the reason this angers me is because it so often misses the "the real world" for much of the population. I think there is an assmption in Christian circles that abortion is always an easy decision, as if all people have an empowered choice to make with resources to support them.

    This just isn't true. For many, the real world is a very desperate place. It is a world of poverty and violence and racism and addiction and abuse and incarceration and depression and blatent oppression. I have met more people than I can count that feel they have no choice and have had abortions. And I'll even admit that on some days when I am feeling worn out after a really hard day of talking to the mother who started using drugs because she herself never felt wanted... I wonder about this cycle and I can make a case in my head for abortion.

    I don't think abortion is a good thing (I do think I can be pro-life and pro-choice). This isn't just about the mother making the choice for an unborn baby... it is about the larger society doing more, caring more, judging less.

    I know this is long winded... if any of those million plus people are still looking, give social services a call.

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  32. To Diane: You have my full respect for working in such a difficult area, and I mean that. I also know that there is a different dimension to the abortion debate that I haven’t encountered personally. However, I must clarify my facts. It turns out that I have underestimated the amount of parents (specifically women) who are seeking to adopt. The National Council of Adoption estimates that there are around 1.3 million couples waiting to adopt a child (per 1989, and in 2000 there was a recent confirmation of the similarity of that number today from the same council). The number of children released for adoption is less than 50,000. The National Center for Health Statistics, in a 1999 study, examines the downward trend of domestic adoptions now that abortion is an easy option. And I do recognize the faults of our foster care system, but I do know that there are many parents willing to adopt, but the breaks in the system prevent that so many times. I don’t claim to know the answer to why so many children are left in the foster care system for so long, but I do know that it doesn’t have to be that way.

    And also, you seem to infer that abortion would make kids more wanted and less abused. But actually, in a study released around a decade after Roe vs. Wade, it turned out that 91% of abused kids were results of planned pregnancies. And, child abuse rose 500% in the decade after Roe vs. Wade. Some people suggest that it is because abortion devalues the lives of both the unborn AND the born, for if it is okay to kill your child inside the womb, hitting them around after they are born doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. I’d also argue that abortion is one of the ultimate child abuses, since it results in an infant’s death, and as such abortion would never reduce abuse. As well, I also believe that I personally would rather grow up in a foster-care system then to never been given a chance at life at all. God is the bringer of life and only He has the right to take it away, and He can work through all circumstances, even foster care or abuse.

    And please don’t think that I regard abortion as an easy decision. I recognize that it is something thought through carefully by the women, or it is occasionally a forced decision by a husband or parent. And I know that those women can and do receive restoration and forgiveness from Christ, and that this is as much a sin as my own. However, this does not justify the legality of murder of the unborn. No matter what the cause, there is no excuse for killing a child, regardless if the child is wanted or not. If the unborn infant is regarded as human, and I must assume you all believe this, then there is no good excuse or reason for taking that life.

    I also must say that I do believe that “pro-life” is an excellent term. The Declaration of Independence guarantees our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The liberty was protected in the slavery debate, and our debate today about abortion covers the right to life. If we do believe that every human is given the right to life by God, then we must also believe that we cannot rip that right away from so many, claiming it to be our free choice that allows us that.

    Katie Acone

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  33. To Ginny: I don’t want to merely reduce the amount of abortions. I want to eliminate the legality of abortions and make it unthinkable for a woman to have one. And while abortions may still happen regardless of the legality, that doesn’t make it ok to be legal. People are murdered, raped, and sold into slavery everyday, but few would suggest we make those crimes legal. I want to see abortion treated with the same amount of disgust and disbelief as we treat the reality of legal slavery in our country 150 years ago. While Southerners may have argued in the 1800s that slavery should be kept legal and that slaves were better off in the care of their masters than in a sharecropping system that developed soon after the Civil War, (where former slaves could ‘rent’ the land that they had worked on before in order to work on it again, a system that sounded fair but really chained the former slaves back into slavery with little hope of breaking out), that doesn’t justify slavery as an institution. We all want to see slavery eliminated, not merely have restrictions placed on the physical or emotional abuse of slaves ‘for their safety’. And I believe that until we treat abortion as murder, there would be no reason for us to try and stop unwanted pregnancies in the first place. We need legislation that would equate abortion and murder, and then teach our sex ed programs from that position.
    And I would like to respectfully and lovingly disagree: I don’t think I am sadly mistaken that abortion is wrong and that I would like to see someone running our country who believes that too. It is a long road we have to travel, and it will take many years for us to see a difference, but the election of pro-life presidents and vice-presidents does make a difference. The president cannot eliminate all pro-choice judges in one term; for it takes a long season to finally see judges who are pro-life dominate the courts to protect the unborn.

