Joe Got It Right (Or I Should Say, Correct)

A late in the Presidential debate question cast a clear view of the half baked Catholic Church complaint about religious freedom.  Martha Raddatz asked both candidates about how their Catholic faith informed their public views.  This was a thinly veiled question which was really about the candidates position on abortion.  The answers informed the public about both the candidates and real religious freedom.

Paul Ryan answered first.  He looked seriously into the camera and said his catholic faith was fundamental to his thinking.  He then snatched the bait and said he opposed abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and the mother’s life.  This was a reversal of previous Ryan proclamation but that fact passed without comment.

Joe Biden then drove the important point home.  Looking just as pious, Joe said Catholic faith was also central to his life.  He said as a result he personally accepted the catholic doctrine on abortion.  Joe paused, and then delivered the clarifying information.  Biden did not believe his faith should be imposed on anyone else.

Goal!!!

This strikes at the heart of the bogus Catholic argument about religious freedom.  How can anyone claim a freedom at the expense of others?  No one asks that catholics or the Catholic Church urge the practice of birth control or to practice it.  Rather, the fallacy of the church argument is that they insist they have a right to deny secular (non-catholic) individuals birth control options.

The religious freedom argument is similar but different.  Cardinal Timothy Dolan says the Affordable Care Act which includes birth control as part of a complete women’s health coverage an assault on religious freedom.  When the government said ok, you a religious organization don’t have to pay for coverage.  Instead the insurance company must provide it free.  The church objected.

In part defense of their objection, the church said it was self insured so it didn’t have an insurance company to hide behind.   Hmmm.

The answers seems simple… obtain health care insurance from a private provider instead of self insuring.  Why should a school teacher in a Catholic school not receive the same benefits as one teaching in the public school system?  Do we have two classes of teachers?

The religious freedom complaint runs deeper than just birth control.  The same argument is also applied to adoption by gays and lesbians and most recently to the accordance of the same rights of heterosexual couples in civil unions and in some States marriage.

Ryan, in breaking with the hard line “no abortion under any conditions”, is an attempt at a political compromise.  Ryan, however, opens himself to “if it is ok under those circumstances, what about these”?

A far safer, fairer, and more defensible position might be for the Church to say “this is our faith but we respect your right to believe differently.

Joe Biden got it right from an American perspective.  Paul Ryan might have gotten it right from a church going no place point of view.

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17 Comments on “Joe Got It Right (Or I Should Say, Correct)”

  1. Chris Says:

    I found the abortion discussion to be the moment where the differences between the two tickets was most sharply contrasted. I agree with you that Biden had the right answer when you judge it against American principles regarding the separation of church and state. Religious doctrine cannot replace the process of Constitutional review and interpretation that led to the Roe v. Wade decision.


    • Chris, I cannot understand how anyone can be for abortion, that is encouraging people to become pregnant only to have an abortion… And I have a difficult time understanding the basis a country can compel women to end pregnancies with an abortion. It seems to me a woman’s inherent right and all that society should be doing is to ensure everyone has the knowledge and the means to prevent pregnancy until they are ready…

      Separation of church and State should allow people to decide but to my regret there is too often a thin line in why certain people hold certain views.

      So for me, believe what you what but don’t believe I should do what you believe.

      • Chris Says:

        I do not disagree with you that prevention is far more preferable to dealing with unwanted pregnancies after the fact. I think if there were more legislators and educators willing to address this topic with young people in this country, the abortion rate would be reduced dramatically. However, as it stands, there is almost as much opposition to pregnancy prevention education as there is to abortion. This is unfortunate but that is the reality we are dealing with here. I am not “for abortion” as much as I am “for choice”, as I believe that a decision like this is not mine to make for anyone else, nor is it the government’s place to make this type of decision for me.

