Friday, April 27, 2007

Is Abortion Strictly A Religious Debate?

I’ll dig up the quote later, but I could swear that in one of the Supreme Court decisions there was language that said that part of the question about abortion is religious in nature, which is where life begins.

But it’s not really “life” so much as “where does the soul begin?” I think some pro-choice speakers have backed themselves into a rhetorical corner when they can’t admit that conception or fetuses represent the beginning of life. I’ll agree they do represent some kind of beginning. But its only the beginning step which shouldn't be conflated with all the steps that have to come afterwards to realize its full potential.

I think the pro-choice line is that conception and pregnancy represent potential life, which is close to how I put it. Meaning that the title of life is withheld until the promise has been fulfilled by a live birth. Because when the sperm hits the egg that doesn’t mean it automatically becomes a baby let alone even a fetus (with or without abortion being the intercedent). For many people the egg has to implant in the uterine wall to really even be called conception. It’s almost the difference between having a seed and planting a seed in fertile ground. All the right ingredients have to be in place before a plant will even sprout.

But if conception and pregnancy do represent life, or potential life, what they don’t easily show is where the threshold of soul possession begins. You can substitute the blander term of "personhood" for the loaded term of "soul." But really soul is a much more apt term to describe the difference between an individual and a non-individual. Or the even more poetic term of “spark of life.”

When do you have a soul and when do you not? Do you have a soul when you are still a zygote? Do you have a soul when you are still in utero? We acknowledge that people who are brain-dead can have their life-support machines turned off by family members. What is a person who is brain-dead? Where has their soul gone? Where will their soul go when you turn off the machine?

So how come no one asks where the souls of aborted fetuses go? I’m surprised neither the pro-choice nor the anti-choice side ever even comes close to discussing this. Maybe it’s because it’s like discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Everyone’s answer is going to be individual in nature with no one clear cut answer. (Hah! Unlike everything else in the abortion debate…)

But here’s my question. Most anti-abortion activists, those who actually get involved in the issue, tend to be fairly religious. I haven’t yet met or heard of an atheist anti-abortion activist. Most, although clearly not all, religious anti-abortion types think a) there’s a heaven and b) children and babies go to heaven. Yes I know, there’s a whole big debate in Catholicism about baptism and babies…but since I’m not an expert in that I’ll refrain from mucking around in that area, but suffice to say it’s not uncommon to hear amongst Protestants that babies go to heaven.

So if the aborted babies’ souls go directly to heaven and do not pass Go (ie live life) is that any different than not being born at all? What’s the difference between the unborn and the pre-born aborted? Do the pre-born aborted get another shot at life? If they do, then what is the problem with abortion in terms of unrealized life? Wouldn’t they just get another go around later? I’m a Buddhist and that’s what I think happens to the soul. If a fetus is aborted the soul neither goes to heaven or hell. That soul will just be born to someone else and the mother’s life path will be the only one effected by her choices. It’s not a person so much as it was a potential person and now that potential will simply go somewhere else.

I guess if you don’t believe the pre-born aborted get another chance at life…well considering life is pain and then you die, I’d much rather go directly to heaven than live life. Then again this gets into a whole weird debate about what is the purpose of life? If its just “to earn the right to get to heaven,” but babies and children get to go directly…well better to die young then, right?

Maybe precisely because this is a religious debate is why no one ever brings up the issue of where the fetuses’ souls go. But it seems to me that so much of the language of anti-abortion rhetoric is steeped in religious overtones that anti-abortion groups should have an answer to this question. Where to the unborn souls go? I know what my answer to that question which informs my beliefs on this issue. How does their answer to the question inform theirs?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Upfront: I am a Catholic. There is a strong Catholic position on where the souls of the unborn go, as well as where the souls of the pre-baptized go. To go into that would mean going into Catholic teaching, and that doesn't seem to be the crux of your question.

To answer yours, I will ask you a question: If you do not know when a person has a soul, who are you (rather who is anyone) to play God? If someone can demonstrate to me that life or personhood begins at some specific point, then I would say abortion before that point is fine. However, there is no way to know, is there? A zygote has all the necessary DNA to be a human--if it is not a human, if it does not have a soul, when does it? Certainly, it seems arbitrary to say it is when the "person" makes his or her way through the birth canal. Is it 10 minutes before that? 10 days? 3 or 6 months? If you think it is when the baby is viable, then infanticide should be legal as well, since an infant can no more take care of itself than a zygote.

Your statement that you would rather go right to heaven than experience life assumes the role of God--or of whatever Being you believe in. I'm not an expert in Buddhism, but I know it believes life begins at conception. I would think Buddhism would agree with Christianity on this point--it is beyond the right of a human being to take a life because that is the role of the Higher Power. Even if you believe the soul of a fetus goes right to heaven, sending that fetus to heaven is no more right that if I walked up and shot the most decent philanthropic person in the world. Who are we to make that call? Who are we to play God?