    And if all the taxpayers’ money that is going towards sex ed programs isn’t working to reduce unwanted pregnancies, then I would argue that no amount of money we throw at it is going to work. We need to start with a position of eliminating legal abortion, and from there it would work itself down.

    Please no one assume that I am attacking them. This is a subject in which I am passionate and sometimes that comes across as arrogant. That is not my intention at all and I apologize if that is the way it seems.

    Katie Acone

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  34. Katie, no apology is needed. You do not come across as being arrogant. But to be quite honest, you do come across as being ignorant. You would be so much more effective in your cause if you knew the facts on unintended pregnancy, abortion, and sex education. I urge you to go to www.Guttmacher.org and read the results. See what conclusions they have drawn and recommendations they make and you may discover how it is that you can truly help.

    For the record, "all the taxpayers' money that is going toward sex ed" is in fact working (look at the pregnancy rates not just for the US but also for countries we are lagging behind in this regard). And further more, while I respect you have the right to your religious belief that life begins at conception, this is not a fact nor a universal belief. Inasmuch, society does not equate abortion with murder. And finally, I did not say that you are "sadly mistaken that abortion is wrong". What I did say was that you are sadly mistaken if you think criminalizing abortion will reduce abortion. No, the only way to reduce abortion is by providing comprehensive sex education to everyone, before they become sexually active and ensuring afforable contraception is available to them.

    I also urge you to have a better understanding of the adoption situation. I don't profess to. But Diane Davis certainly understands it from her perspective and we should all thank her for sharing that. You suggest that there is no shortage of people wanting to adopt. Well, that may very well be the case.... for a healthy infant. But what about a baby with very serious health issues? Or what about an older child whose mother/father had him too young before they were able to raise and support a child? What about the crack babies? The HIV positive babies? The babies conceived through rape? Are there people standing in line to adopt these babies and children?

    Whatever your personal feelings, it's important to understand the issues and the facts if you are truly going to have a positive effect on reducing abortions and helping others.

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  35. Ginny – thank you for responding and attempting to educate me. I would highly encourage you to read a book that changed my view on many dimensions of the debate called “Pro-Life Answers for Pro-Choice Arguments”.

    I would like to address just one part of your answer, how you believe that life at conception is not a fact. I am grateful that you respect my religious beliefs or my ‘personal feelings’, but I believe that life at conception is a fact. At the moment of conception, there is a person with a full set of complete, unique, DNA. That is where life begins. There is no ‘magic moment’ where we can suddenly say that this baby has gained human rights. It is not when it leaves the womb, it is not when it has fingernails, it is not when it hits the second or third trimester.

    There are four main differences between an unborn baby and a fully grown human: size, environment, dependency, and level of development. The size of a person does not determine how much humanity a person has. Shaquille O’Neal is not more of a person than you or I because of how much taller he is than us. A dwarf is not less of a person than you or I. We all have the same human rights, regardless of our size.

    The environment is not a factor in your human rights. Whether I am on a plane, off a plane, in my house, in your house, outside, in a hospital, in church, in school, WHEREVER, I am still a person and my location does not define my personhood or my level of human rights. It is the same with a baby. It doesn’t matter if they are in their mother’s womb, in an incubator, or in the outside world. We cannot define their rights by where they happen to be. They are a person regardless of their location.

    The baby’s dependency is also not a part in deciding their rights. Few claim that a diabetic person, relying on insulin, is not a person. Few claim that a young child, dependent on their parents for food and protection, is not a person. Few claim that a person with an artificial heart is not a person. Just because an unborn baby is more dependent than you or I does not make it less of a person, or unhuman.

    The level of development also is not a factor in determining how ‘much of a person’ one is. Murder of young children is regarded as a more heinous crime than the murder of adults, even though the children are less developed, and according to many, thus less of a person. A toddler is not less of a person than a teenager, and a teenager is not unhuman because he/she is developed less than an adult. A person is a person, and their level of development has nothing to do with how much of a person they are.

    There are countless other ways to say that a baby is a human, who ought to have full human rights: including their unique DNA, their ability to feel pain and to think (they go through REM cycles, indicating that they can dream and thus think), and many, many others. I really encourage you to research that aspect of the debate. I have been to almost all of the major prochoice websites, and I have yet to see them try to argue that a baby is not a person- almost all of their arguments come from appeals to pity for the women who don’t want their children, or appeals about the poor handicapped child who would rather be aborted than live with MS or Down’s Syndrome.

    As to your other arguments, the only way I can address them is through my belief that an unborn baby is as much of a person as you or I, and if we cannot communicate through that level, my reasons won’t make much sense.

    Katie Acone

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  36. Ok guys, I'm gonna call it here. The intent of this post was to stir up some conversation, some dialogue. To urge people to listen to those on the other side of the fence.