    • Steph Says:

      Chris, the separation of church and state’s original objective was to assure religious folk (the Danbury Baptists) that the state would not interfere with church matters. It has since morphed into the idea that religion has no place in the public square. Be this as it may, it has nothing to do with Jefferson’s “wall of separation” between church and state, which also did not inform the Roe v. Wade decision. Roe v. Wade only stands because the “personhood” of a fetus has not been adequately established. I am including a link to a blog post I wrote about it not because it’s an amazing post, but because it contains the links to support my claims.

      http://thecivicarena.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/obstacle-1-a-misinterpretation-of-the-separation-of-church-and-state/

      Religious folks aren’t trying to replace the Constitution. The abortion debate can be argued solely on science, reason and logic and a pro-lifer wouldn’t have to mention God or religion or anything in order to make a good case. In fact, religious people would prefer that we stick to the Constitution as it is, instead of trying to make it fit whatever current whim or trend America is experiencing,

      I am guessing that you and I won’t agree on much in this way, but I hope we can still have a productive discourse about it. I am game if you are.

      Respectfully,
      Stephanie

      • Chris Says:

        Stephanie, I read your post, but there is a huge difference between the idea of eliminating every mention of religion in every public forum, and legislating based on one’s religion. On the former point, I am less inclined to say that people who would excise religion entirely (removing “In God We Trust” from money, for example) are fighting a worthwhile fight. But as to those who would legislate based on their personal faith, I am definitely of the opinion that this was never the intent of our Founding Fathers. The Establishment Clause came about as a means of preventing our government from favoring or promoting one religion over another. From that point forward, it has been understood to mean that our laws and legislators should not follow or recognize any one specific religious doctrine at the expense of other religions, or at the expense of those who are not religious at all. Once we say that it is acceptable for a law based on Christian beliefs to be applied to everyone regardless of their own faith (or lack of it), aren’t we opening the door to any other religion that wants to exercise the same legislative leverage? It seems that, in order to be fair to the many differing faiths that Americans are free to practice in this country, we must either allow all of them equal influence in our government, or we must prevent all of them from influencing our government.

        In the case of abortion, Roe v. Wade has been attacked far more often recently in many GOP-led state legislatures, and the impetus for these attacks is always a religious belief held by one legislator or another. Personhood amendments are absolutely religious in nature, as the idea that a fertilized egg = a fully-developed person is not a scientifically-endorsed view. This is why the “viability” issue that was included in the Roe v. Wade decision is so important. If you ever have the chance to read the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines for practitioners, the windows of viability are a major component in the treatment approaches recommended to health care workers. The fetus is not considered viable by the AAP before the 25th week of development. Therefore, the AAP does not recommend NICU (neo-natal intensive care) treatment in instances where there is a premature delivery prior to this 25-week mark. This is not because all these doctors are murderers, but rather it is because they understand that in terms of biological development, a fetus that has not reached the 25th week of development has an extraordinarily high rate for mortality and for profound physical and mental impairment, even with top-notch medical assistance. They understand that there is no medical justification for utilizing that treatment at that point in time. And these viability guidelines are just as important in the Roe v. Wade decision. There is a clear medical consensus about when a fetus becomes a full “person”, and not just a part of the mother, so to speak. And the decision in Roe v. Wade was that the rights of the mother prevail until that point of full personhood/viability is reached.

        I am not here to say that everyone in America must approve of abortion personally, and I suspect that many who are pro-choice (like myself) do not think abortion is some wonderful procedure that we love fondly. But as it stands, the law of the land is that abortion is legal within certain parameters, and I strongly feel that any attempts to reverse this based on a religious belief is a step toward the sort of theocratic governance that exists in may Asian and Middle Eastern nations. I personally do not feel that is something Americans ought to emulate.