By the way, I think I could go on for pages and pages explaining why abortion is wrong even if you are an atheist.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to sign off on the last post--Jim in Cleveland

NewsCat said...

I figured someone would ask "well just because someone might go to heaven doesn't give you the right to shoot them." True. But the person doing the shooting is the only one who is going to suffer the karmic consequences. I don't have a right to take your life away, but if I did, I am the only one who is sinning. Not you. This path (to have an abortion) might be a karmic choice I have to make. Maybe I am stopping the baby's life path, but again...what is that? Where do they go if they have not yet been?


Basically in terms of an abortion, its not really a life yet lived. It neither experiences anything nor lives. It is less than a five-year-old. Less than a one-month old. It is not yet separate from its parent. It is a symbiote. It cannot survive without the parent. And not just any parent, it needs the one who's body is attached to it. (unlike an infant, which does not require a specific person to keep it alive).

Murder and killing happens all the time in the world. We try to stop it but ultimately there's an acknowledgement that we can't ever stop all murders. I guess I was thinking that basically that while you might believe abortion is a sin, unless you have an abortion, isn't it *not* your sin to fix? Like using birth control or pre-martial sex.

:-jon said...

Here are some things that I feel are never brought to the abortion debate. First, that the woman’s body ends many pregnancies without any outside help. It can be called a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion, from time of conception up to 20 weeks. It is estimated that “up to 50% of all fertilized eggs die and are lost (aborted) spontaneously, usually before the woman knows she is pregnant.”

Does this mean that the termination of a pregnancy is a completely natural function? Does this mean that the female body that was designed by God, (or evolved) with the ability to know when and how to end a pregnancy? Does this mean that the medical field is only now catching up and being able to do electively what the female body can do naturally?

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001488.htm

Second, that being pregnant is dangerous, even in America. When a woman becomes pregnant, her chance of death increases. There is eclampsia, eptopic pregnancy, hemorrhage, pregnancy-induced hypertension, infection, pulmonary embolism, thromboembolism, retained placenta…. pregnancy is about nine times as likely to kill a woman than abortion is.

“For most women, fertility regulation by contraception, sterilization, or legal abortion is substantially safer than childbirth.” (AM J OBSTET GYNECOL 1994;170:1489-94.)

“some complications that can occur during pregnancy cannot be prevented”
http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/280/12/1042

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
happyboy said...

(天正)北京搬家公司,诚实信誉,管理科学化,网络化;员工训练有素,经验丰富,工作细心,服务热情;搬家公司网点分布科学,司机稳重速度!愿为北京搬家的朋友提供优质的搬家服务。订车电话:400-896-0123

北京飞龙搬家公司,是一家专业性北京搬家公司,企业诚信,员工搬运专业,是北京搬家公司行业的后起新秀,公司长期为搬家用户免费提供纸箱。欢迎重询!

公兴上海搬场公司是经上海市工商,税务,交通部注册的一家专业性的上海搬家公司,诚实信誉,员工训练有素,经验丰富,工作细心,服务热情;为上海搬场,上海搬家的企业,家庭提供周到服务,如有需求,敬请垂询本搬场公司

北京海胜数码快印有限公司,致力于数码印刷,诚实信誉,实力雄厚,技术专业,设备先进,设计新颖,是北京数码印刷行业中新秀一支,愿做北京数码快印需求者的忠诚合作伙伴!欢迎广大企业事位来电来涵洽谈,荣幸之致!

北京华夏国际机票预定中心,全程代理各航机票,特价机票,特价国际机票,北京机票,北京特价机票,北京特价国际机票,留学生机票,打折机票,打折的价格,增值的服务,精心哈护你的远航!

北京佳佳乐月嫂服务中心,精心提供月嫂服务,育儿嫂服务,育婴师服务,本中心月嫂,育儿嫂,育婴师,均通过健康体验,经过严格培训,持证上岗。经验多,文凭高,端正秀丽,性行淑均,试用之于昔日,客户称之"能用"。

星云科技,诚信于教育;愿为阶梯,甘为基石;沤心沥血,研究出电子起电机,语音室,语言实验室,数字探究实验室,数字化实验室,探究实验室,系列探究实验配套设施,望广大院校前来考察!

北京大型圣诞树预定中心,厂家销售,工艺精美,设计科学,可来样加工各种超高圣诞树,松针圣诞树,光纤圣诞树,欢迎前来咨询订购!

北京婚纱摄影工作室,个性的婚纱,礼服设计,一流的婚纱,礼服设计人才,国际流行风格婚纱礼服的设计理念以及个性婚纱摄影的强力整合;力争成为中国最大的婚纱礼服定做机构!

投资小见效快!适合小本创业者做的好项目,选择好项目,成功当老板!抢占好商机,等于成功一半,移动鼠标,快快行动!让财富排行榜里有你的一席之地!

