By: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
In your email response to me regarding abortion, and your decision to not engage this issue during your campaign, you stated:
“I believe the issue to be extremely complicated for the reason that it pits two individual rights claims against each other and the parties on the two sides have no mind to compromise.”
To begin with, I agree with you on this point, that the two communities, Pro-Life and Pro-Choice, are both inflexible regarding the issue of abortion. It is of course politically astute to avoid taking a stand on an issue where you have no possibility of enrolling the opposition.
But the usefulness of your avoidance strategy will eventually expire when legislation arises that requires your commitment. And then as a leader, rather than just a politician, you must take a moral, rather than a pragmatic position. It is a sad commentary on a society that will only vote for people who take no stand on issues of righteousness since to do so would automatically preclude them from public service. Apparently, our culture has degraded to the point of intolerance to Godliness.
(Note: The man who holds a good position for the wrong reason is a credit toward the cause of goodness. But, in considerations of leadership and citizenship, such a man will be less valuable to society. Without a firm establishment of a broad righteous philosophical understructure, his foundation will not support him in natural and consistent construction of righteous social structures.)
As a contextual note, I note that the pro and anti-abortion groups are somewhat heterogeneous with regard to their population by men of faith and secularists. Nevertheless, I shall frame my arguments as though people of faith were uniformly Pro-Life. I believe the principles espoused by the Bible are sufficiently clear regarding the sanctity of life, that it borders on trivial to declare that a Judeo-Christian worldview is broadly Pro-Life. The only real debate in the faith community is around the identification of the point at which life begins. The divisions within Christendom are well illustrated by the Catholic church’s stand against using birth control pills since they do not prevent fertilization. The BCP’s instead prevent implantation and thus inherently cause the death of a human, albeit early in development. The same argument applies to the issue of destroying fertilized embryos produced after in vitro fertilization.
Likewise, the issue of the sanctity of life arises in the issue of capital punishment, since men are obviously purposefully taking the life of other men. Justification of such behavior comes as an expression of justice, and the cleansing the earth of such men as God did when men became evil. Some will argue that such decisions are for God, or that the commands of Deuteronomy to kill the murderer, et al, were replaced by the mercy that was available due to the sacrifice of Christ. These are all valid points, and sincere believers have different beliefs about how a society should stand in implementing the moral commands and metaphors presented in the Bible. Such is the kind of debate that truly deserves compromise because as people, we do not have access to the final and definitive understanding of God’s moral structure. But, in the discussion about state-sanctioned, and funded abortion vs. not, we have an entirely different set of arguments and boundaries about which we are debating.
The Pro-Choice/Pro-Life argument is typically framed in terms of “the rights of the mother” by the Pro-Choice community and in terms of the “rights of the child” by the Pro-Life community. But, when we look at the issues of advocacy, the rights of the child are certainly more in jeopardy than those of the mother since the unborn cannot defend themselves nor make a case for their lives.
The Pro-Choice community has become the surrogate advocate for the right of the mother to terminate a pregnancy. The argument advanced in their behalf is that the mother has right to take the life of the child since it is still in the womb, and could possibly be considered to still be part of the mother’s body.
The argument and its resolution are clouded by our ignorance of the point at which life and the spirit/soul enter the body. What is the moment at which the child is a living-being/person/child in the eyes of God?
It is around these two perspectives that the controversy rages. The advocates for Godly/Biblical morality in the Pro-Life community are pitted against the Pro-Choice community over the question of who has the authority to make the decision over the fate of the unborn child. Charitable projection of the motives and morality of the Pro-Choice community dictate that they are simply convinced that life does not begin until there is independent viability.
But sadly, we cannot seriously consider the Pro-Choice movement to be dedicated deeply to the defense of life after viability. Obviously, there are spokesmen from that community who lobby loudly for legislation allowing abortion at the moment of delivery. We have seen advocates of “Choice” celebrate loudly with the defeat of legislation banning it.
The Pro-Life community believes that life has begun at some time in the womb. (Note: there is some controversy in this community over the exact moment: i.e. whether conception, implantation, or 18 days. But, the Pro-Life community with near universality does not consider abortions past that point to be a moral alternative.)
On the opposing side, the Pro-Choice community (with the exception of a faction who advocate for only banning late-term abortions) has placed a mother’s right to choose over any consideration as to whether there may be a soul/spirit/life living within the mother at an earlier period. Those who advocate against late-term abortions seem to do so with a tacit admission that there may be a life that should not be taken after a certain point. But, even on this point the reason for the objection to late-term abortion is not clearly stated by the Pro-Choice community.