      • Steph Says:

        Chris, thank you for your very well written response! I was nodding in agreement with you throughout your entire first paragraph. I absolutely agree with you about the role of religion in government in that no church or religious entity should “control” government. I might need clarification of your use of the word, “influencing” at the end of that wonderful first paragraph, though. Surely you realize that influence is much different than control. Influence will happen regardless of our trying to prevent it or not. What I mean is that if a there is a Christian politician, his religion WILL “influence” his politics as it is part of who he is. Clearly you see the trouble with attempting to be the “influence police.” I could just as easily say that I think secular “influence” is wrong because I am a Christian, but I can’t and would not say that since our beliefs and stances on things are sometimes one and the same with who we are. We wouldn’t even know how to separate them from us. I am thinking you mean formally influencing, like laws written based on religious belief? Which to a great degree, I would agree with you as I too do not want laws written based on the Quran just because there might be laws written based on the Bible. Maybe you can clarify that. Otherwise, I agree.

        I will address the abortion aspect of this discussion, but first I want to thank you for a fresh look at it. I haven’t considered the medical angle with the viewpoint of pediatricians and the NICU in mind. You have given me something to think about. {Truly grateful!}

        You say that a fertilized egg is not fully developed human person as endorsed by science. I agree with you. It’s not a “fully developed human person,” but it is a stage of human growth. Keep in mind that an infant, a 4 year old, and a pre-pubescent teen are also not “fully developed human people,” yet we don’t condone terminating them for any reason. You can see where I am going with this.

        So no, it’s not a fully developed human being. Is whether or not we should get a shot at life based on full development?

        As for viability, Roe v. Wade had to be amended to include “as early as 24 weeks” because babies were being born and living earlier than 28 weeks. But all of this distracts from the original point which is personhood. Personhood is not the same as viability. Personhood is “the quality or condition of being an individual person.” Science obviously proves that the fetus — at conception — has it’s own unique DNA, blood type, and gender. The latter two might differ from mom’s but also might not. The first, DNA, absolutely differs from mom’s. There is nothing about a fertilized egg that is intrinsically “part of the mother” except that it’s location is inside of the mother. Does location disqualify the fetus for a chance at life? This is why I think fetal personhood will be established and Roe v. Wade will be overturned in my lifetime. Clearly the authors of Roe v. Wade understood that the fetus’ right to life would supersede the mother’s right to privacy and if personhood is established, Roe v. Wade would fall.

        Please explain to me how anything I have said in the previous three paragraphs is based in religion at all.

        Abortion has nothing to do with personal opinion. It either IS or IS NOT a baby. If it IS a baby, nobody has a right to terminate it. If it is NOT a baby, who cares? I have many pro-choice friends whom I respect and who humor me in these discussions. They too say that abortion is not a wonderful solution to the problem but they still support it. At the end of the day if someone is so pro-choice that they won’t be swayed by science, it is because of a belief system (not too dissimilar from a religious one), and not because of a lack of evidence/facts.

        Also while I absolutely agree that the government should not be beholding to a religious faith AT ALL, I think the fair and balanced approach for you would be to realize that while we all know the pitfalls of religion throughout history, there are also numerous wonderful things taught by faith and religion. And our nation has benefited tremendously from the likes of religious folk. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater, if I may be so bold as to recommend it to you. :)

        Thank you for such a wonderful discussion!

      • Chris Says:

        You said: “I am thinking you mean formally influencing, like laws written based on religious belief? Which to a great degree, I would agree with you as I too do not want laws written based on the Quran just because there might be laws written based on the Bible. Maybe you can clarify that.” Yes, that is pretty much my point. Certainly a legislator’s beliefs may guide him/her in the type of legislation they pursue, but if those beliefs are ever formally transformed into laws that govern people who may not share those beliefs, then this would not be acceptable to my mind.

        “You say that a fertilized egg is not fully developed human person as endorsed by science. I agree with you. It’s not a “fully developed human person,” but it is a stage of human growth.” “There is nothing about a fertilized egg that is intrinsically “part of the mother” except that it’s location is inside of the mother. Does location disqualify the fetus for a chance at life?”