投影机作为一种演示工具,已经得到广泛的运用,如何选购投影机?如何选购投影仪?如何买到最低价格的投影机?本站可为您提供详细参考!

中关村在线打印机频道,是国内打印机产品最权威的资讯平台,为您提供及时的条码打印机,证卡打印机新闻资讯,最新的打印机报价,全国各地的打印机厂商,强大的打印机论坛互动平台。

随着激光技术的不断发展,激光打标机设备已广泛应用于服装皮革,工艺礼品,广告标牌,建筑模型,印刷雕版,剪纸包装,石材影雕,木器竹器,电子电器,手机通讯,钟表眼镜,五金,汽车配件等行业。企业外发激光加工艺成为一种趋势,由此本公司与顶级的激光打标机服生产商合作,共同服务于打标领域,从事专业的激光打标服务。在保证服务品质基础上,由于自主的专业生产线,无中间服务商,故此,为客户提供具有优良性价比的激光打标服务。

喷码机是运用带电的墨水微粒,由高压电场偏转的原理,在各种物体表面上喷印上图案文字和数码,是集机电一体化的高科技产品。产品广泛应用于食品工业,化妆品工业,医药工业,汽车等零件加工行业,电线电缆行业,铝塑管行业,烟酒行业以及其他领域,该机机可用于喷印生产日期,批号,条型码以及商标图案,防伪标记和中文字样,是贯彻卫生法和促进包装现代化强有力的设备。

扫描仪按不同的标准可以分成不同的类型。按照扫描原理,可以将扫描仪划分为平板式扫描仪,手持式扫描仪和滚筒式扫描仪;按照可扫描的图像的幅面大小,可以分为小幅面扫描仪,中幅面扫描仪,宽幅扫描仪;按照扫描涂图稿的介质分,可以分为反射式扫描仪和透射式扫描仪以及多用途扫描仪;按照用途划分,可以分为通用扫描仪和专用扫描仪。目前一般办公用的扫描仪多为平板式,A4幅面(或A4幅面加长型)扫描仪。

液晶显示器即LCD,是显示器高新技术的尖端产品,健康环保,低消耗,低辐射,轻巧时尚等,是传统影像显示器所无法相比的,被称为未来显示器市场的发展方向。

液晶电视的构造简单地说,就是用2块特殊的玻璃夹住液晶体,通过8比特驱动电路和高效背灯系统来调节成像的,这样就使我们传统概念中的电视机超薄型化成为可能。

与传统的显像管相比,液晶电视信号不失真,视觉不疲劳,没有射线造成的健康损害。节约能源,耗电量是同样大小尺寸显像管电视机耗电量的62%。寿命长,采用新开发的长寿命液晶背灯,实现了可长达60000小时的使用时间,大约可以使用10年(按照每天使用16小时计算)而不用更换。而液晶本身的寿命会比人的寿命还长。又薄又轻,30英寸的显像管电视机重约70公斤,而28英寸的液晶电视才重达16.8公斤。清晰度高,基本不反光。

北凝科技,成立于1995年,废汽,余热回收,热力除氧改造,凝结水治理专家,其推出的,定连排,烟囱余热回收器,乏汽回收,低位热力除氧器,凝结水回收器,冷凝水,等系列产品技术被定为国际先进成套技术,属于高效节能产品,由国家环保总局确定为国家重点环保技术项目,由科技部列入国家级火炬计划,为社会降低供热成本,提高产品质量,保护大气环境,造福于社会,做出了卓越的供献。

佳洁士北京保洁公司,北京保洁行业中最具规模的保洁公司,北京2007保洁行业协会优秀保洁公司,竭诚以专业的保洁技术为北京各界提供周到的保洁服务,公司资质齐全,收费合理,设备先进在北京各区县均设有网点,能快速响应客户的不同需要!

北京特种胶带生产基地,主要生产特种精细胶胶带系列产品。布基胶带,尼龙搭扣胶带,泡棉胶带,耐高温胶带,警示胶带,海绵胶带,耐高温胶带,封箱胶带,屏蔽胶带,印字胶带,美纹纸胶带,高温美纹纸胶带,高压防水胶带,压纹保护胶带,三文治胶带,牛皮纸胶带,阻燃胶带,明兰保护胶带,高尔夫球头保护胶带,玻璃布胶带,双面胶带,文具胶带,矽胶马拉胶带,防爆胶带,箱包胶带,铝箔胶带,电气胶带,BOPP包装胶带,聚脂基胶带。公司将以一流的管理,一流的创新,诚信经营,以优良的品质,优惠的价格,优质的服务,竭诚欢迎新老客户广泛合作,互惠互利,双赢双收,共创锦秀前程,共图宏伟大业.

郑州国际机票预定中心,各航机票一级代理商服务商,可全程办理各航特价机票,特价国际机票,留学生机票,电子机票,公司诚实信誉,实力雄厚,服务热情,反应快捷,欢迎重询!