The Pro-Life community believes that the mother has relinquished her choice to not bear a child at the moment she had sex. And from that moment on, she is a servant of God, and the child, during this vulnerable time of the development of its body. The Pro-Life community believes that to terminate a pregnancy after the above mentioned period would be tantamount to murder – and on a societal level where abortion is sanctioned – mass slaughter.
The Pro-Life community holds life as sacred, and a gift given by God, and that only He has the right to give and take life. To compromise on this issue would be to make a compromise between life and death. No such compromise can be made since the two are incompatible. There is no possibility of a half alive or half dead state that could fit the category of compromise. In such a compromise, death wins.
A society should not compromise with evil. To do so would mean that laws contain elements of both good and evil. But, no civilized or right thinking society would purposefully embed evil into the body of their legal structure. But, such is the necessary end of the process of compromise with evil. But, the political debate is not framed in the stark language of good and evil. Rather, the debate is framed as two well-meaning groups, both committed to goodness, advocating for their positions. Men may declare ambivalence, but opposite positions on moral issues will not stand as equals on the Almighty’s scale of justice.
Politics has been characterized as the art of the possible and compromise. And, since politics is a reflection of the people in a representative democracy, the ultimate power of the process lies in the assent of the people to the rules of behavior imposed upon them by their legislators, judges, and executives. Men have a great deal of flexibility, but in general, men will only impose upon themselves that which resonates largely with their sense of fairness and goodness.
We were established as a republic rather than a democracy because we recognized that the most educated and moral men should be elevated to represent us and rightly judge and make laws that govern ourselves. Such men of maturity and righteousness are more capable and worth of creating the laws that govern us and should be able to advocate for right principles by the force of argument and enroll those with wrong judgment in the process of debate. Law generated from such a space create a societal environment which will produce the highest degree of felicity and prosperity for the masses.
But, such debate has largely disappeared as society increasingly mutes naming the spirits of goodness and Godliness, moral principle and righteousness. Instead, we bow to the principles of political correctness, multiculturalism, rejection of our historical foundation as a Judeo-Christian culture, and the supposed Constitutional requirement to “Separate Church and State.” As such, we are left with only democracy, politics, and compromise as the arbiters of right social policy, and the people suffer from the imposition of laws embedded with varying degrees of evil, which in turn degrade the political/social environment, and ready us to accept the next greater level of social decay.
Life (and by extension, opposition to abortion) is held as an icon of the Pro-Life movement because it corresponds to the larger metaphor of the society’s honor of God’s place in the social hierarchy of values. A nation that authorizes unrighteous termination of life will bring a curse on itself. There are times when killing is good, such as in righteous combat for national or personal defense, or as a state-sanctioned consequence for premeditated murder. It is for this latter point that the pro-life community stands up. We should not sanction taking human life for any purpose outside of the authority of Godly Law.
The Pro-Life community largely believes that life is a gift from God, and we honor Him by appreciating and protecting this most magnificent miraculous gift of His creation. Those who do not believe in a divine origin of life often embrace the Darwinian theory of evolution, which posits that life evolved from matter due to random collisions over a long period of time. But, science cannot justify how did even the simplest cellular structure make the leap to attain life.
After a lifetime of attempting to justify naturalistic processes for the origins of life, Sir Fred Hoyle finally had to admit, natural processes could not mediate the leap from matter to life, The probabilities are too small for the immense number of simultaneous coincidences to produce the cellular structures and organizations required to initiate life in the 13 billion year history of the universe. The complexity of a single living cell is so great that it simply could not have assembled by time and chance. Evolution of the species as Darwin proposed could not even begin until the full complement of cellular organelles and structures were properly assembled, timed, and nourished.
In short, evolution is not a viable explanatory mechanism to give context to life, morality, and purpose. If a single cell cannot arise from the primordial slime in a 4 billion year time frame of earth’s history, then life cannot evolve. And, after the statistically improbably formation of a single cell, it must have embedded in its life structure the capacity and program for reproduction. Beyond that it must transform by chance, driven only by environmental adaptation, into all the other species seen throughout the time column.
Belief in such a process as the actual mechanism for the generation of life borders on religious faith, and that is exactly what we see competing in society today. Two different belief structures are competing in the arena of public policy. Secular humanism (and its flagship belief in man’s sovereignty and his expression of choice) competes with the faith and foundation of our Judeo-Christian culture/heritage (with its submission to the laws of nature’s God).