        As determined by physicians and biologists, viability is more than a discussion of the stages of development. A tadpole is not a frog yet, though it will be one at some point. However, a tadpole can grow to become a frog without assistance from its mother or any other source. A fertilized egg, or a fetus prior to the 25th week or so, is more a part of its mother than its own self-sustaining life force at that particular point. Having an ability to continue the growth and development process in a self-sustaining manner is more the benchmark for personhood/viability, in scientific or biological terms, than other factors you mentioned (such as separate DNA, etc.). Your example of younger children or teenagers being less-than-fully developed human beings is not comparable to a fetus prior to the point of medical viability. Although they are not adults, they are obviously self-sustaining and fully capable of growth outside the womb. As I mentioned in my previous comment, a fetus before it has developed enough cannot survive outside the womb, even with the best medical care. Until it can, medical professionals do not recognize it as a “viable” being, and that is not based on anything other than widely-accepted biological principles.

        However, your example of younger children does lead to the personhood idea again. The amendments we are seeing are aiming to confer full legal rights to fertilized eggs. This makes no more sense than it would to confer the right to drive to that 4-year-old that you mentioned, or to confer the right to purchase and drink alcohol to the pre-pubescent teen in your example. Stages of development prior to fetal viability are important from a biological perspective, but they are also important in terms of fair and reasonable legislation. One must be in possession of at least some base-level understanding and ability when it comes to exercising their rights before they are given those rights to begin with. In a similar vein, many times there are legal decisions made to confer guardianship of people whose mental capacities are compromised to a caretaker. Again, this is because one must be capable of knowingly and responsibly exercising one’s rights in order to hold those rights legally. To declare a fertilized egg a person is just like declaring a tadpole a frog. They are fundamentally not the same thing, from a scientific perspective, and it is unreasonable to equate the two.

        “Please explain to me how anything I have said in the previous three paragraphs is based in religion at all.” The personhood argument is absolutely religious in nature. There is currently no medical or scientific consensus that says a fertilized egg is a person. The idea that full personhood begins at conception is solely a religious concept. Therefore, I feel it should not be the basis for legislation in this country.

        I thank you for the discussion as well, and if you reply I am afraid I may not see it right away as I have to return to the real non-blog world now. :) But I do want you to know that I respect your position despite the fact that I am not in total agreement with you, and I hope I have been able to present my position in a way that makes at least some sense to you.

      • Steph Says:

        Chris,

        Thank you again! I too need to get back to “real life” so I will just post this and then take a break. :)

        I do see your points. Here is where I want clarification though, at your convenience. You say that a tadpole is not a frog, but when left alone will grow into a frog. Exactly. A fertilized egg, when left alone, will grow into a baby. The fact that God, or Mother Nature, or evolution made it work so that the fetus needs the mother in order to grow should have no bearing on the fact that when left alone it will grow. When terminated, life is stopped. We say that because it “needs the mother in order to survive,” it is not viable. I would challenge that. A two day old baby needs the mother. If she does not intervene in it’s care, it will die. Yet allowing a newborn to die like that is unconscionable to us. In fact, the mother could be charged with gross neglect and much worse.

        I feel the need to clarify at this point that I am not speaking of a “personhood amendment” exactly. I am talking in more general and philosophical terms. So when I say “personhood,” I just mean the right to live due to being an individual. Not full rights, exactly. But I haven’t given that angle much thought and I will need to look into it to say for sure.

        From my frame of reference of “personhood” in general, meaning the individuality of a person, is not a religious statement at all. Please do me the honor of supporting that claim. I am a Christian, so perhaps my faith has informed me on this and I haven’t realized it. But how is it a religious stance to say that a fertilized egg is separate from the mother based on DNA and the things I have listed?

        Also, your argument for needing to have maturity in order to have a “right” is not really persuasive to me. I am talking about the right to live. Is that what you are talking about as well? Not the right to drink or drive or anything else. I speak of an unalienable right. Obviously the right to live does not require full understanding of it’s ramifications or else, again, newborns, children and possibly teens would not qualify for this right, yet we do not terminate them. Clarify at your convenience?