    Katie, I appreciate your passion. I really do! I love that as a high school student, you are committed to preserving lives. I really do hope that this discussion helped you learn to listen, to gather facts, and listen some more. One thing I've learned in my life in ministry is that no one cares about your ideology until they see your ideas in action, until they see you actually going about the business of caring. Getting your hand dirty with caring. I can't wait to see how God develops your passions as you get older and learn more about the world and workings of politics etc....

    Indeed. all sides of this debate must develop a system of dialogue.....I'm not quite sure much more can be accomplished through posting here.

    Ginny, I greatly appreciate your thoughts....do you have a blog of your own? Wanted to let you know that Katie is a passionate high school age kid trying to figure out issues.....I welcome your insight in this space!

    So, thanks all for the contribution...if you have something entirely new to say, go for it. If you intend to rehash what you've already said, start a new forum!

    Love to all,

    jodie

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  37. I just want to say how much i value the converwsation here. I respect the ladies that can dialogue and share thier opinion without being mean, sarcastic and condescending.
    Diane- thank you for sharing. Your comments really have educated me as well as some others who have shared.

    This is a tough topic.....and I have to say that since this nation really is along way from making abortion illegal I want to ask the question How can this nation compromise to get to the same solution we all desire in the first place. The ultimate goal is to not have it be an option....but can't we try to say that maybe there is a way we can work together to get thier slowly? Because realistically it ain't gonna happen in one presidency's term.

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  38. No you are right Katie, your arguments make no sense to me. It's clear you aren't going to hear anything that someone like me - a scientist, humanist, agnostic, environmentalist and prochoice proponent (and last but not least, loving mother and wife!) - has to say. But maybe one of these woman here, like Jodie, who speak to the need to redefine pro-life can make you realize what really and truly needs to be done. Peace.

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  39. Whoa! While I was typing my reply, two more appeared. Jodie, thanks, I wasn't aware that Katie is a high school student. Without meaning to sound condescending, that explains things a bit.Katie, I too admire your passion for something you believe in. I hope that you maintain this "fire in your belly" and use it and future life experiences to do great good in this world for others.

    And Jodie, yes, I am co-author of a blog or our own but it is closed to invitees only.

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  40. Ginny,

    Hmmm...thought you sounded like a writer....I'd love an invitation... :) Not to sound presumptuous or anything.....

    jlhowerton@hotmail.com



    jh

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  41. Okay, here's my last word on this post (I promise!).

    Let's all admit it: No one WANTS abortion. Everyone wants to reduce unwanted pregnancies. These are our common goals, regardless of whether we are pro-life or ppro-choice. Whether we are Democrat or Republican. Whether we are Christian or not. The difference is that pro-life wants to criminalize abortion and pro-choice wants women to maintain the right to choose.

    A key issue is contraception and education: Many pro lifers are strongly opposed to sex outside of marriage due to their strong religious beliefs and believe that our youth should be taught abstinence-only. Therein lies the problem: Abstinence-only doesn't work and never has. We would all like to believe that our children are not going to have sex at least until they are mature adults. But this is not reality. As a result, those who aren't taught about sex and how to protect themselves against pregnancy become.... well, pregnant. And then the woman has three choices: Raise the baby alone or with the father. Give the baby up for adoption. have an abortion. None of these are easy choices. And none of us would wish any of them on our own children.

    This is a timely issue and glaringly obvious in the news over the past couple days. Sarah Palin's 17 year old daughter is pregnant. This was announced amidst rumors that this is not her first pregnancy either and that her infant brother is actually her son. Whether that unbelievable tale is true or not, remains to be seen. But the fact remains that her parents believed that an abstinence-only approach would protect their daughter, it didn't and now she is facing a shotgun wedding at the age of 17, before she is finished school and anywhere close to being able to support herself or her baby. Why do I drag this up? Because I want to point attention to something one of Palin's spokespeople said: "This is an American family". Think about that....I say that's an unfortunate statement and unfortunately true in some parts of the country and in some environments. It's not good and it needs to be changed.

    Over and out. Thanks for the ear. I know I'm an outlier on this blog. But as I said before, it appears to me that we're really not so different and we all want the same thing. You women give your cause hope and I admire you.

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  42. Jodie, thanks for the request to be on our blog.... and for calling me a writer (I'm not really, though I do enjoy writing). It is about running, so something up your alley. Let me think on that.

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  43. Thanks for sharing Jodie....thinking is a lost art, one I try to MAKE myself take the time to do in the midst of life with 3 kids and everything it takes to be the Foley Family. I love your honesty, your mixture of of humor and real "thinking". I know that sounds weird as I'm typing it, but since I have a tendency to habitually stuff difficult topics til I have a moment of sanity in my life;, I sincerely appreciate the difference between a surface thought, and a REAL thought!

    While I'm parked here, I'll take this opportunity to also tell you that we love you guys and pray for you often!

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