Emphasizing again the implausibility of life arising by natural processes, we note that a dead cell does not spontaneously return to life. The dead cell has a large percentage of the necessary biochemicals, organelles, structures and environment for life, but even with this jump-start, the cell dies because of imperfections of its structure. This fact emphasizes the fact of life’s fragility. The cell has an irreducible complexity which it must have to live, and even when that is present, the dead cell does not spontaneously return to life.
Sir Fredric Hoyle, never held the Judeo Christian faith, but as a scientist, as a man who looked for the ultimate cause of life and the universe, he needed to believe in some originating cause to justify the existence of mankind and the flora and fauna that populate the earth. So, he concluded that life must have come from outer space. Of course, this theory strains credulity since it only pushes back the boundary of the unknown to a different level and solves no fundamental questions of origin.
A theory of life being planted here from the stars only forces us to ask the question as to what produced life elsewhere. Such a theory requires that life survived the cold and vacuum of space and the descent through our atmosphere. Or alternatively, we must believe that space aliens brought life to our planet. And of course, this solution raises the question of where they came from and how their life originated.
Darwin’s own theory of evolution included a caveat which limited its validity. He states that if the cell turns out to be a very complex structure, then his theory of small changes producing gradual adaptation and new species would be inadequate. His own theory states that it could not account for immensely complex cellular structures coming to life on their own.
As George Washington said:
It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe, without the agency of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to reason without arriving at a Supreme Being. Religion is as necessary to reason, as reason is to religion. The one cannot exist without the other. A reasoning being would lose his reason, in attempting to account for the great phenomena of nature, had he not a Supreme Being to refer to.
In a recent radio interview, Mike Huckabee related a story of his very young daughter who he took to a Holocaust exhibit. She wrote in the guest book at the end of the exhibit, “Why didn’t somebody do something to stop this?” Someday, people will look back on the 50 million babies brutally and savagely dismembered in America and the possibly billions more around the world and say the same thing. Before the throne of Almighty God, I hope you and I will be able to hold our heads up high and proudly acknowledge that we did something to stop this modern-day holocaust.
I like what Dinesh D’Souza wrote in Letters to a Young Conservative, Chapter 25: Speaking as a Former Fetus….: page 190 “Lincoln, the Republican, disagreed [with Douglas’s assumption that “free” states had a right to choose slavery or slave free state status]. Lincoln argued that choice cannot be exercised without reference to the content of the choice. How can it make sense to permit a person to choose to enslave (or kill) another human being? How can self-determination be invoked to deny others self-determination? How can choice be invoked to negate choice?” At its deepest level, Lincoln was saying that the legitimacy of freedom as a political principle is itself dependent on a doctrine of natural rights that arises out of a specific understanding of human nature and human dignity.”
Do women have legitimate choices over what they do with their bodies? Of course, they do. A woman can choose to have sex or not to have sex. If she chooses to have sex, then she can also take protective measures to prevent pregnancy, such as condoms, birth control pills, IUD’s, cervical caps, spermicidal agents, douching, etc., etc. But, once a child is conceived and implanted, shouldn’t that child’s life and that child’s rights become paramount? There are many childless couples who have great difficulty adopting, who would gladly raise that tiny gift from God. Like my husband said in his website, it is a sacred privilege to honor and serve God with the “use” of your body, long enough for that child to have a chance at viability and to fully realize their own life, their own rights and to have the freedom to make their own choices.
I support several charitable institutions that provide support for young women in this circumstance. I do not want them to have regrets later in life, for ending the life of their child. I know several adopted children, who once adults, sought out their birth parents. And, although at first, the birth parents were upset at being discovered, once the original shock had time to settle, family members from both sides of the family were thrilled to welcome back the one given up for adoption. When the birth family saw the children of their children, it opened their hearts. The sacredness of life, and our unalienable right to it, should never be in question. I believe that we will reap what we have sown, and we should make every effort to choose life, sow to life and honor life.
So, I thank you for giving me more of your precious time to share these thoughts with you at this early stage of your campaign. Please heed this word of caution – Conservative America will not excuse or treat kindly candidates who run on a conservative platform and then vote for social programs that place us deeper in debt and authorize an ever-more intrusive government regulation of our lives and businesses. I am very hopeful that you will honor the people who entrust you with their vote.