        Again many thanks for so much food for thought. I have been broadened by this discussion and I have a lot of research to do! Thanks for that. :)

      • Chris Says:

        I apologize for the delay – I had to find a little down time to come back and read your last comment, which really didn’t happen as early as I might have liked. Obviously. :) Still, because you seem quite earnest in your comment, I would like to respond for what it’s worth.

        You said: ” A fertilized egg, when left alone, will grow into a baby. The fact that God, or Mother Nature, or evolution made it work so that the fetus needs the mother in order to grow should have no bearing on the fact that when left alone it will grow.”

        That is not always true. Reproductive researchers believe that the majority of fertilized eggs, in fact, do not actually go on to implant in the uterus and continue the development process. And even among those eggs that do implant, many “self-abort” before they develop past a certain early point, for unknown reasons. This is why fertility science is so difficult. The exact conditions are tough to understand, let alone replicate. You can easily enough introduce a healthy sperm cell to a healthy egg, and yet find yourself unable to produce a human being by simply doing so. There is far more to the development of a full “person” than the mere process of conception itself.

        You said: “We say that because it “needs the mother in order to survive,” it is not viable. I would challenge that. A two day old baby needs the mother. If she does not intervene in it’s care, it will die. Yet allowing a newborn to die like that is unconscionable to us. In fact, the mother could be charged with gross neglect and much worse.”

        This is basically an “apples and oranges” argument. In medical and biological terms, a two-day old newborn is an entirely different being than a fetus that has not yet reached the point of viability. To reference the AAP practitioner guidelines once more, the AAP would never recommend that a newborn should be left without care, but it is standard medical procedure not to recommend treatment for a prematurely delivered fetus prior to the 25th week of development, and it is precisely because of the difference in viability between the two that this is the case. With care, the newborn will probably be fine. With care, the prematurely delivered fetus will probably not be fine. Therein lies the medical basis for classifying them in different ways. They truly cannot be equated in any medically accurate manner.

        You said: “From my frame of reference of “personhood” in general, meaning the individuality of a person, is not a religious statement at all. Please do me the honor of supporting that claim. I am a Christian, so perhaps my faith has informed me on this and I haven’t realized it. But how is it a religious stance to say that a fertilized egg is separate from the mother based on DNA and the things I have listed?”

        I don’t mean to repeat things I have already stated, but coming from a medical/biological angle, the word “person” is not applicable to a fertilized egg. There is DNA and other biological material present, but at this stage, the true finalization of the DNA is not yet set in stone. Many factors continue to shape the final “blueprint”, for lack of a better word, including the mother’s own hormones, her activity level, her dietary intake, and even things as seemingly innocuous as temperature fluctuations. Whatever other things factor into this process, it certainly is not medically accurate to say that a fully genetically-defined, individual person is created at the moment of conception. One example that comes to mind in support of this position is the development of twins, or other multiples. This splitting into multiples does not happen until later on in the process, usually a couple of weeks or so after fertilization. Each of the multiples would be considered an individual person by your reasoning, yet they do not exist, even in embryonic form, at fertilization. Another fact to consider is that there is no such thing as a male embryo until later in the process – there is a sort of genetic default that sets to female automatically, and only after several weeks does the genetic pattern that leads to male sex characteristics emerge. Again, the “individual person” that you are talking about does not exist merely because that initial DNA is present. It must form into more advanced permutations before a true, biologically-accurate “person” emerges. Not to be too simplistic, but I have heard it discussed by medical personnel in lectures as a bit like Play-Doh. The Play-Doh is raw material which can be turned into something else, but it is not the finished product while it’s still sitting in the container. It must first be shaped into something, and then it becomes a “whatever it is”. But just because it has the potential to become a “whatever it is” does NOT make it a full-blown “whatever it is” from the moment you take it out of the container.

        This is why I tend to feel that those who do fight for a fertilized egg to be considered a person are coming from a religious perspective. The science is just not on the side of those who think that way, from everything I have ever heard or read. The discussion of fertilized eggs as “people” is based on a personal conviction that this is so, despite what evidence there may be to the contrary. In that sense, it is very much like religious faith itself. Faith is, by definition, something that cannot be proven definitively, but which one believes is true nonetheless. I have no problem with anyone who has such faith and chooses to worship based upon their personal beliefs. However, to get back to the crux of this discussion, I cannot agree that it is ever acceptable in America to govern or legislate based on religious faith alone. And until and unless there is a true scientific consensus among objective experts on the subject which leans toward classifying a fertilized egg as a “person”, then I cannot personally adapt that view myself, nor do I believe that any laws based on the “personhood” of a fertilized egg should be passed.

        You said: “Also, your argument for needing to have maturity in order to have a “right” is not really persuasive to me. I am talking about the right to live. Is that what you are talking about as well? Not the right to drink or drive or anything else. I speak of an unalienable right. Obviously the right to live does not require full understanding of it’s ramifications or else, again, newborns, children and possibly teens would not qualify for this right, yet we do not terminate them. Clarify at your convenience?”

        The right to live, from an American legal perspective, is generally considered to apply to living people. And the legal definition of a person currently does not apply to an unborn, non-viable fetus. That is what the personhood amendments are all about. Again, with the legal definition of “person” we must consider whether a fertilized egg is a person or not, whether a blastocyst is a person or not (that is, the fertilized egg’s next permutation, once it actually implants in the uterine wall a week or so after fertilization), etc. I am repeating myself yet again, for which I apologize as I am not attempting to belabor a point here. But medical/biological consensus has not embraced the viewpoint of a developing fetus being a “person” until the point of viability, and without this scientific consensus the only way to define a non-viable fetus as a “person” is to do so based on personal beliefs.

        I genuinely do not think it is possible for those who believe that a fertilized egg is a person and those who do not to see eye to eye on abortion rights. So much of the personhood debate is framed in subjective terms, and while this is entirely understandable, what it all boils down to is the fact that laws have to be created without those subjective feelings coming into play. Science is not entirely exact on the subject of reproduction, and it may never be since the mysteries of human biology are tough to unravel. But there has been enough study done to reach a reasonable, fact-based scientific consensus on certain points, and until there is some shift in that consensus, then I don’t think our legislators should overlook the currently held majority opinion of the scientific community when it comes to abortion laws. To do so would be to favor one’s personal beliefs over facts, and that is not the way our government should be run.

        I have run on, and I apologize for that – sorry for the wordiness of my reply. To sum up though, I genuinely respect the views of anyone who feels abortion is morally wrong, including yourself. I just don’t think the objective scientific evidence is currently there to justify the reversal of Roe v. Wade. If someday it is, I would obviously reconsider, but right now I hold the position I hold because of my understanding of the facts as they stand – nothing more and nothing less.

      • Steph Says:

        Chris,
        This was an excellent defense and clarification. Thank you again for engaging me on this. I appreciate your patience with me and your willingness to repeat things. :)

        I think this has been one of the most informed and productive debates I have ever participated in regarding abortion. (And I have gotten in a lot of these debates!) Of course, you didn’t change my mind, but you have challenged me in a very good way and have given me a ton to think about and look into and consider. I am forever grateful for that.

        All my best!
        Steph

      • Chris Says:

        Steph, I too appreciate the dialogue. Being challenged is a good thing, it gives one the opportunity to contemplate other points of view and discover how strong their previous thoughts and opinions really are. The reason I had some of this information in my head in the first place is because of a bioethics workshop I attended, and I attended that specifically to see if what I thought I knew about these issues was in fact correct or not. It taught me a great deal, which I like – I’m no dummy, but I never assume that I know everything there is to know! :) And as I said in my previous comments, there is still a lot of grey area with relation to this subject. I am sure as more knowledge becomes available, I will be able to expand my understanding of things like this even more, as will everyone else with an interest in this topic, and I am certainly open to doing so.

        Too often people do enter these things with a view toward changing someone else’s mind. I prefer to discuss things with a view toward exchanging information and finding some point of mutual understanding, if not agreement. I fully understand your position and would not expect you to change it based on anything I’ve said. I have found over time that many who oppose abortion tend to reject the possibility that pro-choice people can have any sort of reasonable justification for their opinions, and it is good to know that you would be willing to hear me out just for the sake of knowing where I’m coming from and why I feel the way I do. Agreeing to disagree is a perfectly civil behavior which is unfortunately all too rare in this polarized world, so I thank you for choosing the civil route in your discussion with me. :)

        And for the record, I am not anti-religion, anti-faith, or any such thing. I am definitely aware of the valuable role that faith and worship can play in one’s life and I do not dismiss that in any way. I do happen to believe that God, if He is as the Bible says He is, gave us both intelligence and free will for a reason – he expected us to use them! Questioning and learning is something I really value, and something that shapes my world and gives it meaning, in much the same way that religion might serve many people, if that makes any sense to you. I feel that each of us must figure out what makes sense to us in this life, and though that may vary from person to person, I believe my ways of going about it are no more or less valid than yours or anyone else’s. As long as I can tell that someone has a particular position on something that is based on actually thinking about it, and considering it seriously (as is certainly true in your case), then I can fully respect that position even if I do not agree with it myself. I hope you can understand and go along with that point, if with nothing else that I’ve said! :) Take care and best regards to you – Chris


  2. [...] Joe Got It Right (Or I Should Say, Correct) [...]

  3. Steph Says:

    I am not sure you watched the same debate that I watched. Two points.

    1. Paul Ryan actually said it wasn’t just his faith that informed him on the matter of abortion but science and reason predominately. You conveniently leave that out.

    2. If Joe Biden “got it right,” then I assume you agree with his stance that the fetus is a human life BUT a woman still should have the choice to kill it. This is murder, since Biden admits it is a human being. Of course as you know, the entire abortion debate hinges on whether or not the fetus is a human. The pro-choice movement would NEVER say that a fetus is a human life because Roe v. Wade only exists right now because “personhood” of the fetus has not been established. Once it is, Roe v. Wade can be overturned. Joe Biden admits that it is AND women should still be able to terminate it. This is absolutely illogical and damages the pro-choice cause.

    Here is a logical argument FOR abortion:

    If a fetus is not a human life, then abortion is not murder.
    A fetus is not a human life.
    Therefore, abortion is not murder.

    Joe Biden proves this argument to be false when he tries to have his cake and eat it too by appealing to Catholics AND pro-choice in one sweeping generalized statement.

    And you say Ryan is trying to be political? Fine with me if you like Biden and you take issue with the Catholic Church, but to say that he “got it right” on abortion is a grossly ignorant statement. Please address this.

    Thank you for your article,
    Stephanie


    • Stephanie, thanks to you for a well worded comment…

      1. I did not mean to overlook Paul Ryan’s acceptance of science and reason… with respect to abortion, science and reason would argue that viability of a fetus is a very important factor. Ryan’s faith does not accept that distinction. For example, is an expecting mother guilty of murder if she drinks, smokes, or exercises excessively and naturally aborts a one month old fetus?

      2. Many Catholics I know have a great problem of conscience with following their faith as well as catholic teachings on birth control… everything from condoms to pills to IUD’s to tubal ligation to abortion. The problem they have is they believe there is a god and their religion is the main ticket to get to the hereafter. To their consternation, certain catholic teaching don’t work for them and they reject them. For example, abstinence is a broadly unacceptable solution and not practiced. You can see what catholics really do when you look at church pews… not so many children these days compared to 50 years ago.

      If you are well to do, birth control usually works and abortion does not become an alternative that needs to be considered. For the poor, less educated, lazy, or medically compromised, however, too many unwanted pregnancies occur.

      3. With respect to justifying abortion, I do not see life beginning at conception. Egg and sperm are the life giving elements that combine to form a mass of cells which grows to be a fetus. Sometime in the second trimester the fetus becomes viable and if delivered has a chance (but not assured) of surviving. As you must know many babies are still born and premature babies die frequently. The time of viability is not clear. So it seems to me wiser to draw the line of “where life begins” to when a baby is actually born and breathes on its own.

      4. The argument I am trying to make in my post is that it is ok for you, Paul Ryan, or Joe Biden to believe that life begins at conception, but it is not ok for you to ask me to believe the same on the basis of your faith.

      5. With respect to women’s rights, I hold that you, Stephanie, have a right to choose. For yourself, you can set that line at conception or where ever you feel.

      Lastly, I agree with you that Joe’s answer was political too.

      • Steph Says:

        zukunftsaugen,

        Thank you for your thoughtful reply!

        1. I apologize for assuming you left Ryan’s statement out on purpose. Please forgive me! :) Smoking, exercising etc. is not an absolute guarantee of a natural abortion so it is not the same as getting an abortion procedure. Additionally, I have no desire to place guilt on a post-abortive mother. I have many close friends who are post-abortive and I am not at all interested in labelling anyone a “murderer.” (As an aside, “murderer” is a misnomer for a post-abortive mother because murder by definition is an “unlawful” killing of another human. And since abortion is legal, it cannot be murder.) I still think it is killing, just to be clear. :)

        2. I am not Catholic and while I am a Christian, there are numerous differences between the Catholic faith and my own. As a devout Christian I do not see the big deal with using contraception that isn’t an abortificant. So perhaps I wouldn’t support use of the pill, but there are other methods that do not act as an abortificant, but rather as a barrier. I do not understand the Catholic church’s problem with these methods. I do understand though, your concern. I think it is very sad that people are pushed away from Jesus, ultimately, because of the opinions of their church that are perhaps either contrary to the Bible or that add to the Bible something that isn’t clearly there. Actually that breaks my heart. :(

        3. Please see my most recent reply in the discussion I am having with Chris regarding viability vs. personhood. This is not something that can be left to opinion. If it is a child in utero, we must not kill it. If it is not a child in utero, it is no different than a tumor removal. The distinction MUST be made if we claim to be an ethical society. Moral relativity cannot inform us on this matter.

        Which leads me to the next point:

        4. It IS okay because it’s not a reality based on whose view it comes through. And while I cannot “make” you change your mind. I can only hope that you will be willing to change your own mind if/when science and facts prove something contrary to what you currently hold to be true. Isn’t that the crown jewel of valuing science over religion? That you accept science no matter what you initially thought/believed? The critique of religion is that “those people” don’t change or accept new findings in science. I would expect that once science proves that personhood is established at conception, you would be one of the first to change your viewpoint, no?

        5. Again, this is a no go. What you have stated is moral relativity. This is not an adequate approach to establishing the parameters of life although it sounds very good and likely wins you many friends since you can say this and seemingly not offend anyone. There must be an absolute answer for when life begins, and until there is, there will be this debate.

        Thank you for your thoughts! I have so enjoyed being on your blog today!

        – S


  4. Chris and Stephanie, thanks to both of you for a spirited yet civilized discussion. The depth of both your feelings and your arguments underscore why the subject of women’s rights is poorly placed when discussed in a political environment.

    Nice discussion.

    • Chris Says:

      And thanks to you for allowing us to hijack your blog and ramble on at such length! :) I get a little carried away sometimes, only because I find certain topics, like this one, so complex and interesting. But I’m glad you are OK with what we had to say.


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